The Shelby Daytona Coupe
(also referred to as the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe)
It is related to the Shelby Cobra roadster, loosely based on its chassis and drive-train developed and built as an advanced evolution.
It was engineered and purpose-built for auto racing, specifically to take on Ferrari and its 250 GTO in the GT class.
The original project had six Shelby Daytona Coupes built for racing purposes between 1964 and 1965, as Carroll Shelby was reassigned to the Ford GT40 project to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, again to beat Ferrari in the highest level prototype class.
The Shelby Daytona, allowed Shelby to become the first American auto-builder to win a title on the international scene in the FIA International Championship for GT Manufacturers in ’65.
Compiled by: HSR Historics 2009
During 1964 and 1965, Ford entered their six Shelby Daytona Coupes in numerous races through the British Alan Mann Racing Ford factory team, as well as a temporarily selling or leasing to other racing teams such as “Tri-Colore” of France and Scuderia Filipinetti of Switzerland.
During this period, Shelby Daytona Coupes raced in GT Division III, for engine displacements over 2000 cc. They competed at numerous 500 km, 1000 km, 2000 km, 12 hour and 24-hour races on the International Championship for GT Manufacturers series, including events at Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring, Imola, Reims, Spa Francorchamps, Goodwood Circuit, Oulton Park, Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie, the multi-race Tour de France Automobile, Enna, Rouen, Monza, and Nürburgring.
The Shelby Daytona Coupes, in their first year of competition, finished second (by 6 points) in GT III class in the 1964 International Championship for GT Manufacturers.
The Shelby Daytona Coupes won the GT III class (by 19 points) for the 1965 International Championship for GT Manufacturers.
A partial list of competitions and results includes:
- 1964 12-Hours of Sebring(GT class win, fourth overall, Dave MacDonald/Bob Holbert)
- 1964 24-Hours of Le Mans(GT class win, fourth overall, Dan Gurney/Bob Bondurant)
- 1964 RAC Tourist Trophy(GT class win)
- 1965 24-Hours of Daytona(GT class win)
- 1965 12-Hours of Sebring(GT class win)
- 1965 Italian Grand Prixat Monza (GT class win)
- 1965 Nürburgring 1000 km(GT class win)
- 1965 12-Hours of Reims(GT class win, clinched 1965 International Championship for GT Manufacturers)
- 1965 Enna-Pergusa(GT class win)
- 1965 25 land speed records at Bonneville
The Challenge of Ferrari & the Mulsanne Straight
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 realized that the weakness of the open-cockpit sports cars at Le Mans was the aerodynamic drag which limited top speed on the 3.7 miles (6.0 km) the Famed 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.
The GTO 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 with 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-made the aluminum 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). CSX2287 was transported to Daytona Speedway for its debut race in the February 16, 1964, Daytona Continental 2000 km. Driver Dave MacDonald earned the pole position with a time of 2:08.200 and an average speed of 106.464 MPH.
|Assembly||Venice, California, USA
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe|
|Engine||289 cu in (4.7 L) V8|
|Wheelbase||90 in (2,286 mm)|
|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)|
Some info on chassis numbers
The first Shelby Daytona Coupe was built at the Shelby American race shop in Venice, California. The remaining five were built at Carrozzeria Gransport (Italian for “Grand Sport Coachbuilders”) in Modena, Italy.
A seventh semi-related car, the 427 “Type 65” Shelby Daytona Super Coupe # CSB3054 prototype that was developed but never officially completed by Shelby
In July 2015 Shelby American announced that they would produce a limited run of 50 continuation Daytona’s to honor the 50th anniversary of the Daytona’s win in the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. Some of the 50 are to be aluminum-bodied, while others will have cheaper fiberglass bodies.
Ford Shelby GR-1
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
- Daytona-Coupe, Aps (Denmark) and AMMAS (Germany) for 1964, 1965 replica
- Superformance Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe- “SPF Coupe”; Shelby Licensed Replica
- All Pro Car
- Borland Racing Development’s Daytona Sportscar reproduction
- Factory Five Racing – Type 65 Coupe, reproduction
- Shell Valley Companies – 1964 Daytona Coupe Series II, reproduction
- Lesher Motor Sports
- Kirkham Motor Sports 289 Coupe