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Ken Miles racing driver

JohnJames

master brummie
I went to see the film 'Le Mans 66' last night. The film is based on the battle between Ford and Ferrari in that particular race. But there is much more to the film than that. It centres around two characters, Carroll Shelby a race car designer and Ken Miles a racing driver and mechanic. Ken Miles was a Brummie who served an apprenticeship at Wolseley Motors in Ward End and emigrated to the US in the fifties with his wife and son. In the snobby Hooray Henry world of 1950's/1960's British motor racing there was no place for a Brummie mechanic as a racing driver. This was not the case in the US and Miles thrived. I had expected the usual cod Brummie accent that you find in Peaky Blinders and so on but Christian Bale, who plays Miles, does really manage to sound Brummagem. Brummie phrases like "Round The Wrekin" and "Bottle of Pop" abound. In one scene Miles's son is seen wearing a mid 60's Villa top, just like the replica one that I have in my drawer at home. This is an uplifting but poignant film about a man from Birmingham who up to now has been largely forgotten, at least in Britain. It is certainly not just for petrol heads. My wife, who in her own words was dragged to see the film "Kicking and Screaming" left the cinema with tears in her eyes saying that it is the best film she has seen for years and how it made her really miss Birmingham accents, now that we live in the West of Ireland. Please do try to go and see it.
 
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Lady Penelope

master brummie
JohnJames, my husband went to see this film on Tuesday and said how good it was. It's stirred a real interest in Ken Miles. I belong to the Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group and one of the members did much of the research which went into the book on Ken. He was born in Victoria Road just up from the Empire cinema where the film was showing. We'll be taking a look at the book next week so I'll get back to this thread with more information on it.
 

Richarddye

master brummie
I went to see the film 'Le Mans 66' last night. The film centres on the battle between Ford and Ferrari in that particular race. But there is much more to the film than that. It centres around two characters Carroll Shelby a race car designer and Ken Miles a racing driver and mechanic. Ken Miles was a Brummie who served an apprenticeship at Wolseley Motors in Ward End and emigrated to the US in the fifties with his wife and son. In the snobby Hooray Henry world of 1950's/1960's British motor racing there was no place for a Brummie mechanic as a racing driver. This was not the case in the US and Miles thrived. I had expected the usual cod Brummie accent that you find in Peaky Blinders and so on but Christian Bale, who plays Miles, does really manage to sound Brummagem. Brummie phrases like "Round The Wrekin" and "Bottle of Pop" abound. In one scene Miles's son is seen wearing a mid 60's Villa top, just like the replica one that I have in my drawer at home. This is an uplifting but poignant film about a man from Birmingham who up to now has been largely forgotten. It is certainly not just for petrol heads. My wife, who in her own words was dragged to see the film "Kicking and Screaming" left the cinema with tears in her eyes saying that it is the best film she has seen for years and how it made her really miss Birmingham accents now that we live in the West of Ireland. Please do try to go and see it.
I saw ken miles race in the US many tImes...…...Always steady and kept his car going. The last time I saw him race was at Bridgehampton NY, they had a double 500 (miles) event every year. Saturday was like a tune up and had some smaller cars on Sunday it was the big stuff like Lolas, Cooper Buicks and Cobras with a Ford V8 which is what Mr Miles was driving when I last saw him. Great driver great style!
 

Robert Ensor (bob)

master brummie
I saw ken miles race in the US many tImes...…...Always steady and kept his car going. The last time I saw him race was at Bridgehampton NY, they had a double 500 (miles) event every year. Saturday was like a tune up and had some smaller cars on Sunday it was the big stuff like Lolas, Cooper Buicks and Cobras with a Ford V8 which is what Mr Miles was driving when I last saw him. Great driver great style!
I saw ken miles race in the US many tImes...…...Always steady and kept his car going. The last time I saw him race was at Bridgehampton NY, they had a double 500 (miles) event every year. Saturday was like a tune up and had some smaller cars on Sunday it was the big stuff like Lolas, Cooper Buicks and Cobras with a Ford V8 which is what Mr Miles was driving when I last saw him. Great driver great style!
Richard, I tried to send you a PM could not do it, please send me one so I can respond thanks
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Have moved thread to our ‘Famous People’ section. He might have been relatively unknown in this country but went on to be recognised and respected elsewhere.

Viv.
 

Robert Ensor (bob)

master brummie
I can assure all anyone who is a student of motor racing Ken Miles has not been forgotten, the sad truth is Ken Left too soon before he won more races.
He was a man of honor he towed the company line and it cost him first place at Le Man's
He slowed down so all three cars could get photographed crossing the Finnish line at the same time in what has become somewhat of the norm these days at Le Man.
 
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Alberta

Super Moderator
Staff member
In 2015 one of our members Paul D asked for information about Peter Mould a racing driver and colleague of Ken Miles. Paul was writing a book about Ken Miles.
 

Bob Johnson

master brummie
I can assure all anyone who is a student of motor racing Ken Miles has not been forgotten, the sad truth is Ken Left too soon before he won more races.
He was a man of honor he towed the company line and it cost him first place at Le Man's
He slowed down so all three cars could get photographed crossing the Finnish line at the same time in what had become somewhat of the norm these days at Le Man.
This morning I have watched a film on 'Netflix' called '24hrs'. The film is about the battle between Ferrari and Ford in the 'Le Mans 24hr races' of the sixties. Ken Miles is featured in the film and is interviewed. For followers of Ken Miles it is a film/documentary worth watching.
 

Richarddye

master brummie
I can assure all anyone who is a student of motor racing Ken Miles has not been forgotten, the sad truth is Ken Left too soon before he won more races.
He was a man of honor he towed the company line and it cost him first place at Le Man's
He slowed down so all three cars could get photographed crossing the Finnish line at the same time in what had become somewhat of the norm these days at Le Man.
I often wonder what the racing landscape would have looked like if Ken Miles and Walt Hangsen had not been killed at such an early age.
 

Robert Ensor (bob)

master brummie
The film centers on the battle between Ford and Ferrarri ?.
Let me give another point of view, Ferrari is and has been the most successful race car team in history, the only reason for road cars was to finance the race cars.
Ford went knocking on Ferrari's door because Fords line up of cars was dull and the thought of a European mark was attractive to liven up Fords product line.
Now it was told to me the reason the sale of Ferrari did not go through was two fold one Enzo Ferrari did not wish his cars competing in American style racing {ovals}, this upset Ford and that's what started the GT 40 program.
In the mean time Mr Agnelli the head guy at Fiat realized the sale to a American co of the beloved Italian Ferrari would be a great loss so he bought Ferrari upsetting Ford even more.
There are a couple of things in Italy that are sacred the Pope and Ferrari and at times its hard to know who comes first , when Ferrari wins a race church bells ring out !!!!!!!!!.
Ferrari was never in a battle with Ford they were and are in a battle with every race car team that shows up.
Ken Miles contribution to the GT 40 program can not be fully understood by many this is a Brummie that helped take down Enzo at his own game a guy who found himself in one of the most published photographs of all time in motor racing, and it was not in a Wolseley Hornet.
 

Robert Ensor (bob)

master brummie
Le man for me the most important race every year, but in keeping with the Birmingham theme, there was a shop in Northfield called Deals On Wheels the guy that ran the store was named Terry and every year he would organize a trip to Le Man for the race.
Folks would depart Northfield in a convoy and head to Dover for the ferry so far so good until we get there early and the pubs are open. one guy never ever made it on the ferry the last we saw of him he was walking down the seawall with a bag of chips.
when you arrive at Le Man there is a party atmosphere I know people that went and never saw one race car pretty hard at a race that lasts for 24 hours.
 

JohnJames

master brummie
JohnJames, my husband went to see this film on Tuesday and said how good it was. It's stirred a real interest in Ken Miles. I belong to the Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group and one of the members did much of the research which went into the book on Ken. He was born in Victoria Road just up from the Empire cinema where the film was showing. We'll be taking a look at the book next week so I'll get back to this thread with more information on it.
I would be very interested in hearing more about a book about Ken Miles. It would great if this contained something about his early life in Birmingham and army service during WW2. I have been interested in motor racing for most of my life and was aware of Ken Miles and his part in the development of the Ford GT40 and bringing down of Ferrari. However, I had never been aware of the fact that he was from an ordinary Birmingham background. I found this out from reading an article in the online version of the Birmingham Mail a few weeks before seeing the film. This gave the film an added interest for me. Perhaps Birmingham could do something to commemorate Ken? A broad street star maybe? (are these still being created?). Or maybe a plaque on his birth place, or where he served his apprenticeship. The old Wolseley offices as a listed building is still standing in Ward End. If Hollywood can commemorate Ken Miles, then maybe Birmingham should do the same?
 

JohnJames

master brummie
Le man for me the most important race every year, but in keeping with the Birmingham theme, there was a shop in Northfield called Deals On Wheels the guy that ran the store was named Terry and every year he would organize a trip to Le Man for the race.
Folks would depart Northfield in a convoy and head to Dover for the ferry so far so good until we get there early and the pubs are open. one guy never ever made it on the ferry the last we saw of him he was walking down the seawall with a bag of chips.
when you arrive at Le Man there is a party atmosphere I know people that went and never saw one race car pretty hard at a race that lasts for 24 hours.
Le Mans is a festival as well as a motor race. I have been there a few times, including the legendary 1969 event, as a fifteen year old. Always stayed in a tent. Often got wet and mucky but loved every minute.
 

Alberta

Super Moderator
Staff member
John , as i said in post 11 one of our members wrote a book about Ken Miles, he is
Paul D so you could message him for some more information.
 

mbenne

master brummie
This might not be the book referred to but there is one out there..................
 

JohnJames

master brummie
This might not be the book referred to but there is one out there..................
Thanks for the reference. I will look up this book
 
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