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"Miss Merced" Race #87 (autographed by Lyle Shelton) ~ Free Shipping

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393 C
4.50 LBS
Calculated at checkout

Product Description


Frame Size: 21"x 23" ~ autographed and signed in pencil by late Lyle Shelton. Comes with a COE.

Sea Fury Mk11 / Race #87 / "Signal Truck Special" - "Miss Merced" / N878M

N878M #87 began her racing career back in 1966, when owned by the late Michael D. Carroll. He had the Sea Fury go through a major modification program at Vern Barker's shop in Long Beach, to prepare the plane for serious competition in time for Reno that September. This included an airframe cleanup & weight reduction, fitting a small low-profile formula one style canopy, clipping the stock 38ft. 4in. wingspan down to 32-feet overall, tweaking the engine a bit and adding extra fuel cells to give the plane dual-capability as both a 'wet-wing' long-distance cross-country racer and a pylon polisher. For effect, Carroll had the racer painted in an outrageous hotrod dragster race paint scheme- complete with red flames off a white-hot nose, that has yet to be equaled by another Unlimited since. The canary yellow racer wore number 87, and looked every inch a winner, and was christened- Signal Truck Special.

     After some coaxing from Bearcat race pilot buddy- Walt Ohlrich, rookie racer Lyle Shelton  worked a deal with Carroll to let him "borrow" his freshly-completed Sea Fury to race it at Reno '66. Shelton had cut his teeth the previous year racing a stock P-51 named Tonopah Miss to sixth-place at the Los Angeles Races, after crewing for Clay Lacy at Reno '64. During #87's qualifying lap on the then 8.04 -mile course at Reno, Shelton cut Pylon 3, which put him last in 11th-place, instead of 6th, and eligibility for the Gold race. Despite the setback, Shelton garnered a second-place finish in Saturday's Consolation Race, after getting aced-out of a win at the finish by E. D. Weiner's #49 P-51.ces, Rare Bear finished 2nd in the Gold Heat 3A at 447.755 mph (720.6 km/h). The Gold Final race was cancelled due to weather conditions.


     In 1970, the racer was acquired by Sherman Cooper, who renamed her Miss Merced. During the California 1000 at Mojave in '71, the racer was wrecked in a landing incident. The engine seize (this was on the big 15 mile course) when he was out on the back part of it and was unable to make the airport. So he dead-sticked onto a dirt road...but found out too late that there was a fence running down the middle of the road. He went off in the bushes and collapsed the gear and tore it up pretty bad. Later, Frank Sanders purchased N878M for future rebuild and parts. In the late 1980s, Sanders sold #87's clipped race wings to Eric Lorentzen to use on his #88 Blind Man's Bluff Sea Fury racer project. In '88 N878M went to T-6 racer Jim Mott to be rebuilt and raced again at Reno under a new identity as #42 Super Chief.

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