Shelby celebrates the Daytona Coupe’s 1965 world championship with a limited production run
In 1965, the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe dominated the over 2-liter category of the FIA’s International Championship for GT Manufacturers, posting enough class wins to clinch the title on July 4, after 13 of 20 races. Five decades on, Shelby American will pay tribute to this championship with a limited run of 50 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupes, available with the buyer’s choice of fiberglass or aluminum bodies.
Only six original Shelby Daytona Coupes were constructed, which puts them beyond the reach of most enthusiasts. Several manufacturers have constructed replica cars over the years, but to date Shelby American has not produced an aluminum-bodied Daytona Cobra Coupe with a continuation serial number. That changes with this limited run of fifty cars (which counts both aluminum and fiberglass-bodied variants).
The fiberglass Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe.
Of the two, the aluminum Daytona is closest in concept and execution to the original cars, and will be built from original measurements and original blueprints. Like the cars built in 1964 and ’65, it will utilize a tube steel frame, a transverse leaf spring rear suspension, and even a 35-gallon fuel tank, though certain components have been upgraded to more modern specifications. The frame is said to be stronger than the original, and the four-wheel disc brakes are four-piston units sourced from Wilwood.
Inside, the sole concession to luxury in the aluminum-bodied cars is leather seating. Air conditioning is not available, nor is power steering or power windows. Heat shields in the foot box area should make the car tolerable for track day driving, and a Halon fire suppression system ensures that one’s investment is protected under the worst of circumstances. Those seeking a bit more civility can take comfort in knowing that sound deadening and heat abatement are available options, as is paint (in Guardsman Blue with Wimbledon White stripes and meatballs, of course). Those seeking the ultimate in weight savings, however, can opt for a polished aluminum exterior.
The fiberglass Daytona Cobra Coupe is said to be “true to the spirit” of the original, but not an exact replica. Like the aluminum version, it relies upon a tubular steel chassis, but updates the suspension with coilovers in all four corners, and relies upon Shelby-branded disc brakes instead of the higher-spec Wilwoods. Inside, the leather seats are joined by such amenities as power steering, power windows, power locks and air conditioning, though sound deadening and heat abatement remain optional (presumably for weight savings).
On paper, it sounds as if the aluminum-bodied car is aimed at purists who’d like to run the occasional track day, while the fiberglass coupe is targeted more towards those who’ll use the car on the road. Price is another deciding factor between the two variants; the fiberglass car is priced from $179,995, while the aluminum Daytona starts at $349,995. Both prices are for a rolling chassis only, though Shelby American would be happy to sell buyers an aluminum 289 V-8 through its subsidiary the Shelby Engine Company. It’s up to the buyer (or a licensed Shelby distributor) to install the driveline.
The aluminum Daytona Cobra Coupe with a Shelby 289 installed.
Both cars will make their public debut at Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival, scheduled for August 12 at the Monterey Jet Center. The coupes will then be displayed at this year’s Rolex Motorsport Reunion, which takes place from August 13-16 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. An aluminum coupe will also be shown at the 2015 Goodwood Revival in England, which runs from September 11-13 and will feature a reunion of original Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupes.
For more information, visit ShelbyAmerican.com.