After winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 (in the Aston Martin DBR1), Carroll Shelby wanted to return to Europe to beat Ferrari with a car of his own design. In 1964, he began work on the 1964-1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe, a car that would solve the 1963 Shelby Cobra’s issues with aerodynamic drag, which limited its top speed on the 3-mile long Mulsanne straight. Only six were built before Shelby was reassigned to the 1964-1969 Ford GT40 project, but the Daytona Coupe went on to win 10 races during 1964 and 1965, as well as the 1965 FIA World Sportscar Championship.

Not only did the Daytona Coupe become the first car to beat Ferrari since 1959, but it also made Shelby the first American constructor to win an international title. Additionally, the Coupe set no fewer than 25 land-
speed records at Bonneville in 1965. It’s been half a decade since those tremendous achievements, and Shelby American is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its FIA World Championship with a limited series of continuation Cobra Daytona Coupes.

Though this isn’t the first continuation Daytona (Superformance already offers a licensed replica), Shelby’s is arguably the most authentic to date. The 50th anniversary Daytona Coupe is actually more than just a replica, sporting modern disc brakes and a stronger frame, and including an aluminum body option, a first for continuation cars.

Updated 9/1/2015: Our man Jonathan Lopez took some pics at Monterey Car Week. Enjoy!

Continue reading to learn more about the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary.

  • 2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • 0-60 time:
    5.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    349995
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Exterior
- image 643569
2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Exterior
- image 643571
2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Exterior
- image 643574

As with all continuation cars from Shelby, the Daytona Coupe is identical to one of the original cars. I say that because each original competition car was slightly different, and Shelby American chose one of them for this limited series. The company doesn’t say which of the six Coupes was used for this modern version, but did mention it selected a car "that best represents all of the Coupes."

As with all continuation cars from Shelby, the Daytona Coupe is identical to one of the original cars.

Based on the official photos released as of now, I’m tempted to believe Shelby used chassis CSX2601, the No. 26 car that won at Reims with Bob Bondurant and Jo Schlesser behind the wheel to secure the 1965 World Sportscar Championship. Also known as "The Championship Coupe," the No. 26 is the most popular Cobra Daytona, which would explain Shelby’s choice to use it as a base for this continuation series.

Shelby didn’t say whether customers can have the cars finished in one of the historical liveries, but the cars can be finished in "a variety of exterior colors," which most likely also includes the iconic Guardsman Blue.

Speaking of which, the paint will be applied to either an aluminum or fiberglass body. This also means a buyer who opts for the aluminum shell can also have the car in a polished aluminum finish, a look that would mimic the original 1964 prototype as tested by Carroll Shelby.

Interior

2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Interior
- image 643567

Shelby says each Daytona Coupe will feature "a premium black leather interior" regardless of the exterior colors. The cockpit will also come with "special badging," which probably means "50th Anniversary" logos and badges, as well as a numbered plaque and Carroll Shelby’s signature on the dashboard.

No other details are mentioned, but it’s safe to assume the new interior will be identical to the original, down to the numerous analog gauges and switches on the dashboard, the tall center console with the ball-shaped shift knob, the vintage sports seats, and the lightweight door panels. Of course, Shelby also replicated the three-spoke, wood-rimmed steering wheel and the AC-branded pedals so a buyer will feel like he’s driving an original Daytona Coupe.

Drivetrain

2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Exterior
- image 643576

The original Daytona Coupe had a 4.7-liter V-8 engine under its long hood, paired to a Borg Warner four-speed manual transmission. The Ford unit was good for 385 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque, which was enough for 0-to-60 mph sprints of around four seconds and a top speed of 190 mph.

There's no word on output figures, but they should be at least as powerful as the initial engines.

For 1964, those were tremendous performance figures; the top speed was slightly higher than the 1962-1964 Ferrari 250 GTO’s 186-mph benchmark.

The continuation series also features a 4.7-liter V-8, but Shelby is now offering a newer unit with an aluminum block. The original engines had cast-iron blocks. There’s no word on output figures, but they should be at least as powerful as the initial engines. If so, the continuation Daytona Coupe should perform better than its ancestor, as it’s lighter and packs plenty of modern technology under its body.

However, you should know that the engine isn’t included with the rolling chassis. It has to be ordered separately from the Shelby Engine Company and you need to check with them for pricing. All I know is the engine can include the car’s serial number (from CSX9950 to CSX9999).

Prices

2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Exterior
- image 643568

Pricing for the 50th Anniversary Daytona Coupe is set at $179,995 for the fiberglass version and at $349,995 for the aluminum car. The sticker doesn’t include the drivetrain. Every continuation Coupe is delivered as a rolling chassis and the "component vehicle" can be finished either by the customer or an authorized dealer. Only 50 units will be built, with Shelby accepting orders on a first-come, first-served basis.

While it may not be cheap compared to modern-day sports cars, the continuation Daytona Coupe is actually a bargain next to the original cars. With only six Daytona Coupes built, the race car became one of the most coveted vehicles in the world, changing hands for millions of dollars. For instance, "The Championship Coupe" was auctioned for $7.25 million in 2009. Another major issue for car collectors and Daytona Coupe enthusiasts is that ownership is almost impossible, as these cars don’t go under the hammer too often.

Competition

1962-1964 Ferrari 250 GTO

1962 - 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO High Resolution Exterior
- image 575337

Even though the Shelby Daytona Coupe raced against many famous cars of the mid-1960s, including the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, it’s main purpose was to take on the Ferrari 250 GTO in the GT class for the World Sportscar Championship.

The 250 GTO was launched in 1962 and produced in 39 units until 1964. By the time the Daytona Coupe arrived, the Ferrari had already won the FIA Championship for two years in a row on top of scoring two class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 250 GTO went on to win the World Sportscar Championship for the third time in 1964, but its GT dominance ended in 1965, when the Shelby’s V-8-powered Coupe brought the trophy to the U.S.

Along with its 1964-1966 Ferrari 275 GTB successor, the 250 GTO was one of the last front-engined cars to remain competitive at the top level of sports car racing. The former would continue to win GT races through 1967.

Nowadays, the 250 GTO is not just the most coveted Ferrari, but also the most coveted and one of the most expensive classic cars in the world. Initial priced at $18,500 in 1962, the 250 GTO became a million-dollar car as early as the 1980s. By 1990, two examples were sold for more than $10 million. More recently, certain models changed hands for more than $30 million, while chassis number 5111GT set a world record in 2013 after it was auctioned off for whopping $52 million.

While this incredible hike in value is great news to those who already own one, it pretty much leaves those wanting a 250 GTO of their own hopeless. The bad news here is that unlike Shelby, Ferrari won’t build continuation cars.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Exterior
- image 643577

The 1960s was a great era for racing and a successful period for Shelby American. Not only did Carroll help Ford crush Ferrari in GT racing with the Daytona Coupe, he also worked on the GT40, which turned out pretty well, as it defeated the Italians in prototype racing as well. Many of Shelby’s iconic cars, including the Cobra 427 and the Mustangs, were born in the 1960s. This continuation series Daytona Coupe brings back one of America’s most legendary cars and the first vehicle to become a National Historic Vehicle Register inductee.

It’s great news for gearheads who can’t afford one of the original Daytona Coupes and a good way to celebrate the car’s success from half a century ago. Some might argue that Shelby has been using its heritage more than it should with so many continuation cars in recent years, but I don’t care. There’s no such thing as too many U.S.-built "Ferrari killers" on the street and the track.

  • Leave it
    • Drivetrain is a separate purchase

Press Release

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of their FIA World Championship, Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI:PK) will offer a limited series of continuation Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes. Only 50 cars, available in either aluminum or fiberglass, will be built. Both versions of the car will debut at California events in August 2015.

2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Exterior
- image 637332

“The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe helped a small American team beat a racing giant,” said Joe Conway, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Shelby American. “The tenacious Shelby American team fielded six sleek Cobra Coupes against the Ferrari juggernaut, winning the FIA Sports Car Championship on July 4, 1965. That is still the only time that an American team has captured the crown. To celebrate that achievement, we’re launching a limited series of anniversary cars that bring the legendary Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe back to life.”

With only six original Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes built, the racecar became one of the most coveted vehicles in the world. Worth millions of dollars each, ownership of one is almost impossible.

“After the success of our 50th anniversary edition Shelby Cobra big block roadster program, we were bombarded with requests to offer a limited edition Daytona Coupe that celebrated this important milestone,” said Keith Belair, Shelby American Chief Operating Officer. “We spent the last year carefully planning an aluminum car that is faithful to the six built during the 1960s. In addition, we developed an anniversary edition fiberglass version that is true to the spirit of the Coupe, but reimagined as if it had remained in production over the years.”

A combination of the 50 total specially badged anniversary Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes will be built. This is the first time that Shelby has offered an aluminum continuation Daytona Coupe.

Each aluminum Coupe (serial numbers CSX9950–CSX9999) incorporates safety and performance improvements without sacrificing integrity, as they were built from original blueprints and measurements. Since each original competition car was slightly different, Shelby American chose one specification for the continuation cars that best represents all of the Coupes.

From the leaf spring suspension and tube chassis to the wooden rimmed steering wheel, the cars are period correct. While a variety of exterior colors is available, each will come equipped with a premium black leather interior, special badging, modern disc brakes and a stronger frame.

Each is a component vehicle that is built to order and can be finished by a customer or an authorized dealer; it is delivered as a rolling chassis. An aluminum block 289 c.i.d. engine that can include a Coupe’s serial number is also available separately from the Shelby Engine Company.

“The legend of the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe is amazing,” said Gary Schechner, Shelby American Vice President of Marketing. “When Shelby American began racing the lightweight Cobra roadster, they were dominant except on the high speed straightaways of the European circuits. Shelby American tasked Peter Brock with designing a sleeker body for the small block chassis. The result was one of the most radical and now, iconic, racecar designs of all time. Peter’s design not only yielded greater top speeds, but also made the car incredibly aerodynamic and efficient.”

Shelby American began work on the first Daytona Coupe (CSX2287) in Los Angeles during 1964. It quickly proved to be a winner, enabling Shelby American to dominate and win its Le Mans class that year and capture the International Manufacturer’s GT Championship in 1965.

The fiberglass and aluminum cars will be unveiled at Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival on August 12 and be displayed throughout the weekend at the Rolex Motorsports Reunion inside Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. An aluminum car will be displayed at the Goodwood Revival in the U.K. to help celebrate the anniversary of the FIA World Championship where the original Daytona Coupes will be reunited.

“Now for a limited time, a few more people will be able to enjoy a Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe,” said Conway. “Whether they choose an aluminum continuation car or fiberglass version, each anniversary Daytona Coupe will be issued a Shelby American serial number for documentation in the official Shelby American Worldwide Registry. This is a rare opportunity to snag a piece of performance history.”

2015 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary High Resolution Exterior
- image 637334

The price of the base aluminum Shelby Daytona Coupe, not including drivetrain, is $349,995. The fiberglass continuation cars start at $179,995, not including drivetrain. Information is available at http://www.shelby.com/daytona.asp or by calling (702) 942-7325. Shelby American will be accepting deposits on a first-come, first-served basis.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: