...the third one in the 1967 Ford "Honker, Bonker & Clonker" threesome was the Shelby King Cobra. Surprisingly considering its provenance, this was the least successful of the trio, it had a slightly weird transverse springing arrangement that just didn't work. We all thought it was remarkable at the time that a global organisation like Ford could have got things so wrong with their Can Am efforts, as well as being misconceived and underpowered, their 1967 efforts were all massively overweight, about 30% heavier than the McLarens and Lolas they were competing against.
I cannot help thinking you veer from the misleading to the inaccurate a bit there, Rob. None intended, btw.
I cannot comment on the modded J car without going through the books,. The Newman car was Holman and Moody designed and built. Mario said it would not go, did not stop, and was averse to turning, there was nothing about it that was right, possibly the worst car he ever drove. QV Gordon Kirby's Mario biog.
The other car was the Shelby Can Am car, the King Cobra being another beast IIRC. The Can Am car later gained the soubriquet Shelby Cougar by the time Symbolic had it for sale in 2004, restored as you would imagine. Its weight then was cited as 1435 lbs dry, so the others must have been pretty slim if it was 30% overweight. It had an aluminium monocoque. It has been written up variously over the years, but, as it was a Len Terry design under his TAC operation, it is covered in some detail in his book.
All three cars were ordered and funded by Ford for the 67 season, being signed off. The problem for all of them was that after Ford's le Mans joys - a vanity trip perhaps , "whupping Ferrari" - they chose to concentrate on stock cars etc, win Sunday, sell Monday etc. Seemingly a simple commercial decision. The cash was just stopped, and all three operations were left high and dry.
The problem was they decided to do something too late, when the McLaren Chev. train, et al was in full sway. All three teams had huge pressure on them to deliver. The Shelby car was done in scheduled time but the Gurney Weslake engines were not ready, and never used in it, so some 351in, 5.7ltr pushrod units were drafted in. It did not help that in testing the first 2 engines failed in succession within a few laps, Len believing the oil not fully warmed up. The roller-spline couplings did not materialise so it was run with solid splined type which tended to lock up under high torque unsettling the car and Jerry Titus, who condemned the car for its suspension.
This was an upgrade of Len's original effective system on the mk6 Terriers, good enough for Brian Hart to succeed with, among others. The concept, used widely these days, was to separate the spring and damper function, the roll controlled only by the anti-roll bar, necessarily stiffer than some might have understood...........
The drive shaft problem led to eery handling at times, and perhaps Titus was not sophisticted enough in engineering terms to know what was really happening, so the horizontal springs were junked for coil-overs and a range of canard ?? fins appeared on the front and a large balancing spoiler on the rear, under the direction of Phil Remington. 3 steps forward 5 backwards, perhaps. All the time Ford were demanding results. Len recalls sitting on the pit wall for the best part of 2 weeks in testing waiting for the car to be ready to run for more than 3 or 4 laps. They were reluctant to heed his set up advice, much easier to censure the designer. By that time the money had stopped and Len came home as he had work waiting. When it did race the water pump failed ISTR.
Shelby had other work and sold the car off to a club racer who put it back as original and is quoted as being reasonably successful. There was nothing wrong, certainly it was not weird, with the suspension concept, Len not being the first to separate functions thus, as more modern designs have shown.
In addition to Len's book and some articles, incl Victory Lane Dec 1997, I take Len as my primary source.