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The All-American Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe

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For the late Carroll Shelby, it was all about winning races. This winning streak is clearly seen in his historical wins and the amazing American race cars he's designed. The Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe was one of the cars born out of his indomitable competitive resilience.

In order to gain a cutting edge over the unbeatable Ferraris that dominated the European races, and in order to win the World Sports Car Championship, Shelby needed a car with more speed to race across the long straights of Europe. Even though the old Shelby Cobra had won many GT races, it was no match for the Ferraris when racing across the European race tracks. This was mainly due to the aerodynamic disadvantage of the open top that the Cobra had. Together with Pete Brock, a former car stylist at GM, Shelby created an aerodynamic hard top version of his earlier Cobra.

While creating a prototype of the new car, Brock used the chassis of an old Cobra that had crashed at the 1963 Le Mans. The first hardtop Cobra Coupe was completed in early 1964. The new car was tested at the nearby Riverside track, beating a Cobra Roadster by 20 mph. The new car had a majestic round nose with sharply raked windshields and cut off tail end. The mechanical features of the car were similar to that of the Cobra and because of this it is often referred to as the “Daytona Cobra Coupe”.  Due to the limited production capacity at Shelby’s California Assembly unit, the next 5 coupes (of the 6 built) were produced at the Carrozzeria Gransport in Modena, Italy. However the Italians made a few changes to the primary design and the new car was 11 mph slower. Despite the setbacks the coupe suffered in 1964 while racing with the Ferrari, the year 1965 saw a major turnaround. In 1965, the Daytona Coupe won the Daytona, Sebring, the Nurburgring, the Reems, and also the World GT Championship. Ironically, the car won the title on the 4th of July, and also set the record for the first American car to win the world racing championship.

If you are the proud owner of one of the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupes, now is not the time to let your investment go unprotected. At Classic Auto Insurance Agency, we provide tailored muscle car insurance policies to protect your priceless investments, such as the Cobra Coupe. For more info, please visit


About the Author

is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.

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