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  AC Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe

  Article Image gallery (175) Chassis (6) Specifications User Comments (2)  
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Built in:Los Angeles, United States
Produced from:1964 - 1965
Numbers built:6
Designed by:Pete Brock for Shelby American
Predecessor:AC Shelby Cobra Le Mans
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:September 21, 2015
Download: All images
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Click here to download printer friendly versionShelby's Californian shop was already overloaded with work, so he commissioned Carrozzeria Grandsport in Modena, Italy to body the following Daytona Coupes. So Ferrari's biggest challengers in the GT class to date were clothed right in their own backyard. With the prototype Daytona Coupe engaged in racing elsewhere, Grandsport only had the wooden buck to go by. Being very Italian, they made some changes to the design to make it more elegant. Although very subtle the aesthetic modifications to the windshield and roof were quite obvious when the original Daytona Coupe lined up next to the first example to come out of Italy. Amazingly the better looking of the two mechanically identical machines was a whole 11 mph slower on the Mulsanne Straight. In the hands of Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant, it was still quick enough to upset the order and clinch the GT-class win and fourth overall. It was the first time that Ferrari had not won the GT at Le Mans, since it was established in 1959.

The Le Mans winning team took one more class victory in 1964, during the Goodwood Tourist Trophy. Conveniently for Ferrari, the final round of the World Championship, at Monza, was cancelled, giving Shelby American no chance to bridge the gap and the team finished second. By the start of the 1965 season, Grandsport had completed a further four examples, lifting the total production figure of Daytona Coupes to six. In their second year of competition, the Daytonas were strong favourites to win the championship. Even more so because Ferrari had thrown a tantrum over the FIA's refusal to homologate the 250 LM as a GT and subsequently ceased their factory GT efforts. The Cobra Daytonas dominated with wins at Daytona, Sebring, the Nürburgring and Reims. A repeat of the success at Le Mans was prevented by Ferrari, who had managed to homologate a 275 GTB 'ringer' as a GT.

Back in the United States, Shelby American was well under way with the development of a heavily revised, big-block engined version of the Daytona Coupe. The Ford backed project was halted when the team learned that the 1966 World Championship would disputed for prototypes only. After less than two, highly successful, years the Cobra Daytona project came to an end. Shelby and Miles turned their attention to the Ford GT40, resulting in overall wins at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans. Pete Brock continued to design and engineer racing cars and is also a highly accomplished photographer. In addition to the six original Daytona Coupes, two further cars were built in England along the same lines and with consent from Shelby. Today the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe ranks as one of the most desirable racing cars in the world. Recently a Brock and Shelby sanctioned replica has become available that allows us mortals to experience the thrills of driving an American legend.

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  Article Image gallery (175) Chassis (6) Specifications User Comments (2)