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Shelby Cobra FIA Roadster
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  AC Shelby Cobra FIA Roadster

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Built in:Los Angeles, United States
Produced in:1964
Numbers built:5
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 14, 2013
Download: All images
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Click here to download printer friendly versionShelby American brought four FIA Roadsters to the season-opening 2000 km of Daytona 2000 race. Easily mistaken for 'standard' competition Cobras, they were overshadowed by the equally new fixed-head machines, known henceforth as the 'Daytona Coupe'. The Cobra coupe qualified on pole ahead of one of the Roadsters but the race was very much a Ferrari affair due to reliability issues of the Cobras. The FIA Roadster soon after scored its first victory when Ken Miles won the USRRC GT race at Augusta ahead of Dave McDonald in a sister car.

The 1964 World Championship would remain a very closely disputed affair with the FIA Roadsters winning their class at the Targa Florio, Spa 500 km and Nürburgring 1000 km. The Coupe would go on to win the GT class at the all-important 24 Hours of Le Mans but in the end the steady run of the Ferrari 250 GTOs throughout the year saw the World Championship go to the Italian manufacturer. Now running the Coupes exclusively, Shelby American made no mistake in 1965, winning both its class at Le Mans and the World Championship outright.

Having served Shelby well, the four surviving FIA Roadsters (one had been destroyed at Sebring) were sold to privateers at the end of 1964. Particularly the example campaigned by Alan Mann proved successful with John Whitmore winning the GT class at the Tourist Trophy and Bob Bondurant achieving a similar feat at the Rossfeld Hill Climb. Sadly, two of the cars were crashed heavily, one with fatal consequences.

Although not as revered as the Daytona Coupes, the FIA Roadster was extremely successful throughout 1964 beating the Ferraris at some of Europe's most challenging circuits. Of the survivors one remains in remarkably original condition, while the others have recently been prepared for historic racing. They are now part of prominent American collections but are regularly brought out for all of us to enjoy.

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  Article Image gallery (61) Chassis (3) Specifications User Comments (2)