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Shelby Daytona

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Shelby Daytona replica

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 reassigned to the Ford GT40 project after that to go compete at the 24 hours of Le Mans, again to beat Ferrari. Pete Brock designed the Daytona's aerodynamic bodywork, while Bob Negstad designed 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. Due to its slippery shape, with the same Ford 289 drive-train and chassis as the 289 Cobra roadster it was much faster at top speed.

Chassis numbers

Chassis # CSX2287 - The Prototype

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. This particular Daytona Coupe has been missing for over 30 years. Recently, it was "found" again. The story reads as another unique chapter in the Shelby cars history. Be sure to read more about this rare and long missing coupe.

Chassis # CSX2299

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, Sebring, Oulton Park TT, LeMans, Enna, Daytona), won four times (LeMans '64, Tourist Trophy '64, Daytona '65, Sebring '65), 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, took First Place in the GT III Class. It was painted Viking Blue. Dan Gurney in 1965 driving this Cobra Daytona Coupe took the World Manufacturers Championship from Ferrari.

Chassis # CSX 2300

This was the only time that a Cobra Daytona Coupes 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.

Chassis # CSX2601

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.

Chassis # CSX2602

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.

The missing sixth car CSX2287

Five Shelby Daytona cars were constructed in Italy, one car, known to collectors as CSX2287, was manufactured in the United States. Ownership of the cars was recorded for five cars, however 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.The owner Donna O'Hara had committed suicide by burning herself alive. The car had remained undiscovered for almost 30 years. Due to its estimated worth of over $4,000,000 USD 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. 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.

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Shelby vehicles

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