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1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe Continuation

$600,000 - $800,000

RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 22 JANUARY 2021


Chassis No.
CSX 2616
  • Built to exacting standards by renowned Cobra specialist Mike McCluskey
  • Substantial use of vintage and period-correct components throughout
  • Authentically detailed; spectacular presentation
  • Sparingly driven since completion
  • Suitable for vintage racing events worldwide

One of the most remarkable cars ever created, the Shelby Daytona Coupe rightfully takes its place at the pinnacle of the Cobra legacy. Uniquely American in construction and design, the car hit the racetrack and proved itself over and over again with GT-class wins in 1964 and 1965 at Sebring and Le Mans, captured the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1965, and set no fewer than 25 land speed records at Bonneville. Just six Cobra Daytonas were constructed in period, however; Lacking budgets were part of the problem, but more critically, at the peak of the Daytona’s success, the Shelby team was called upon to focus on the Ford GT40 racing efforts. Any future Daytona development was abandoned.

This stunning hand-fabricated example revives the Daytona tradition while embodying the finest in automotive craftsmanship, attention to detail, and authenticity. The current and only owner of this car initiated this project with the goal of building the finest and most authentic re-creation Daytona in existence.

Working within period constraints, but with the aim of building a reliable performance motor, the owner decided to begin with an original 289-cubic inch five-bolt V-8 stroked to 294 cubic inches. The engine breathes through correct Italian 48 IDA Weber carburetors, using original-specification center linkage, fuel log, and of course, the correctly constructed and infamous turkey pan surround. Engine accessories include a correct date-coded alternator, correctly plumbed oil lines using ex-aircraft fittings, period-correct hoses, and proper hardware and finishes. Following construction, resulting engine dynamometer tests revealed a commanding 441 horsepower at 7,200 rpm.

For the transmission, an original Borg Warner FIA T10 close-ratio gearbox was rebuilt with cross-cut polished gears by Mike Miles, who also utilized the correct 289 Ford Galaxie tail shaft. An original aluminum Shelby independent differential with 3:31 gearing was installed along with a McCloud racing clutch. Further exacting details include the rare Mocal differential cooler. An electric pump helps cool the car (improving cooling performance when the car is at idle).

So complete and accurate was this car’s construction that even the frame is a work of art. Constructed by renowned Shelby expert Mike McCluskey, it uses original-specification-diameter tubing with original-style front and rear uprights per the original 289 racing chassis. The appropriate front and rear transverse race-specification leaf spring suspension is present, and McCluskey set up and pre-assembled correctly tapered bearings (the rear with 427 bearings) and adjustable lower control arms as originally built.

Continuing the build specifications, original Girling brake calipers with correct solid disc rotors were sourced and restored to original specifications and installed. Hand-formed functional brake cooling vents (front and rear) with additional functional brake ducting were constructed for cooling the calipers and discs as originally intended. A correct pair of SW 248 fuel pumps were sourced and installed, supplying fuel from a hand formed 30-gallon fuel tank.

The exceptional level of detail and fabrication demanded by the cockpit required the sourcing of original Cutler and Hammond radium-tipped aircraft switches and period hardware, including hand-painted switch lettering in the correct ivory color. Original style Stewart Warner instruments and an original NOS speedometer and tachometer were both located and installed in the phenomenal dashboard; not only does the dash display an abundance of authentic details, but all interior panels have been powder coated for durability and consistent presentation.

Further details included sourcing of all original Lucas lighting, bulbs, and careful planning to cool the car using an aluminum radiator with concealed high-speed automatic cooling fans inside the hand-formed aluminum cooling shroud. Rounding out the presentation, the car was finished in original Guardsman Blue metallic with Wimbledon White stripes, period-correct racing livery, and Halibrand aluminum racing wheels with period-correct knock-offs.

Boasting a pedigree of great designers, builders, and premier race car drivers, the Cobra Daytona Coupe stands as an icon of performance from arguably one of the most exciting eras of racing history; it is hardly surprising that original examples are valued in the millions of dollars—if and when they come to market, which is seldom.

This stunning Daytona Coupe Continuation is a superb and ready successor to the originals, eagerly awaiting the open road or track and ready to reward the driving ambitions of the fortunate new owner. Sparingly driven since its completion, the car is best described as essentially new in every respect. Beautifully built by a who’s who of Cobra experts following the stringent guidelines established by original examples, it awaits a dedicated enthusiast with an appreciation for one of the greatest and most exciting sports cars to ever grace the racetrack.


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