Carrol Shelby was about as passionate as one can get about performance cars and was willing to do whatever was needed in order to achieve that for his own brand. He, of course, came up with the brilliant idea to shoehorn a massive American V8 into a small Brittish sports car and created the Shelby Cobra. He also had quite a few other accolades to his credit such as the absolutely stunning Daytona Coupe that followed the same principles as the Cobra.
One of Shelby’s main reasons for building these iconic muscle cars was to beat the all mighty Ferrari in the world of motorsports. In 1964, he came up with a brilliant idea that would surely give him a leg up on the prancing pony when it came to one of the biggest races of them all, the 24hr of LeMans. He and his talented crew decided they would take one of the Daytona Coupes and modify it so that they could fit an even bigger American V8 under the hood. But not just any V8, it was a NASCAR inspired big block that would replace the 289 cubic inch V8 that came standard in the car.
At the time, there were only six Daytona Coupes, so for them to take one and start cutting it up was a major ordeal. Shelby enlisted the help of fabricator John Ohlsen to lengthen the chassis, something that had to be done if they had any chance of fitting the giant 427 cubic inch NASCAR motor under the hood. Shelby referred to the project as his “secret weapon” and he was more than confident that it would wipe the floor with anything that came from Maranello. Driving Academy owner, Bob Bondurant, was the test driver for that original prototype car built back in ’64 and told reporters that it “went like stink.” He even predicted it would surpass the elusive 200mph mark thanks to a brilliant aerodynamics package, and of course that big block power.
Unfortunately, during the transport of the car to France it received some irreparable damage and sadly it never made it to the starting line. As luck would have it, the car never saw the light of day and was actually converted back to its original 289ci configuration. Shelby’s dream of the one of a kind 427 Daytona was gone forever. Or was it?
Shelby American has recently announced that they plan on fulfilling Shelby’s dream by creating a limited run of just 6 cars, all of which will be built exactly to Shelby’s specifications. The first of the six recently made its debut at Pebble Beach and to call this car magnificent, spectacular, and flat out amazing might actually be an understatement.
Shelby American CEO told reporters, “We are taking care of some ‘unfinished business’ for Carroll Shelby. It was sometimes called the ‘car that never was’ because a lone big block Daytona prototype was built but never raced.” He continued by saying, “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 new Daytonas will get a powerful V8 that comes directly from the Shelby Engine Company and is rumored to have at least 550hp. That might not seem like a ton of power when compared to cars of today, but keep in mind this is a continuation of a car that was meant to be built in 1964, this isn’t a RestoMod. Actually, that 550hp will feel like a whole hell of a lot more thanks to the car weighing in at just 2,200lbs. It will also come with the “four on the floor” four-speed manual transmission, just like the original cars were meant to have.
Each of the six cars made by Shelby American will carry a true CSX2000 series serial number, just like the originals. That way they would qualify for the official Shelby Registry. Unfortunately, there has been no pricing released for these special edition cars. They will probably be obnoxiously expensive, but it’s an obnoxiously badass car that will likely increase in value at a rapid rate, so what else would you expect?