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Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe Can Be Your Secret Weapon!

Motorious logo Motorious 2/22/2019 Elizabeth Puckett

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The backstory around Shelby's Cobra Daytona Coupe, while legendary, is somewhat mysterious. Back in 1964, Carroll Shelby turned to renowned fabricator John Ohlsen for assistance in working over a Daytona coupe with a longer chassis. They installed a NASCAR spec’ed big block and discarded the previously-fitted 289 cubic-inch Ford engine. The result? Shelby's ‘secret weapon’.

Born with intentions of Le Mans victory, boasting such small stature (2200 lbs) and world-class aerodynamics, the vehicle proved to hold great racing potential. The car impressed Bob Bondurant as a development driver, who noted that the Shelby would likely top 200 mph. He also explained that the racer had globs of torque that would permit sideways cornering – amid burning rubber – in any gear. However, disaster struck.


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While it was intended for Le Mans, Shelby's transporter was involved in a crash, and the Shelby Daytona was seriously damaged. In dire need of repair, the Cobra never got to participate with the 427 cubic inch Ford Big Block. Instead, Shelby American transplanted a specially configured small block into the car. It did go on to race with Dan Gurney and Allen Grant, though.

From this heritage, the Secret Weapon continuation series was born, featuring big block power alongside almost-identical specifications as set by John Ohlsen with the original Le Mans car. These machines make over 550-horsepower from the Shelby Engine Company's 427 medium-riser. Mated to four-speed manual transmission, these machines define a true ‘driver’s car’.

“This is an incredible opportunity to own a very rare collectible Shelby heritage race car,” Gary Patterson, president of Shelby American had to say about these special continuation cars.

“Like the six small block cars built in the 1960s, these 427 powered Daytona Coupes will be a lasting tribute to another innovative Shelby race car that would have caught the racing world off guard. These Coupes will be every bit as much a 'secret weapon' as Carroll had hoped for in 1964.”

Find out more about the one you can take home by checking out the listing here.

This article was first published on Motorious. View it here.


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