Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe
The Ford Motor Company from 1964 to 1965 exclusively built the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe for GT auto racing. It was meant to take on the Ferrari and only six coupes were even built. Carroll Shelby designed the Cobra automobile as a well-designed match for the Ferrari on the tight American racetracks.
The lack of quality aerodynamics design of hard-topped Shelby Cobra caused drag while racing that the less powerful Ferrari did not have. This drag caused the Shelby Cobra to be unable to keep up with the Ferrari on the straightaway portion of the racetracks. The aerodynamic design was redesigned by sight only. The elegant redesign included a round nose and a steep windshield. The rear of the car featured a tail that was shortened.
As the official test driver, Ken Miles, the British race car driver and engineer also helped with the redesign of the Shelby Cobra Coupe. The driving position was changed to allow for a lower roofline and the chassis was remade to improve handling capabilities. Top speeds of over 180 miles per hour were seen during the test runs at the Riverside track and in February 1964, the Shelby Cobra Coupe debuted at the Daytona 2000 kilometer race.
The win at this racetrack forever changed the name of the car to the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. For the remainder of the year further cemented the reputation of the Shelby Coupe. Since the California Shelby shop was so busy, they commissioned the Carrozzeria Grandsport Motor Company in Italy to help them manufacture the bodies. Ferrari's biggest competition became a backyard contender.
The Italian models of the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe had some changes made to the design, which made it markedly more elegant. Unfortunately, the better looking model came in at more than 10 miles per hour slower than the American model. Even though it was slower, the Italian Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe still won races.
For the 1964 racing year, the final round of the World Championship at Monza was cancelled and so the Shelby could not win the championship over the Ferrari team, and they finished second. When the 1965 racing season started, the Grandsport team had produced a winning combination of vehicles. The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe was figured to be a strong contender to win the championship.
Ferrari threw in the towel and stopped producing GT race cars. The Shelby Cobras therefore won the races at Daytona, Reims, Nurburgring, and Sebring easily, but the Ferrari did win at Le Mans. The United States version of the Shelby Cobra was undergoing a massive change in the engine to a big block style engine, but the successful run of production race cars ended in 1965.
The Ford team continued to produce race cars, and there were two more types of Daytona Coupes manufactured in England. The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe is still considered to be one of the best racing cars in history. Replicas of the Shelby are now available and have rekindled interest in the classic American race car. Visit oldoppos.us for more fascinating information about Ford's Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe.