Shelby to market 50 Daytona re-creations

MONTEREY, Calif. — Shelby American has re-created the historic U.S. racecar that knocked Ferrari off its pedestal in 1965 — the Shelby Daytona Cobra coupe — for a limited run of 50 cars.

The 50th anniversary cars will be offered in traditional body paint for $179,995, or in a polished aluminum body for $349,995. The prices do not include an engine, said Keith Belair, COO of the Las Vegas performance vehicle company.

The modern-day version of the Daytona sits on a wheelbase that is about four inches longer than the car that won the 1965 FIA World Sportscar Championship — a world racing event that was dominated by Ferrari.

Peter Brock, who designed the car for Shelby in the 1960s, said that the original Daytona was a tight fit, and that the added inches are an improvement.

“This is basically the 1965-1966 Daytona race car," Brock said while attending Shelby American’s unveiling of the recreation at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday. “If you want the real thing, this is it."

Brock recalled that his boss, the late racecar builder Carroll Shelby, urged his team to do whatever they could to make his existing open-cockpit Shelby Cobra racer faster.

Brock made the car more aerodynamic by enclosing the cockpit in a coupe and sharply cutting the car’s rear end.

It's not clear how many of the 50-car production run will be aluminum bodies versus painted bodies.

Aerodynamic argument

Brock said Shelby was unhappy with the Daytona’s looks, and the two argued about whether a car could truly be aerodynamic.

“We brought in consultants from the aerospace industry to settle the question," Brock said Saturday. “Nobody knew much about auto aerodynamics back in those days. There were a lot of disagreements. But we were determined and the car proved itself."

Belair said the company does not yet know how many of the 50-car production run will be aluminum bodies versus painted bodies.

While 50 is a small number compared to auto industry production runs, Belair notes that Shelby only built six of the original Daytonas. And rather than pay to ship the original Daytonas home from the U.K. after 1965, Shelby sold them there for $5,000 each.

Those original six cars currently have an estimated auction value of $10 million to $12 million each, according to Belair.

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