1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

Click Here to Begin Slideshow Almost 60 years ago, on July 4, 1965, something revolutionary was created by a handful of California hot-rodders that placed America on the world stage. It wasn’t a world land-speed record; it wasn’t the latest in cool hot rods; nor the Formula 1 title, though Ameri-can Phil Hill won that accolade in 1961 in a Ferrari. With less than a shoe-string budget in a small garage in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, it was just enough to enable these guys to build a prototype and set the tone for a new style of GT racing car. That machine, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, was the brainchild of designer Peter Brock in 1964. But it only came to fruition thanks to Ken Miles, the renown racing driver/test driver and engi-neer, who backed Brock. Carroll Shelby gradually saw its potential and influenced repre-sentatives from Goodyear tires to sponsor the construction of the car. In return, they saw a promising promotional package. Within a year, the Shelby name turned the world on its head by winning the FIA Manufacturers’ Road-Racing Championship (class GT) previ-ously dominated by their adversary, Ferrari, who owned the sport for the past 12 years. At the 24 hour endurance race at Daytona, Shelby’s Cobra Daytonas were ahead of the rest of the field, including Ferraris, by seven laps, but lost the race due to a fire in the pits. However, it won a pivotal race at Sebring. Carroll Shelby and Henry Ford disliked Enzo Ferrari and wanted to de-throne ‘Il Commendatore,’ so Ford gave Shelby the fund-ing required to perform in Europe - the pinnacle of endurance racing, and its G-spot, the brutally demanding 24 hours of Le Mans. The European races would include Monza, Oulton Park, Spa 500km, Nurburgring 1,000km, Rossfield hillclimb, Tar-ga Florio, ADAC 1,000km, Reims 12 hours, Enna 500km, and Le Mans. Peter Brock re-members, “Racing in Europe started at the Targa Florio while half our crew waited at Le Mans with the prototype. Ford had spent millions on the production and publicity of the GT40 - their pride and joy for GT racing. Driver, Jo Schlesser asked if he could test the Daytona car. One of the GT40s had crashed and we held off as a second GT40, piloted by Roy Salvatore, was tested. As happened with the first GT40, Salvatore crashed the sister car. Jo Schlesser got into the prototype Cobra Daytona, and to every-one’s amazement, smoked them all. He set the GT lap record and we realized how spe-cial the Cobra Daytona was and that it couldn’t have been accomplished except through an independent car manufacturer with no committee decisions.” Road & Track magazine gave weary reviews at first: “The interior is sheet aluminum, a roll bar made of eerily small tubing, simple Stewart Warner gauges, a low-backed seat, Ford’s famous shifter for the four-speed, and under the hood, a 289 and Webers. A dry-break coolant fitting. Furthermore, narrow body tubing that felt like drinking straws sup-porting aluminum thin enough to dent with a finger.” But that quickly changed as driver, Dan Gurney lapped at 3:56.1, the fastest GT lap ever at Le Mans. At the famous race, when the clock’s final seconds ended at 4 p.m., the Cobra Daytona team had secured 12 championship points to Ferrari’s 18. The totals were now Shelby American with 95.4 points to Ferrari’s 66.7 points. As Rinsey Mills writes in his book, Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe: The Autobiography of CSX2300, “This was of little consolation to Henry Ford. All he could see was Ferrari first, second, third, sixth and seventh, with not a Ford in sight. All the GT40s dropped out. Only one American entry remained - the Co-bra Daytona that came in fourth. Ferrari had still gotten the better of him. There it would end, he vowed.” By the end of the 1965 GT championship year, the Cobra Daytonas had won more races than Ferrari tallying up 90 points for Shelby American to Ferrari’s distant 71.3 points. As for Henry Ford, his dream was accomplished the following year with the return of the Ford GT40s, winning Le Mans consecutively for the next four years (1966-1969) forcing Ferrari out of contention. But even victory was bitter sweet for the group behind the Cobra Daytonas. Sadly, Ford dismissed the Cobra Daytonas for the GT40s. It was a financial decision, even if the Daytonas appeared more successful. Gordon Chance, a tuner for Shelby American said, “What caused hurt feelings was - all of a sud-den - the Cobras were yesterday’s news when the GT40s started winning. It was just pragmatic because Ford was paying the bills. Carroll kind of floated along with the deal. That was one of the giant problems between Carroll Shelby and Peter Brock. So now everybody’s pissed because Ford is dropping the Daytona like it’s nothing. But in Europe in ’65, they were winning hands down.” In many of the races Daytona Coupes finished 1-2. At Sebring they finished first through fourth in the GT class. Shelby Ameri-can clinched the championship on July 4, 1965 at Reims. The Cobra Daytona’s season ended in 1966 with little fanfare. Shelby was consumed by the GT40 and Ford’s obses-sion with beating Ferrari at Le Mans. Peter Brock had been working on the so-called Su-per Coupe, a closed version of the 427 Cobra, but funding dried up, and the car went uncompleted. Seemingly indifferent, in 1966, the six finished coupes were offered at Shelby American’s famous “garage sale,” being sold for $24,000 for the lot! Today, each is now worth double-digit millions. I’m in the car with Peter and I can imagine someone watching it go by. All they see is a blue and white blur, a flash actually, that leaves behind a distinctive taste in the air and a crackle from the roar of a powerful force reminiscent of the rare original six with the 289 Ford V8. The present powerhouse, a 302 V8, is impressive and instantly fast, demanding the respect to wear a 4-point racing harness, as tight as a straightjacket, to keep my vital parts securely in place otherwise they would smack against each other like the child’s game of conkers. The padding is just enough not to have your spine dislocated if the car drove over a piece of chewing gum. It’s like riding a thoroughbred, each muscle twitching beneath me as the needle kisses 80 mph. Everything wobbled, shook, bounced and screamed an impending death, but incredulously, it was like no oth-er excitement, particularly when someone like Peter, the owner of this car, was driving. I have immense confidence in Peter’s ability as though the car is an extension of his body. He understands every noise and nuance that the car emits. Behind the wheel, he could make a curve feel like a straightaway, but Peter warns me that he needs the concentra-tion of a bullfighter in controlling the beast. The original Shelby Cobra Daytona was lower in height providing greater aerodynamics and ground force, but the Factory Five Version 3 is equally daunting in its performance. It actually handles better at a higher speed. It is like driving a go-kart only ten-times faster. And the sound. The sound. As the late author, P.J. O’Rourke succinctly put it in Driving Like Crazy, “Oh, Jesus, that stupendous noise, that beautiful and astounding sound - not the flatulent blasting of the drag strip or the bucket-of-puppies-squeal of tiny Grand Prix engines, but a full-bore iron block, stroked-out American symphony of monster pandemonium. Ex-haust notes so low they shake the lungs like rubber bell clappers in the rib cage and shrieks of valves and gears and pushrods wailing, broadcasting as loudly as a billboard.” Peter had been thinking about buying this kit car from Factory Five for awhile. For Peter it was on his Top 10 List of Things To Do. According to his wife, Trudy, he kept an eye on Factory Five models and finally liked the Version 3 that they had developed from 2019 to 2021. “Luckily,” recalls Trudy, “Peter bought the kit in 2019 and had started working on the frame and drivetrain before the COVID pandemic lockdown hit in 2020. He was off work for several months due to lockdowns, so this project kept him from go-ing stir crazy sitting at home.” Fortunately for Peter, it wasn’t a long commute - all of eight steps down a flight of stairs to his garage ‘shop’ at 8 a.m. and returning home by 4 p.m. with maybe, after all that blood, sweat and tears, an afternoon nap for a bit of con-solation. For Peter, this kit car is as close as he can possible get to driving a piece of history. When Peter was building the car, he was trying to capture the true essence - the authenticity - of the original car down to using four Weber carburetors. “There are no creature comforts in the car,” states Peter as he switches gears. “It is a reflection of a racing car in a period when drivers toughed it out.” I viewed the car as a short, scrappy pugilist who had done a stint in the Navy. This car eats steroids by the handful. There was a corner coming, and then, it was a distant speck in the rear view mirror. I vaguely remember Peter turning the wheel. “The car is painted like the original theme of the 1965 Daytonas - Guardsman Blue with the two white racing stripes.” Peter didn’t have a gum-ball painted on it,” says Trudy, “as he wanted the focus to be on the car itself.” There have been game changing cars in American automobile history. These cars didn’t com-ply to the norm, removing the shackles of conventionality and created a whole new world for other car designers to follow. And the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé did just that. So much so that it became the first automobile recorded into the United States Heritage Documentation in the Library of Congress. Peter grew up with a fixation of building, repairing toy cars or racing remote control boats. The speed, variety and design of cars encouraged his enthusiasm to work towards being a mechanic in the automotive trade during his first summer out of High School. Forty-two years later, he is still immersed in the business. Peter started restoring his love for classic wooden boats about 25 years ago and, whenever possible to enter-tain his love for speed, races them. The kit car is his first built/restoration of a car. “The look of the race car brings people over to gaze at it, but the sound of it brings smiles to their faces,” reflects Peter. “People always ask ‘How’s the mileage?’ And I reply, smiles per miles.” As far as Peter is concerned, what makes cars like the Daytona stand out is character and distinction. “I believe there will still be a love and passion for vintage cars in the future because modern cars all look the same.” Will you remember a Lexus fifty years from now? “And don’t ask me about electric cars, because I am not, nor ever will be, a fan of them. They don’t have that distinct racing smell and they don’t have that inextricable noise that vibrates through your body. So how much fun is that?” This car is one of the most unique and stunning shapes in automotive history. Even today, more than 59 years later, the muscular lines and aggressive stance has no equal. There is perhaps no other car more capable of making a Corvette driver appear to be wearing a skirt. Carroll Shelby’s personal CSX2300 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé was auctioned off for a whopping $4.4million in August 2000. The CSX2601, a race-worthy Shelby Cobra Day-tona Coupé, went for a record $7.25 million in August 2009. While the dramatic design makes people stop and stare, only the hard-core car guys appreciate its full history. It’s more than a kit car. It’s an ode to greatness. Even the Factory Five versions of the Daytona are a rare sight. It’s a novelty to see them participate at a cruise night or car show. It is certainly not a car for everybody, but it is definitely the only car for some. Click Here to Begin Slideshow

1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Almost 60 years ago, on July 4, 1965, something revolutionary was created by a handful of California hot-rodders that placed America on the world stage. It wasn’t a world land-speed record; it wasn’t the latest in cool hot rods; nor the Formula 1 title, though Ameri-can Phil Hill won that accolade in 1961 in a Ferrari. With less than a shoe-string budget in a small garage in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, it was just enough to enable these guys to build a prototype and set the tone for a new style of GT racing car. That machine, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, was the brainchild of designer Peter Brock in 1964. But it only came to fruition thanks to Ken Miles, the renown racing driver/test driver and engi-neer, who backed Brock. Carroll Shelby gradually saw its potential and influenced repre-sentatives from Goodyear tires to sponsor the construction of the car. In return, they saw a promising promotional package. Within a year, the Shelby name turned the world on its head by winning the FIA Manufacturers’ Road-Racing Championship (class GT) previ-ously dominated by their adversary, Ferrari, who owned the sport for the past 12 years.

At the 24 hour endurance race at Daytona, Shelby’s Cobra Daytonas were ahead of the rest of the field, including Ferraris, by seven laps, but lost the race due to a fire in the pits. However, it won a pivotal race at Sebring. Carroll Shelby and Henry Ford disliked Enzo Ferrari and wanted to de-throne ‘Il Commendatore,’ so Ford gave Shelby the fund-ing required to perform in Europe - the pinnacle of endurance racing, and its G-spot, the brutally demanding 24 hours of Le Mans. The European races would
include Monza, Oulton Park, Spa 500km, Nurburgring 1,000km, Rossfield hillclimb, Tar-ga Florio, ADAC 1,000km, Reims 12 hours, Enna 500km, and Le Mans. Peter Brock re-members, “Racing in Europe started at the Targa Florio while half our crew waited at Le Mans with the prototype. Ford had spent millions on the production and publicity of the GT40 - their pride and joy for GT racing. Driver, Jo Schlesser asked if he could test the Daytona car. One of the GT40s had crashed and we held off as a second GT40,
piloted by Roy Salvatore, was tested. As happened with the first GT40, Salvatore crashed the sister car. Jo Schlesser got into the prototype Cobra Daytona, and to every-one’s amazement, smoked them all. He set the GT lap record and we realized how spe-cial the Cobra Daytona was and that it couldn’t have been accomplished except through an independent car manufacturer with no committee decisions.”

Road & Track magazine gave weary reviews at first: “The interior is sheet aluminum, a roll bar made of eerily small tubing, simple Stewart Warner gauges, a low-backed seat, Ford’s famous shifter for the four-speed, and under the hood, a 289 and Webers. A dry-break coolant fitting. Furthermore, narrow body tubing that felt like drinking straws sup-porting aluminum thin enough to dent with a finger.” But that quickly changed as driver, Dan Gurney lapped at 3:56.1, the fastest GT lap ever at Le Mans. At the famous race, when the clock’s final seconds ended at 4 p.m., the Cobra Daytona team had
secured 12 championship points to Ferrari’s 18. The totals were now Shelby American with 95.4 points to Ferrari’s 66.7 points. As Rinsey Mills writes in his book, Shelby
Cobra Daytona Coupe: The Autobiography of CSX2300, “This was of little consolation to Henry Ford. All he could see was Ferrari first, second, third, sixth and seventh, with not a Ford in sight. All the GT40s dropped out. Only one American entry remained - the Co-bra Daytona that came in fourth. Ferrari had still gotten the better of him. There it would end, he vowed.”

By the end of the 1965 GT championship year, the Cobra Daytonas had won more races than Ferrari tallying up 90 points for Shelby American to Ferrari’s distant 71.3 points. As for Henry Ford, his dream was accomplished the following year with the
return of the Ford GT40s, winning Le Mans consecutively for the next four years (1966-1969) forcing Ferrari out of contention. But even victory was bitter sweet for the group behind the Cobra Daytonas. Sadly, Ford dismissed the Cobra Daytonas for the GT40s. It was a financial decision, even if the Daytonas appeared more successful. Gordon Chance, a tuner for Shelby American said, “What caused hurt feelings was - all of a sud-den - the Cobras were yesterday’s news when the GT40s started winning. It was just pragmatic because Ford was paying the bills. Carroll kind of floated along with the deal. That was one of the giant problems between Carroll Shelby and Peter Brock. So now everybody’s pissed because Ford is dropping the Daytona like it’s nothing. But in
Europe in ’65, they were winning hands down.” In many of the races Daytona Coupes finished 1-2. At Sebring they finished first through fourth in the GT class. Shelby Ameri-can clinched the championship on July 4, 1965 at Reims. The Cobra Daytona’s season ended in 1966 with little fanfare. Shelby was consumed by the GT40 and Ford’s obses-sion with beating Ferrari at Le Mans. Peter Brock had been working on the so-called Su-per Coupe, a closed version of the 427 Cobra, but funding dried up, and the car went uncompleted. Seemingly indifferent, in 1966, the six finished coupes were offered at Shelby American’s famous “garage sale,” being sold for $24,000 for the lot! Today, each is now worth double-digit millions.

I’m in the car with Peter and I can imagine someone watching it go by. All they see is a blue and white blur, a flash actually, that leaves behind a distinctive taste in the air and a crackle from the roar of a powerful force reminiscent of the rare original six with the 289 Ford V8. The present powerhouse, a 302 V8, is impressive and instantly fast,
demanding the respect to wear a 4-point racing harness, as tight as a straightjacket, to keep my vital parts securely in place otherwise they would smack against each other like the child’s game of conkers. The padding is just enough not to have your spine
dislocated if the car drove over a piece of chewing gum. It’s like riding a thoroughbred, each muscle twitching beneath me as the needle kisses 80 mph. Everything wobbled, shook, bounced and screamed an impending death, but incredulously, it was like no oth-er excitement, particularly when someone like Peter, the owner of this car, was driving. I have immense confidence in Peter’s ability as though the car is an extension of his body. He understands every noise and nuance that the car emits. Behind the wheel, he could make a curve feel like a straightaway, but Peter warns me that he needs the concentra-tion of a bullfighter in controlling the beast. The original Shelby Cobra
Daytona was lower in height providing greater aerodynamics and ground force, but the Factory Five Version 3 is equally daunting in its performance. It actually handles better at a higher speed. It is like driving a go-kart only ten-times faster. And the sound. The sound. As the late author, P.J. O’Rourke succinctly put it in Driving Like Crazy, “Oh,
Jesus, that stupendous noise, that beautiful and astounding sound - not the flatulent blasting of the drag strip or the bucket-of-puppies-squeal of tiny Grand Prix engines, but a full-bore iron block, stroked-out American symphony of monster pandemonium. Ex-haust notes so low they shake the lungs like rubber bell clappers in the rib cage and shrieks of valves and gears and pushrods wailing, broadcasting as loudly as a billboard.”

Peter had been thinking about buying this kit car from Factory Five for awhile. For
Peter it was on his Top 10 List of Things To Do. According to his wife, Trudy, he kept an eye on Factory Five models and finally liked the Version 3 that they had developed from 2019 to 2021. “Luckily,” recalls Trudy, “Peter bought the kit in 2019 and had started working on the frame and drivetrain before the COVID pandemic lockdown hit in 2020. He was off work for several months due to lockdowns, so this project kept him from go-ing stir crazy sitting at home.” Fortunately for Peter, it wasn’t a long commute - all of eight steps down a flight of stairs to his garage ‘shop’ at 8 a.m. and returning home by 4 p.m. with maybe, after all that blood, sweat and tears, an afternoon nap for a bit of con-solation.

For Peter, this kit car is as close as he can possible get to driving a piece of history.
When Peter was building the car, he was trying to capture the true essence - the
authenticity - of the original car down to using four Weber carburetors. “There are no creature comforts in the car,” states Peter as he switches gears. “It is a reflection of a racing car in a period when drivers toughed it out.” I viewed the car as a short, scrappy pugilist who had done a stint in the Navy. This car eats steroids by the handful. There was a corner coming, and then, it was a distant speck in the rear view mirror. I vaguely
remember Peter turning the wheel. “The car is painted like the original theme of the 1965 Daytonas - Guardsman Blue with the two white racing stripes.” Peter didn’t have a gum-ball painted on it,” says Trudy, “as he wanted the focus to be on the car itself.” There have been game changing cars in American automobile history. These cars didn’t com-ply to the norm, removing the shackles of conventionality and created a whole new world for other car designers to follow. And the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé did just that. So much so that it became the first automobile recorded into the United States Heritage Documentation in the Library of Congress.

Peter grew up with a fixation of building, repairing toy cars or racing remote control boats. The speed, variety and design of cars encouraged his enthusiasm to work
towards being a mechanic in the automotive trade during his first summer out of High School. Forty-two years later, he is still immersed in the business. Peter started restoring his love for classic wooden boats about 25 years ago and, whenever possible to enter-tain his love for speed, races them. The kit car is his first built/restoration of a car. “The look of the race car brings people over to gaze at it, but the sound of it brings smiles to their faces,” reflects Peter. “People always ask ‘How’s the mileage?’ And I
reply, smiles per miles.” As far as Peter is concerned, what makes cars like the
Daytona stand out is character and distinction. “I believe there will still be a love and passion for vintage cars in the future because modern cars all look the same.” Will you remember a Lexus fifty years from now? “And don’t ask me about electric cars,
because I am not, nor ever will be, a fan of them. They don’t have that distinct racing smell and they don’t have that inextricable noise that vibrates through your body. So how much fun is that?” This car is one of the most unique and stunning shapes in
automotive history. Even today, more than 59 years later, the muscular lines and
aggressive stance has no equal. There is perhaps no other car more capable of making a Corvette driver appear to be wearing a skirt.

Carroll Shelby’s personal CSX2300 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé was auctioned off for a whopping $4.4million in August 2000. The CSX2601, a race-worthy Shelby Cobra Day-tona Coupé, went for a record $7.25 million in August 2009. While the dramatic
design makes people stop and stare, only the hard-core car guys appreciate its full
history. It’s more than a kit car. It’s an ode to greatness. Even the Factory Five versions of the Daytona are a rare sight. It’s a novelty to see them participate at a cruise night or car show. It is certainly not a car for everybody, but it is definitely the only car for
some.

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Factory Five Replica

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About Clive Branson 49 Articles
Clive Branson is a photography graduate from Parsons School of Design in New York City and has since divided his career as an advertising creative director/copywriter and as a freelance writer/photographer. He is the author of Focus On Close-Up and Macro Photography and numerous articles for magazines and newspapers throughout North America and Britain. Clive lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario.

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