There aren’t many cars in the world that can lay claim to a truly timeless design, but the Shelby Daytona Coupe is without a doubt one of those rare vehicles that’s every bit as beautiful today as when it debuted 50 years ago. Even though it bears Carroll Shelby’s name, the credit for the design belongs with Pete Brock, who also helped design the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray.
As you may or may not know, Brock was actually Carroll Shelby’s first paid employee, joining the team in 1961 and working through 1965, helping design components for the Shelby GT350, as well as merchandising, logos, and liveries for the race cars. But by far his biggest accomplishment was penning the design for the 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, which won the FIA GT World Championship that same year.
Brock doesn’t mince words, describing how the original Shelby Cobra dominated the racing circuit in America. Once in Europe though, team Shelby was in for a rude awakening due to the long straightaways at circuits like Le Mans, where the Cobra was outgunned by exotics with better aerodynamics. But thanks to rule changes pursued by Ferrari, Shelby could use an existing Cobra chassis with an all-new body specifically for racing without having to sell 100 vehicles to the public, giving use the original half-dozen Daytona Coupes.
Apparently Carroll Shelby didn’t quite understand this though, and Brock had to explain to him that it was more than just the open-roof design that was hurting the Cobra’s top speed. They’d need an all-new, aerodynamically-friend body to really compete, and thanks to rule changes they could. The interview cuts off there unfortunately, but we’re looking forward to hearing more from Mr. Brock about how the Shelby Daytona Coupe wound up with its gorgeous shape.