If you’re a Cobra enthusiast, then you may be surprised to learn that in spite of Carroll Shelby’s legend in the world of competition motoring, only around 998 Shelby Cobras were built from 1961-68. Of the limited Cobras that were assembled during that timeframe, around 655 were built with a 289 mill and leaf spring suspension, while the other 343 cars had coil springs and 427 motors. It seemed like a strange niche for any car-buying market, as has been cited by Hemmings’ own, Mike McNessor, in his May, 2012 assessment of the historic sports car.
But as McNessor also points-out, Carroll Shelby was a man who was capable of marketing-and-selling pretty much anything. As for the story of the iconic Cobra road car, the truth of the matter is that the first of Shelby’s A/C-based creations were not much more than backyard contraptions, conceived from the mind of a Texan who really enjoyed his chili, and apparently road-racing! Within the timeframe of this article, and even this publication, there’s just no way that we could cover the history of Ford and Shelby in the FIA circuit. There’s just no way that we could chronicle the 1960s feud between Ford and Ferrari; that history is just too extensive to even be true!
But as for the more recent history of Shelby American, that story is one that extends into the 1990s. In 1996, Carroll Shelby released the CSX4000 edition of the Cobra, a car that was issued as a way of sneaking around California’s “smog dog” wave of “environmental regulation.” This, of course, was after Shelby’s first attempt at releasing new cars in 1991, continuation Cobras that were to be based on original yet unused, 1965 frames. Because California’s Department Of Motor Vehicles seemingly has a genuine hate for horsepower, Shelby’s continuation Cobras could only be sold under an “off-road” title. As a result, only nine of those Cobras were ever built.
With one of Shelby’s surviving Cobra specimens selling for $7.25 million dollars in 2009, it goes without saying that the British-American classics are not the easiest to obtain. Luckily, companies like Superformance out of Irvine, California provide among the best in Shelby car replication. Our featured Daytona Coupe is one that has recently graced the walls of Jay Leno’s Garage, and though it has not done so as an original Shelby Daytona, we have to say that it’s still cutting it pretty damn close!
That’s because our featured Coupe was designed by Peter Brock himself. Constructed by Superformance, Peter Brock, who was the original Coupe’s designer, actually monitored the construction of this car. And if that’s not close enough to historical accuracy for a kit car, then what must be said is that the Daytona Coupe and its current owner, Bruce Goldsmith, had previously been invited to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a prestigious motoring event held in Carmel, California.
Also adding to the authenticity of the Brock Daytona is a 351 Ford Windsor, bored-and-stroked to 427 cubic-inches by Brad Lagman, along with the rest of the crew at QMP Racing in Chatsworth, California. The Coupe’s frame enjoys a structure that far surpasses those of the original cars, and as Bruce Goldsmith has pointed-out about QMP’s unique motor, the V-8 was built with drivability in mind, “A lot of people with these cars put in engines that go to 8,000 RPMs…we built this engine to be a broad-spectrum, power engine,” says Goldsmith of the Daytona.
Good looks with a unique heritage and drivability?! With this rare example of a 1999 Brock Daytona, we’ll take that ride!