Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to All Our Content
1964→1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe
Daytona Continental 2,000 km Race, Daytona, FL, 1965. Four of the five Daytona Cobra coupes in action. CD#0777-3292-0631-5.

1964→1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe

1964→1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe

In 1963, the Shelby Cobra roadster had already proven itself by smashing the Corvette on the short tracks of America. Shelby also took the roadster to Europe and prepared a hardtop version for Le Mans but placed 4th in class behind the Ferrari GTOs. The turning point came with the Daytona Coupe, a hand-made supercar that would put America at the forefront of sports car racing.

Convinced by Pete Brock, Shelby gave the go-ahead to rebody his 289 Cobra to include a closed cockpit for better aerodynamics. This resulted in a Cobra having a much lower center of gravity and less aerodynamic drag. By October 1963, early tests at Riverside showed positive results with 186mph which was some 20 mph more than the 286 Roadster.

Dave MacDonald and Bob Holbert had the honor of debuting the Cobra Daytona at the 1964 Daytona Continental. The race itself looked promising, with the coupe dominating the first half of the race until a fire in the pits forced the team to retire.

Three weeks later, Shelby American returned to take on the 12 hours of Sebring with the same drivers as Daytona. They beat Ferrari and placed fourth overall leading the GT class. Ford immediately decided to offer Shelby financial backing to assault European GT racing. At this time Ford was very anxious to win on international fronts and was in the midst of creating the GT40 when an attempt to buy Ferrari went sour.

Another coupe was prepared for the 1964 European season and subsequent body production was enlisted to Carrozzeria Grandsport in Modena, Italy.

Cobra Daytonas achieved the fastest GT class time at the Le Mans test weekend and it was a sign of things to come. CSX2299 took the GT-class victory with Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant at Le Mans infront of several Ferraris. For the rest of the season, competition was fierce with Ferrari and the Monza Coppa Inter-Europa at Italy looked to decide the championship. Unfortunately, the event was canceled with Ferrari leading by just a few points. This season remains as one of the great ‘what ifs’ in Cobra history.

None-the-less, Shelby remained determined in 1965 and four more complete cars came from Carrozzeria Grandsport before the start of the season. The absence of company-supported Ferraris allowed Shelby win almost every race in Europe and the first Shelby became the first American team to win the European GT manufacturer’s title.

Meanwhile, Shelby was busy in America fitting the big-block Ford engine into a 427 Super Coupe. Only two prototypes were made until focus shifted to the ailing GT40 program.

In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
type Racing Car
production years 1694 – 1965
body stylist Pete Brock
coachbuilder Carrozzeria Grandsport
production 6
price $ $ 15,000
predeccesor 1963 Shelby Competition Cobra 289 Le Mans Hardtop
succeccesor 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona 427 Super Coupe
engine Ford 90º V8
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Nautral
block material Cast Iron
valvetrain Pushrod OHV, 2 Valves per Cyl
fuel feed 4 Weber 48 IDM Carburetors
displacement 4728 cc / 288.5 in³
bore 101.8 mm / 4.0 in
stroke 72.9 mm / 2.87 in
compression 10.8:1
power 287.1 kw / 385.0 bhp @ 6750 rpm
specific output 81.43 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 369.13 bhp per tonne
torque 460.98 nm / 340.0 ft lbs @ 4000 rpm
redline 8000
body / frame Aluminum Body over Steel Spaceframe
driven wheels RWD
front brakes Discs
rear brakes Discs
steering Rack & Pinion
f suspension Lower Wishbones w/Transverse Leaf Springs, Koni Adjustable Telescopic Shock Absorbers
r suspension Lower Wishbones w/Transverse Leaf Springs, Koni Adjustable Telescopic Shock Absorbers
curb weight 1043 kg / 2299 lbs
wheelbase 2286 mm / 90.0 in
front track 1354 mm / 53.3 in
rear track 1341 mm / 52.8 in
length 4610 mm / 181.5 in
width 1753 mm / 69.0 in
height 1422 mm / 56.0 in
transmission Borg Worner T-10M 4-Speed Manual
gear ratios 2.32:1, 1.69:1, 1.29:1, 1.00:1
final drive 3.09:1
top speed ~305.8 kph / 190.0 mph
0 – 60 mph ~4.01 seconds
0 – 100 mph ~8.81 seconds
race victories 1964 Sebring 12 Hours, 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1964 Goodwood TT, 1965 Daytona 2000 km, 1965 Sebring 12 Hours, 1965 Nürburgring 1000 km, 1965 Reims 12 Hours


Auction Sales History

1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601 – sold for $7,250,000 After competing at Daytona, Monza, Spa and Nurburgring, CSX2601 made history when it clinched the 1965 World Manufacturers Championship for the United States and Shelby American on July 4 in Reims, France. Driving the car – and America – to victory was legendary race car driver Bob Bondurant.
Auction Source: 2009 Mecum at Monterey