Original Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe up for auction in May

Click above for a high-res gallery of the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601

The month of May is looking to be a historic one, with not one but two cars having the potential to smash record prices at auctions on the very same weekend. We already reported on the Ferrari 250 TR that will be sold at RM's Maranello auction, and now Mecum has announced the sale of a legendary 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe at their 22nd annual Spring Classic auction in Indianapolis. The auction will be shown live on Discovery's HD theatre, with the Daytona Coupe selling at 8:00pm on Friday, May 18. Mecum fully expects the car to exceed the highest amount paid at a public auction for an American automobile, which is, to our knowledge, the Shelby Cobra Super Snake sold at Barrett-Jackson in 2007 for a total of $5.5 million. The auction house even hopes to reach the eight figure mark. The current record holder for any car is a 1 961 Ferrari California Spyder that sold for $10.89 million at RM's auction last year.

The Daytona Coupe being sold, chassis CSX2601, is the fourth of just six built, winning three of eight FIA races it competed in. One of those victories was at Reims in France that earned the points needed for Shelby to clinch the World Manufacturers Championship in the GT III class. The car has been fully restored to its original condition and sports its Reims livery. Bob Bondurant, who piloted the Daytona Coupe to its wins back in 1965 and also owned it shortly thereafter, was reunited with the car at his high performance driving school in Chandler, AZ this weekend. He was joined by Peter Brock, who designed the Coupe, and the two shared stories of the development and racing of the car. Afterwards, Bondurant even put the car through its paces on the track, the first time he had driven it in more than twenty years. Follow the jump for more details on the auction, and check out the plethora of high-res photos in the gallery below.

Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Mecum Auction]

MARENGO, Ill. – High performance collector car specialists Mecum Auction will offer collectors a chance to own a piece of American race history when they auction the 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601 at the 22nd Dana Mecum Original Spring Classic Auction taking place May 13-17, 2009, in Indianapolis, Ind.
And when this Crown Jewel of American Racing powers across the auction block, Mecum anticipates the championship race car to garner the highest bid ever paid at public auction for an American automobile – eight figures and counting. The Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe will be sold on live national TV Friday, May 15, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. during the company's series, "Mecum Auto Auction: Muscle Cars & More," on Discovery Communications' popular HD Theater.

The 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra was one of six cars built by Carroll Shelby to compete against the dominating Ferrari in the F.I.A. (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) World Manufacturers Championship for GT race class. An experimental coupe body designed by Pete Brock was built on an existing Cobra chassis, immediately increasing the top speed by 25 mph. That car won its first race, the 1964 Daytona Continental (prompting Shelby to adopt the name), and five more coupes were built, including CSX2601.

After competing at Daytona, Monza, Spa and Nurburgring, CSX2601 made history when it clinched the 1965 World Manufacturers Championship for the United States and Shelby American on July 4 in Reims, France.

"Many vintage race cars have a strong American racing history to share – including this vehicle's sister car CSX 2299 – but no car can claim a finer race hour than the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601," said Dana Mecum, president, Mecum Auction. "The legacy of its World Manufacturer's Championship win stays with us more than four decades later, reminding us of one the proudest moments in U.S. race history and a competitive spirit of victory against all odds."

Driving the car – and America – to victory on that fateful July afternoon was legendary driver Bob Bondurant.
"I won a lot of races with this Daytona Cobra Coupe, but when I crossed the finish line at the Reims race track I yelled 'Yes!' It was a fantastic feeling," Bondurant shared. "I always wanted to race in Europe against the world's best drivers. Winning that World Championship was the crowning achievement of my career. I think it's wonderful that the car is being showcased 40 years later."

The Daytona Cobra Coupe didn't just race, however. At one point, a North Dakota businessman with six gas stations owned the car, and each day, he'd drive the 300-mile round trip to collect station receipts in this race-trimmed Cobra.

"This car is a true slice of Americana, representing a different time in America's past when driving a full-blown race car on the roads didn't turn heads," added Mecum. "The Daytona was also leased to Paramount Pictures for use in the Howard Hawks cult classic 'Redline 7000'."

Now fully restored and wearing its famous Reims livery, the Shelby Daytona Cobra CSX2601 headlines the Original Spring Classis Auction, which is expected to feature 1,250 vehicles.

Held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the auction is open to the general public with tickets are available at the door for $10. It will be broadcast live on Mecum's popular television series, "Mecum Auto Auction: Muscle Cars & More" on HD Theater – Discovery Communications' first 24-hour high-definition cable network, offering compelling real-world and motorized content.

The Mecum Auction Company has been specializing in the sale of collector cars, muscle cars and Corvettes for more than 20 years. In spring 2008, the company sold its 50,000th car. Consignment, Bidder, event and accommodation information is available online at www.Mecum.com or by calling 815.568.8888.

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