1964 - 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe
Caroll Shelby cherished one dream while racing in Europe and North and South America throughout the 1950s; building the world’s fastest sports car. By 1956 he had already come up with a name for his car, it would be called the Cobra. Soon after his 1959 victory at the 24 Hours of LeMans for Aston Martin, Shelby was struck by heart problems. Reluctant to do so, he was forced to give up racing as a driver. This lifestyle setback turned out for the best, however, as Shelby had the opportunity to pursue his Cobra-building dreams.
A few years earlier and on the other side of the globe, John Tojeiro designed a small sports car, which sold under the AC Ace name. The open-top car was a simple tube-frame chassis with a Bristol 2.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine derived from the BMW M328 engine. The lightweight combination made the Ace a moderately successful racer. However, its success was jeopardized when BMW began phasing out the 2.0-liter. Other engines were tested, including American V-8s, but the AC Ace’s future seemed dim. So dim in fact, Tojeiro decided to end production of the car.
That’s when Shelby heard about the AC Ace and its lightweight design. He immediately contacted AC, along with his long-time associates at Ford Motor Company. He convinced AC to continue constructing the Ace and Ford to supply special versions of its Fairlane engine for installation in the AC chassis. Shelby and his team of engineers and builders shoehorned the V-8 into an AC at Shelby’s Venice, California shop. Of course, these early AC Ace cars were the roadsters that became known as the Shelby AC Cobra. The cars enjoyed a successful racing career, but could never outrun Enzo Ferrari, Shelby’s longtime Le Means rival, and his Ferrari 250 GTO.
That’s where the Shelby Daytona Coupe comes in. Shelby had Pete Brock design a more aerodynamic body for the AC Ace – one that would allow for higher top speeds at Le Mans’ Mulsanne Straight. The design worked, allowing the coupe to hit 190 mph. The car’s debut race would be the 1964 Daytona Continental 2000 at the famed Daytona international Speedway in Florida.
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In 1965 the most prestigious racecar in the world, was a fastback version of Carroll Shelby’s Cobra. Designed by Peter Brock, the Shelby Daytona Coupe was the latest offering from the American racing driver and was also responsible for winning the 24 Hours of Lemans, and ultimately the World Manufacturer’s Championship that same year.
In order to celebrate this historic automobile, Shelby is unveiling a special edition: the Shelby Daytona Coupe Le Mans Edition. The car is powered by a 530 HP V8, and there will even be a racing version with 560 HP. The special editions come with modern touches like 18 inch wheels and tires, suede Momo racing steering wheel, Alcantara seats with "Le Mans Edition" embroidery, "Le Mans Edition" gauges with a 200 mph speedometer and a tachometer that goes up to 10,000 RPM,
Press release after the jump.