Shelby Daytona

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Shelby Daytona
Shelby Daytona, 1964.JPG
Manufacturer Shelby American
Model years 1964-1965
Assembly Venice, California
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Wheelbase 90 in (2,286 mm)[1]
Length 4,150 mm (163.4 in)
Width 1,720 mm (67.7 in)
Height 1,180 mm (46.5 in)
Curb weight 1,043 kg (2,299 lb)

The Shelby Daytona Coupe (also referred to as the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe) was a coupé based loosely on the AC Cobra roadster chassis and drive-train. It was built for auto racing, specifically to take on Ferrari in the GT class. Just six Daytona original coupes were built between 1964 and 1965 ( Shelby was subsequently reassigned to the Ford GT40 project to compete at the 24 hours of Le Mans, again to beat Ferrari). With the Shelby Daytona, Shelby became the first American constructor to win a title on the international scene at the FIA World Sportscar Championship in 1965.[2]

Racing success[edit]

HSR Historics 2009

The Ferrari/Mulsanne problem[edit]

Carroll Shelby, after winning Le Mans in 1959, wanted to return to Europe to beat Enzo Ferrari at Le Mans with a car of his own design. Having developed the AC Cobra/Shelby Cobra into a successful GT race car, he realised that the weakness of the open-cockpit sports cars at Le Mans was the aerodynamic drag which limited top speed on the 3 miles (4.8 km) long Mulsanne straight to around 157 miles per hour (253 km/h), nearly 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) less than the Ferrari 250 GTO, which itself could hold speeds of circa 186 miles per hour (299 km/h). Given the length of this straight, this speed differential represented a loss of over 10 seconds per lap which could negate any power and acceleration advantage that the Cobra had in the slower sections.

Shelby asked employee Pete Brock to design the Daytona's aerodynamic bodywork and Bob Negstad to design the car's suspension. Negstad also designed the chassis and suspension for the GT40 and the CSX 3000 series Shelby Cobra, often referred to as the "coil-Spring Cobra" chassis.

After sketching the proposed design on the floor of the Shelby America workshop, starting with the roadster chassis crashed at the 1963 Le Mans race, Brock removed the bodywork and placed a seat and steering wheel in alignment of where he felt that they should be. He then placed driver Ken Miles in the car, and using scrap wood and gaffer tape, designed the windscreen - the first component to be manufactured for the car. He then interspaced wooden formers, and using these as a guide hand-beat the aluminium bodywork for chassis #CSX2287 around them.

Shelby conferred with an aerodynamics consultant from Convair who said that the design needed to be extended on the tail by at least 3 feet (0.91 m), but Brock stood by his design. Miles took the car to the Riverside Raceway, and on the 1 mile (1.6 km) main straight, took the car on his first five laps to 186 miles per hour (299 km/h), admittedly after it had been found to have "almost flown, lightening the steering a great deal" at speeds above 160 miles per hour (260 km/h). It took another 30 days of development before Miles signed off the car, clocked at that point capable of speeds over 190 miles per hour (310 km/h).

Chassis numbers[edit]

Chassis # CSX2286[edit]

Owned and crashed by S. Robson Walton at Laguna Seca Raceway in August 2012.[3]

Chassis # CSX2287 - The Prototype[edit]

Chassis #CSX2287 was the very first prototype Cobra Daytona Coupe. The only coupe that was built entirely at the Shelby American race shop in Venice, California. It has an extensive race history, competing at Daytona, Sebring, Reims, Spa Francorchamps, Oulton Park TT, and Tour de France. It was driven by Dave MacDonald, Bob Holbert, Jo Schlesser, Phil Hill, Jochen Neerpasch, Innes Ireland, Andre Simon, Maurice Dupeyron, Bob Johnson, Tom Payne. Chassis CSX 2287 won the GT race at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 1964 with Dave MacDonald and Bob Holbert behind the wheel. The race at Sebring was the first time that a Cobra Daytona Coupe won the GT III category in an FIA race. At Le Mans in June 1964, the car was finished in Viking Blue metallic very distinctive white painted front fenders. The drivers were Chris Amon and Jochen Neerpasch. They led the GT class until the car was disqualified in the 10th hour for an illegal jump start due to battery and alternator failure. This coupe ended its racing career by setting 25 USAC/FIA world records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, in November 1965. It was driven by Craig Breedlove, Bobby Tatroe and Tom Greatorex.

Records for the sixth car were lost in the mid-1970s. For a long time car historians and collectors feared the sixth car was lost. In 2001 the car was rediscovered in a rental storage unit in California.[4] The owner Donna O'Hara had committed suicide by burning herself alive.[5] The car had remained undiscovered for almost 30 years. Due to its estimated worth of over $4,000,000 the car was part of an extensive legal battle between her mother who sold the car to a collector in Pennsylvania, and a friend of Ms. O'Hara who was the recipient in her will of the contents of the storage unit. An earlier owner of the car appears to have been music producer Phil Spector who had been known to drive it on the streets of Los Angeles.[6] Built for high-speed sprints, the cab became uncomfortably warm as the car engine heated up, among other problems. "It wasn't a street car; it was a race car", Shelby said. Still, Spector drove it on the streets, and legend is that Spector racked up so many speeding tickets, his lawyer advised him to get rid of the car before he lost his license. This car was featured in "The Monkees" episode, "The Monkees Race Again" (aka "Leave the Driving to Us"), originally aired on February 12, 1968.

CSX2287 has been mechanically reconditioned and is on display at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. Jay Leno has been to the museum and video of him driving the car appears on his web site.

Chassis # CSX2299[edit]

This was the second Coupe built and the first completed at Carrozzeria Gransport (Italian for "Grand Sport Coachbuilders") in Modena, Italy. It competed in nine FIA races (LeMans, Reims, Goodwood Tourist Trophy, Tour de France, Daytona, Sebring, Oulton Park TT, LeMans, Enna), won four FIA events (LeMans '64, Tourist Trophy '64, Daytona '65, Sebring '65) and one event during the Tour de France (Rouen) and driven by Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant, Maurice Trintignant, Bernard de St. Auban, Jo Schlesser, Hal Keck, Jack Sears and Dick Thompson. At LeMans in 1964, drivers Gurney & Bondurant, clocking over 196 miles per hour (315 km/h) on the Mulsanne straight, took First Place in the GT III Class. It was painted Viking Blue with two white stripes in 1964 and repainted Guardsman Blue with two larger longitudinal white stripes and a transverse white stripe across the nose in 1965. In 1964 this car set lap records at Le Mans, Reims and Rouen and the race distance record at Le Mans and Goodwood. In 1965 the car set the lap record at Oulton Park. 2299 was the last Daytona coupe sold by Shelby with a Bill of Sale which read "the number one Cobra Daytona coupe". It is currently owned by Larry H. Miller and resides at the Miller Motorsports Park museum in Tooele, Utah.

Chassis # CSX2300[edit]

This was the only time that a Cobra Daytona Coupe was painted with a white body finish with blue and red stripes. Chassis CSX 2300 was leased from Alan Mann by Ford of France for this race only. It competed in the national “Tri-Colore” of France. Well known French drivers Andre Simon and Jo Schlesser drove this coupe at the very tough Nurburgring course. The car finished 3rd in the GT III category, and 12th overall. After the race, this white coupe was returned to Alan Mann Racing in England where it was repainted in the official Guardsman Blue metallic and white stripe of the 1965 Shelby American team. Carroll Shelby himself owned this Daytona before it was sold by RM Auctions for $4.4 million on August 19, 2000.[7] [8]

Chassis # CSX2601[edit]

This was the fourth Coupe built and the third completed at Carrozzeria Gransport. It competed in eight FIA races in 1965 (Daytona, Sebring, Monza, Spa, Nürburgring, LeMans, Reims, Enna), won four times in GT III class, at Monza, Nürburgring, Reims, Enna), and driven by Bob Johnson, Tom Payne, Bob Bondurant, Allen Grant, (German) Jochen Neerpasch and Jo Schlesser (an outstanding French driver who was killed in an accident at the French Grand Prix in 1968). At Reims, 3–4 July 1965, drivers were Bondurant & Schlesser. It was painted Guardsman Blue. They won the GT III Class. It was at Reims on July 4 that this car earned the points needed to secure the 1965 World Manufacturers Championship. It was featured in the film "Redline 7000" before purchased by its driver Bob Bondurant, who sold it in 1969. The car sold for $7.25 million on August 15, 2009.[9]

Chassis # CSX2602[edit]

This was the fifth Coupe built and the fourth completed at Carrozzeria Gransport. It competed in six 1965 races (Daytona, Sebring, Monza, Spa, Nürburgring and LeMans) and was driven by Rick Muther, John Timanus, Lew Spencer, Jim Adams, Phil Hill, Jack Sears, John Whitmore, Peter Sutcliffe and Peter Harper. The #59 Swiss Red Coupe was campaigned in 1965 by Scuderia Filipinetti. Prior to the Le Mans race, chassis CSX 2602 was also raced at Daytona (driven by Rick Muther and John Timanus) in 1965, Sebring (driven by Lew Spencer, Jim Adams, and Phil Hill) in 1965, Monza (driven by Jack Sears and Sir John Whitmore) in 1965, and Nurburgring (driven by Jack Sears and Frank Gardner) also in 1965. The #59 Daytona Coupe with British drivers Sutcliffe & Harper, ran in the distinctive Red & White Swiss colors only for the '65 LeMans event June 19–20, 1965. This interesting color combination was the well known colors of the famous Swiss racing team, the “Scuderia Filipinetti”. The latter had already earned a reputation for themselves racing Ferraris. When Ford used up their allotment of entries for the 1965 Le Mans race, they asked Georges Filipinetti (owner of the team), to buy a Coupe and enter it as his annual entries. Thus the unusual color scheme. Peter Sutcliffe and Peter Harper (well known Ferrari drivers) were the team’s drivers at Le Mans. They vigorously raced the red and white Cobra Daytona Coupe until the 10th hour when a blown engine put them out of the race. After Le Mans, chassis CSX 2602 was returned to Alan Mann Racing. It was repainted in the Shelby American team colors and never raced again.

Ford Shelby GR-1[edit]

In 2004, Ford and Shelby created a sports coupe dubbed the Ford Shelby GR-1, with a sleek body and the new V10 powering the new Shelby Cobra. Carroll Shelby has explained that he does not want it to be called a Cobra, but it does bear resemblance to the Daytona.

List of replicas and reproductions[edit]

Comparable vehicles[edit]

Bill Thomas Cheetah, 1963, powered with Chevrolet V8 engines


External links[edit]