Mecum will auction off a rare one of six 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupes (chassis no. CSX2601).
A quick history lesson for those who don’t recognize this legend. Before Ford took on Ferrari with the GT40, Shelby went after the Italians in the GT class with the Ford-engined Shelby Daytona Coupe. In 1964 and 1965 full bodies were added to six modified Shelby Cobra drivetrains. The improved aerodynamics allowed the cars to be quicker and have a higher top speed.
This car is a sibling to the infamous CSX2287 — it was the first prototype for the other five coupes, set a land speed record at Bonneville, owned by record producer Phil Spector, and went missing for decades. While CSX2601 doesn’t have as sorted a past as the prototype, it did clinch the 1965 World Manufacturers Championship title for Shelby in the GT class by winning on July 4th in Reims, France.
The Daytona Coupe will be auctioned off on Satuday, May 16th at Mecum Original Spring Classic Auction in Indianapolis.
Press release after the jump.
High performance collector car specialists Mecum Auction will offer collectors a chance to own a piece of American race history when they auction the 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601 at the 22nd Dana Mecum Original Spring Classic Auction taking place May 13-17, 2009, in Indianapolis, Ind.
And when this Crown Jewel of American Racing powers across the auction block, Mecum anticipates the championship race car to garner the highest bid ever paid at public auction for an American automobile - eight figures and counting. The Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe will be sold on live national TV Friday, May 15, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. during the company’s series, "Mecum Auto Auction: Muscle Cars & More," on Discovery Communications’ popular HD Theater.
The 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra was one of six cars built by Carroll Shelby to compete against the dominating Ferrari in the F.I.A. (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) World Manufacturers Championship for GT race class. An experimental coupe body designed by Pete Brock was built on an existing Cobra chassis, immediately increasing the top speed by 25 mph. That car won its first race, the 1964 Daytona Continental (prompting Shelby to adopt the name), and five more coupes were built, including CSX2601.
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.
"Many vintage race cars have a strong American racing history to share - including this vehicle’s sister car CSX 2299 - but no car can claim a finer race hour than the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601," said Dana Mecum, president, Mecum Auction. "The legacy of its World Manufacturer’s Championship win stays with us more than four decades later, reminding us of one the proudest moments in U.S. race history and a competitive spirit of victory against all odds."
Driving the car - and America - to victory on that fateful July afternoon was legendary driver Bob Bondurant.
"I won a lot of races with this Daytona Cobra Coupe, but when I crossed the finish line at the Reims race track I yelled ’Yes!’ It was a fantastic feeling," Bondurant shared. "I always wanted to race in Europe against the world’s best drivers. Winning that World Championship was the crowning achievement of my career. I think it’s wonderful that the car is being showcased 40 years later."
The Daytona Cobra Coupe didn’t just race, however. At one point, a North Dakota businessman with six gas stations owned the car, and each day, he’d drive the 300-mile round trip to collect station receipts in this race-trimmed Cobra.
"This car is a true slice of Americana, representing a different time in America’s past when driving a full-blown race car on the roads didn’t turn heads," added Mecum. "The Daytona was also leased to Paramount Pictures for use in the Howard Hawks cult classic ’Redline 7000’."
Now fully restored and wearing its famous Reims livery, the Shelby Daytona Cobra CSX2601 headlines the Original Spring Classis Auction, which is expected to feature 1,250 vehicles.