This Shelby became the first American constructor to win a title on the international scene at the FIA World Sportscar Championship in 1965. (!) Actually the absence of company-supported Ferraris allowed it.
In 1963, the Shelby Cobra roadster had already proven itself by smashing the Corvette on the short tracks of America. 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. And they did it in 1964 24 Hours Du Mans by taking 1st place (chassis #CSX2299) in GT class (4th overall). Then Shelby company was reassigned to the Ford GT40 project after that to go compete at the 24 hours of Le Mans, again to beat Ferrari.
Today the price for one of original Shelby Cobra Coupe is around 4-10 millions USD.
Carroll Shelby, after winning Le Mans in 1959, had wanted to return to Europe and beat Enzo Ferrari at Le Mans with his own car. Having developed the AC Cobra/Shelby Cobra into a successful GT race car, he realised that the problem with the open-cockpit sports car at Le Mans was that its top speed on the 4.8 km long Mulsanne straight was limited to around 253 km/h, nearly 48 km/h down on the Ferrari 250 GTO, which itself could hold speeds of circa 299 km/h. This would negate any power and acceleration advantage that the Cobra had in the slower sections, meaning that it would lose the race.
Shelby got employee Pete Brock to design 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.
After sketching the proposed design on the floor of the Shelby America workshop, starting with the 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 sent in an aerodynamics consultant from Convair who said that the design needed to be extended on the tail by at least 0.91 m, but Brock stood by his design. Miles took the car to the Riverside Raceway, and on the 1.6 km main straight, took the car on his first five laps to 299 km/h, admittedly after it had been found to have “almost flown, lightening the steering a great deal” at speeds above 260 km/h. It took another 30 days of development before Miles signed off the car, clocked at that point capable of speeds over 310 km/h.
Assembly was in Venice, California.
Shelby Coupe other specs
- Wheelbase 2,286 mm
- Length 4,150 mm
- Width 1,720 mm
- Height 1,180 mm
- Front tires: Goodyear Stock Car Special 7.75×15
- Rear tires: Goodyear Stock Car Special 7.75×15
Click to open the history of all original chassis of Shelby Daytona Coupe
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