2007 Russo & Steele, Scottsdale: Shelby Daytona Coupe 427 Sold at $1.32 MIL

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1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe 427 - Lot #6887: Sold for $1,320,000

The Shelby Daytona Coupe is one of the most awesome race cars of all time. Forget its list of racing accomplishments, the Pete Brock designed coupe is one of the coolest looking race cars of all times. They started out in 1964 as aerodynamic bodies for 289 Cobras, but the team realized a big block would be needed eventually. So for 1965 they built an enlarged chassis and fitted the 427 motor. An even more aerodynamic body was penned for the larger Mk. II 427 chassis. Sadly, only one was ever built and never had the proper development to make it hit its anticipated top speed of 215 mph at LeMans.

Just like with the 427 Cobra roadsters, the lack of homologation doomed the racing effort. And in the case of the Coupe, Ford's own GT40 racing program was taking off so the effort was abandoned. This Super Coupe is the prototype and only 427 Cobra Daytona Coupe ever to exist. As the Russo and Steele catalog tells us, it's eligible for vintage racing events around the world and has to be "considered the ultimate 'Holy Grail' opportunity for the Shelby American enthusiast." It sold for $1,320,000 while Carroll's personal supercharged street Cobra was bringing $5 mil across town.

Full Russo and Steele catalog description after the jump.

[Source: Russo and Steele]

Russo and Steele catalog description:

Designed and built for Shelby American's assault on LeMans during the 1965 race season of international long distance endurance racing.

Following the successful campaign of the small block Cobra Daytona Coupes in 1964, Shelby's Director of Special Projects Peter Brock penned the new aerodynamic coachwork to the larger MkII 427 chassis. Convinced the Super Coupe would exceed 215 miles per hour at LeMans, this prototype is the only 427 Cobra Daytona Coupe ever to exist. Eligible for every vintage competition event anywhere on the planet, this is the ultimate 'Holy Grail" opportunity for the Shelby American enthusiast.

The legend and lore surrounding the pursuit and conquest by Shelby American to win the World Manufactures Championship in 1965 with the Cobra Daytona Coupes is well known and oft told. The 1964 race season had ended with Shelby and Company missing the Championship by a proverbial whisker and generating Carroll's immortal line "Next year, Ferrari's ass is mine!" As the efforts turned toward the production of the 427 MkII Cobras, Mr. Peter Brock, Director of Special Projects and the 'darling' of Shelby American following the success of the 289 Daytona project, turned his talents to the production of the second incarnation called the Type 65. With the new 427 engine producing an additional 100 plus horsepower over the small block cars, Shelby American and Brock targeted the infamous LeMans circuit to debut the new 427 "Super Coupe", hence the code name: Type 65.

Sadly, as the date rapidly approached for the required minimum of 100 MkII 427 Cobras to be completed for homologation to international long distance endurance racing specifications, Shelby fell short of this requirement and was forced to once again field the previous year's small block 289 Daytona Coupes. Prior to this time however, work continued on Peter Brock's "Secret Project" designated the Type 65 Super Coupe.

After completing the necessary drawings and a one-quarter-scale model, Brock was convinced this car would exceed 215 miles per hour at LeMans. A special competition chassis was built and shipped by AC Cars Ltd. and shipped to Harold Radford Coachbuilders, also in England. Brock, wanted the same Italian craftsmen to construct the body for the Super Coupe, however Radford Coachbuilders convinced Ford Motor Company to do the job in lieu of their being awarded the contract for components on the Ford GT40.

Detailed correspondence reached the shores of southern California and the offices of Shelby American on a routine basis with glowing reports of Radford's progress. However, on a trip to Ford Advanced Vehicles in England, Phil Remington, Shelby's Chief Engineer, found the reality to be less than satisfactory. With discrepancies in both dimension and construction material, a distressed Remington called Brock immediately with the news. Peter Brock caught the next flight to England and confirmed that the project was not proceeding as they had been led to believe.

With the 1965 Race Season already underway, and Ford's GT (J-car) program showing little signs of success, the decision was made to see the Super Coupe Project through to completion. Brock was ordered to stay in England to oversee the efforts of Radford Coachbuilders and produce the Type 65 prototype. At this time, the original chassis was deemed unusable, and a new competition chassis from AC Cars, Ltd. was built allowing Brock and Radford to start with a fresh slate from the ground up. Although all Shelby American Chassis numbers carried the CSX prefix (for Carroll Shelby Export) the right hand drive configuration and the shipment to Radford Coachbuilders in England, the new Super Coupe chassis carried the CSB prefix (for Carroll Shelby Britain) and the consecutive unit number of 3054.

Understandably frustrated, Brock sadly witnessed little improvement in the capabilities of Radford to actually complete the car following the delivery of the new Competition chassis. At his suggestion, the still in progress chassis and body were shipped to Shelby American in Los Angeles for final installation of the drive train and completion.

As fate would have it, about this same time, Ford's GT MkII program was starting to show promise and all available resources were diverted to the ego indulgence of Henry Ford following his rebuff from Enzo Ferrari for the purchase of his Italian Flagship Company. Ford was going to win LeMans with the GT MkII more commonly referred to as the GT40. Peter Brock and his Super Coupe became casualties of the vendetta to unseat Ferrari and dominate global endurance motorsport.

Ultimately, the Type 65 Daytona Super Coupe was sold, as part of a package deal, when Shelby American was liquidated. Eventually purchased by a Kansas collector, master fabricator Mike Dopudja of Colorado along with the meticulous guidance of Peter Brock, the project was finally completed with stunning result. Unveiled at Riverside Vintage Races in 1981, it was driven on numerous occasions at competitive events by many notable drivers including; Bob Bondurant, Brian Redman, Mike Dopudja, Bob Hindson and campaigned extensively by former 427 Cobra National Champion Dick Smith of California. With Smith at the helm, short track lap times rivaled those set by his legendary 427 Roadster. One cannot help but smile at the unrealized opportunity of this sleek Coupe bodywork, with 427 cubic inches screaming down the endless straight-aways of LeMans with Ken Miles at the wheel.

The 427 Daytona Super Coupe was later purchased by George Stauffer who continued to refine the car to the exacting standards of Brock's original specifications. Since this time, it has received a comprehensive restoration to magnificent result and has been campaigned at Vintage Race events extensively including several Shelby American Automobile Club conventions.

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