In 1964, Carroll Shelby asked his staff to lengthen the chassis of one of the six Daytona Coupes so he could outfit a 427 cubic inch Ford engine based upon its NASCAR big block. The vehicle was intended to race at Le Mans for 1964 but the truck transporting the motor was involved in a wreck and the Daytona Cobra Coupe returned with a 289, never to make use of the big block Ford.
Now, Shelby American is reimagining history bringing it back for an extremely limited run of heritage cars. “We’re taking care of some ‘unfinished business’ for Carroll Shelby,” explained Joe Conway, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Shelby American. “It was sometimes called the ‘car that never was’ because a lone big block Daytona prototype was built but never raced. We plan to complete this amazing program by offering six turn-key 427 powered Daytona Coupe race cars, which is the same number as the small block versions built in the 1960s.”
The company says the cars are built to period-correct specifications. The 550 horsepower engine is mated to a four-speed manual transmission and is alleged to be capable of 200 mph. Heroically nude, it comes in glorious bare aluminum but Shelby says they’ll paint it in whatever racing livery the buyer wants.
As incredible as it would be to own a genuine Daytona Coupe with the #13 livery, something about using one of the original racing numbers feels slightly sacrilegious. The initial car (CSX2603) debuted in polished aluminum wearing the number 4 and a pair of white stripes. Shelby says this is the number and paint scheme that CSX2286 would have worn for the 1964 Le Mans race.
Each subsequent car will also be assigned a CSX2000 series serial number for documentation in the official Shelby registry. No pricing has been announced but expect it to be astronomical and discussed in private.
“This is an incredible opportunity to own a very rare collectible Shelby heritage race car,” said Gary Patterson, president of Shelby American, in a statement. “Like the six small block cars built in the 1960s, these 427 powered Daytona Coupes will be a lasting tribute to another innovative Shelby racecar that would have caught the racing world off guard. These Coupes will be every bit as much a ‘secret weapon’ as Carroll had hoped for in 1964.”
[Images: Shelby American]