Historic Cobra Daytona to star at Shelby tribute

The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe is the car that beat Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964 | Carroll Shelby Foundation
The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe beat Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964 | Carroll Shelby Foundation

Probably the most celebrated of American race cars, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe that claimed victory in the GT class 50 years ago in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, returns to Southern California on May 17 for the second annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show.

The event, at the future home of the Carroll Shelby Automotive Museum in Gardena, Calif., features a Ford and Shelby car show, an awards ceremony and an expert panel, plus the legendary Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe (CSX2299) that in 1964 delivered the first-ever Le Mans class win for the United States and for Shelby’s racing team.

The Cobra Daytona was designed by a young Peter Brock at the request of Carroll Shelby, who wanted to increase the speeds of his Cobra roadsters on Le Man’s fast Mulsanne Straight. Brock came up with a controversial aerodynamic solution that succeeded in beating the reigning Ferrari 250 GTOs in the GT III Class in the 1964 Le Mans marathon and also helped the Shelby American team take the World Manufacturers Championship from Ferrari in 1965.

Carroll Shelby has been the only person to win Le Mans as a driver, team owner and manufacturer.” 

At Le Mans in 1964, the Cobra Daytona was raced by the driving team of Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant and clocked more than 196 mph on the Mulsanne Straight. CSX2299 was the second Cobra Daytona Coupe built, completed at Carrozzeria Gransport in Modena, Italy, and powered by a 289cid Ford V8.

“Carroll Shelby has been the only person to win Le Mans as a driver, team owner and manufacturer,” said Neil Cummings, co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and a trustee for the Carroll Shelby Foundation. “For enthusiasts, this is a rare opportunity to see the Cobra Daytona Coupe that ended the reign of Ferrari’s GTO at the future home of a museum dedicated to Shelby accomplishments.”

The Le Mans-winning Cobra Daytona was owned by the late Larry H. Miller and is now kept at the museum named after him at Miller Motorsports Park museum in Tooele, Utah. Proceeds from the Shelby tribute benefit the Carroll Shelby Foundation and the new museum. Admission is free, with donations encouraged.

Shelby cars from the past five decades will be on display during the show in Gardena, and owners of Shelby- and Ford powered performance vehicles are invited to enter their cars; a registration form and event information can be found at the Carroll Shelby Foundation website, www.cscf.org.

Organizers plan to re-enact a signature feature of last year’s inaugural tribute: the engine rev salute. Enthusiasts are encouraged to join fans worldwide at 1 p.m. (Pacific time) on May 17 in the “Rev Your Engine” salute to the life of Carroll Shelby.

Back-to-original restoration boosts Cobra’s price by nearly $300,000 at Auctions America sale

Shelby 298 Cobra bought last year sells for more this time around | Auctions America photo
Shelby 298 Cobra bought last year sells for more this time around | Auctions America photos

Auctions America Fort Lauderdale 2014 at a glance

Total sales$21 million
Catalog647 automobiles
Sell-through76 percent
High sale$825,000
1963 Shelby 289 Cobra
Next 9 price range$211,200 to $605,000
Next auctionMay 8-10 at Auburn, Ind.

Auctions America’s 12th annual Fort Lauderdale auction produced more than $21 million in sales and a very significant 76-percent sell-through rate.

“The Fort Lauderdale sale gets better and better every year,” Donnie Gould, president of the RM-owned auction house, said in a news release wrapping up the event.

“This year, Auctions America had record high sales and over 30-percent new clientele — demonstrating that our reach is continuing to expand thanks to our promotional efforts and the dedication of our expert team of car specialists who work tirelessly to secure exciting and significant vehicles for the sale,” he said. “This weekend’s event was a fantastic success, the excitement on the auction block was electric and we’re looking forward to continuing that energy throughout 2014.”

Auctions America said the more than $21 million in sales represented nearly a 20-percent increase compared with the same sale in 2013. It also reported bidders from 44 states and 13 nations, including those in Asia, South America and Australia.

The high-dollar sale was $825,000 for a 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra. The car was the 23rd such car built by Shelby American and its sale had been anticipated strongly because the same car, though modified from its original color and condition, had been purchased at the Fort Lauderdale auction in 2013.

Since that sale, the car has been restored to original condition. The result of that effort: A car purchased for $533,500 sold a year later for nearly $300,000 more.

There also had been considerable pre-auction interest in the potential sales price for a 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition with only 80 miles on its odometer. That car went for $412,500, a record for Fort GTs in the famed Gulf racing-team blue-and-orange color scheme.

Among the most robust bidding was that between someone in the room and someone on the telephone, both of whom sought a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird. The car eventually sold for $319,000.

Among other sales of note, a fuel-injected 1963 Chevrolet Corvette split-window coupe nearly doubled its pre-auction estimate in selling for $189,200, a 1961 Jaguar E-type Series I 3.8-liter roadster brought $149,600, a 1969 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ram Air II brought $140,250 and a 1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible sold for $93,500.

Top 10 sales: Auctions American at Fort Lauderdale

  • 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra, $825,000
  • 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4, $605,000
  • 2006 Ford GT Heritage Editon, $412,500
  • 1934 Packard Twelve, $390,500
  • 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird, $319,000
  • 2005 Ford GT, $259,600
  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, $255,750
  • 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435, $250,250
  • 1965 Shelby GT350, $214,500
  • 1947 Chrysler Town & Country, $211,200

All sales results include buyer’s fees. 

Auctions America’s next sale will be its annual Auburn Spring auction, May 8-10 in northeastern Indiana. The sale will include more than 900 cars, with around 450 of them coming from the John Scotti Collection.