The Shelby Daytona Coupe – cousin of the British-American Shelby/AC Cobra – is easily one of the most iconic racing cars of all time. While only 6 examples of the V8-powered sportscar were ever completed between 1964 and 1965, Shelby American wasted neither time nor effort making sure that the Shelby Daytona left its mark on the racing world.
To tell us more, Shelby American released this video featuring Historian Jim King, who talks us through the highlights of the Shelby Daytona Coupe‘s illustrious-though-brief racing career. At its core, explains King, the Shelby Daytona was a simple response to the problem of how to improve on the aerodynamics of the successful Shelby Cobra open-top sportscar, which was a formidable foe around short, tight road courses, but had a drag-limited top speed of under 160 mph.
The results were nearly impossible to deride. Not only did the resulting fixed-roof Shelby Daytona Coupe have a top speed between 191 and 197 mph, but in 1964 – the car’s first full season in the FIA World Sportscar Championship – the car finished second in the GTIII class, beaten only by the Ferrari 250 GTO. The very next year, it took first.
According to Mr. Jim King, if any one of the six original Shelby Daytona Coupes were to appear at auction today, conservative estimates put the opening bid around $10 million.