The Flying Shingle, as it was often called because of its low and flat visual aspect, was an MG-based special built by Ken Miles in California in the winter of 1954-55. Here it is, getting the once over from an admirer, in the paddock at its first race, held at Willow Springs in February 1955. Miles called his special the R2, as he had raced its less-radical predecessor, the R1, starting in 1953. Miles remembered where he had come from and carried the decal from his membership in the British Racing Drivers Club on his car. The R2 used a tubular frame with a highly modified MG TF 1466 cc motor and a standard MG TC gearbox with modified MG Y suspension. It had a very low seating position and, for the period, quite streamlined bodywork. The R2 ran in the SCCA’s F Modified class and was very successful.
Ken Miles had moved from England to California in 1952 and began racing MG TDs which led to his first MG-based special, the R1. The Miles R2 was an attempt to carry the success of the R1 to another level. But the R2 also retained some MG style with its grille. It was perhaps the most famous of the early California road racing specials. However, the arrival of the first Porsche 550 spyders would eventually make an MG special an also ran in F Modified so Miles switched to a Porsche owned by Johnny von Neumann and continued to win the class. Today the The Flying Shingle, fully restored, still competes in historic racing.
In the 1960s Miles worked with Carroll Shelby driving Cobras with great success. He was tragically killed in a testing accident with the Ford J-car, the forerunner of the Ford GT40 Mk. IV, at Riverside Raceway in August 1966.
Photo by Peter Coltrin ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com