Original Ken Miles Riverside Cobra Test Footage
The Petersen Automotive Museum’s YouTube channel can always be counted on for an interesting racing tidbit. This old film is straight from their archives, but there is no telling where they dug up this up from. The most interesting segment is original footage of Ken Miles behind the wheel of a 289 Cobra at Riverside Raceway.
Produced around 1965 and entitled “Wonderful World of Wheels,” its chock full of vintage drag racing, sports car, stock car, dune, and motorcycle racing footage from the early ’60s, as well as some speed record footage from Bonneville. Hosted by Lloyd Bridges (then recently coming off his 4 season run on Sea Hunt), the film opens with Bridges cruising in the SoCal hills in a bubble top custom (Ed: If anyone knows the builder, let us know in the comments. Is it one of Darryl Starbird’s?) and then introducing us to the “racing scene” staring out with go-cart and slot car racing (I recommend you skip it). From here you can jump to 7:55 for the Ken Miles footage.
With Jim Drury in the passenger seat, famous at the time for his role in westerns and TV’s The Virginian, Ken takes a 289 Cobra through the paces at Riverside Raceway. You can barely make it out over of the sound of the roar of the engine, but you can just hear Drury say they are topping 155 mph. What follows next is some great race and crash footage of a sports car race full of Cobras, Corvettes, Porsches, and other cars of the era. Watching the crashes through today’s lens, it’s comical to hear Lloyd’s talk of the safety features and requirements for the racetrack.
If you still want to stick around after that, there is some cool footage of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (10:50):
Dune buggy racing (18:28):
A Rod and Custom show (22:47), including creations by Big Daddy Ed Roth and George Barris:
Goldfinger footage with James Bond, Q, and the Aston Martin DB5 (26:44), a Cobra driving in a gymkhana (29:52), NHRA Winternationals at Pomona International Dragway (30:40):
Stock car racing (37:23):
The Indy 500 (38:58):
And footage of the 1964 record setting passes of Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons at Bonneville Salt Flats (44:14):