‘Twas a boring early Sunday morning’s drive to Laramie via I-80 Westbound to work on some fencing and gates for a rental property, suddenly livened up by a glimpse of something special in the mirrors…
Oh boy, a Shelby Daytona Coupe! We were doing about 110mph LESS than we might have been doing on the Mulsanne Straight at LeMans ’64 where Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant took first in the GT class (and 4th overall) in Shelby’s magnificent Daytona Coupe that needed to be able to exceed 190mph to have a chance against the mighty Ferrari 250 GTO. With only six genuine cars produced and probably multiple hundreds of recreations, this one was never likely to be one of those genuine ones, yet it still looked and sounded magnificent roaring by us with its driver wearing ear muffs.
The Daytona Coupe was designed by Peter Brock and the whole point behind it was that the Cobras, as open cars, were aerodynamically deficient and couldn’t get anywhere near the closed Ferraris on the Mulsanne Straight. Obviously this wasn’t a state of affairs that Shelby would countenance, so here we are.
This car in fact belongs to “Team Limer” and is apparently en route from Pennsylvania to a charity race/rally/tour somewhere West of Laramie…The car is a Factory Five Racing kit car built by the owner in his garage (FFR is one of the better known and higher quality outfits offering these, second perhaps to the vastly more expensive Superformance kit cars, to say nothing of the official “continuation cars” from Shelby American). There’s a facebook page for Team Limer detailing the trip and more and a Flickr page documenting the build in the owner’s garage. Whatever your feelings on kit cars, this one looked great going by and I’ll be the first to congratulate the owner for taking it far from home rather than just letting it sit in the garage or be ogled at the local cars’n’coffee on good weather days as too many kit cars (as well as interesting real cars) are. It is clearly a car that is well used (and well loved) showing some wear on it along with lots of road dirt from the trip so far. Dear driver of this car, I wish you well on your trip, if you happen to come through Fort Collins, CO on your way back, I’d of course love to take a closer look!
By the way, the last time I saw a Shelby Daytona Coupe in person was at the 2000 Monterey Historics, and at the time presumed that was actually an original car, otherwise wouldn’t have been allowed on track. It was clearly faster than I was. Looking back though it appears to have been a replica or recreation as well, or at least not one of the six originals. It did win its class in the race that day though.
All of my pictures from Monterey 2000 with multiple cars faster than me and Mr. Shelby sitting motionless…
Whenever I’m passed by an interesting and seemingly rare car or encounter one going the other direction, I inevitably wonder what the backstory might be. Good on you for figuring this one out!
Very cool, that’s about the best use of a Cobra coupe replica that I can think of, a long distance blast across the country. Kudos to the owner/builder.
My thoughts on kit cars are mixed, but if you really want a Cobra then a replica is the only way to go for “normal” people. Just make sure it’s not too shiny, and you actually drive it.
“… somewhere West of Laramie … “
Love the way you intentionally worded that.
That totally went past me! All I can say is I just got out of bed.
BTW, the car isn’t missing its front license plate. Pennsylvania doesn’t use a front plate.
Nope, it doesn’t. One of a small number of states that do not.
Here in MA, we switched to requiring front plates in the early 1990s when the RMV started issuing front plates. BUT if you are still running the pre-1993 plates (or more correctly, “plate”), you can get away with only having 1. There are many people (who apparently have lots of free time to think about such things) who hold on to the pre-1993 plates just so they can only run 1 plate. And then there are other people who throw caution/legality to the wind and only carry the front plate in the unlikely event that they are stopped by a cop who wants to know where their front plate is. These would be the folks who have some sort of issue with front plates.
About 40 years ago I found an original copy of this ad from the Saturday Evening Post, and had it framed to hang in my office. Still have it, as it’s my absolute favorite automobile ad. Ned Jordan, founder of the car company that bears his name, was a genius at creating ad copy. Wikipedia has this to say of him:
“Edward S. Jordan was an American entrepreneur, automotive industrialist and pioneer in evocative advertising copy, which he wrote and used to advertise the automobiles produced by his Jordan Motor Car Company of Cleveland, Ohio.”
If you have yet to read the entire ad, please click on the photo and read it.
What a treat that must have been! There are cars I think would be great for a cross-country drive. This would not be one of them. But we used to hear about “race what ya brung” so there must also be “bring what ya race”, so this drive makes great sense. And so do the earmuffs.
Fangio was once asked, I think it was in the late ’60s by John Bond of R&T, what car he’d choose for a fast drive across the USA, the answer being presumed to be a road going Ferrari. He replied that he’d take an air-conditioned Cadillac. lol!
In 1974 A gearhead friend of mine had gotten word of a planed 4th running of the Cannonball Run. I was talked into joining the team of 4 who would man the vehicle; a low mileage 1968 Cadillac M&M ambulance, with all the underfloor storage areas filled with fuel cells. Even had a gurney in the back so we could take turns sleeping.
The race eventually ran in 1975, but without us. First, I ended up being shipped off to Germany in late 1974, but about a month prior, somehow my commanding officer found out what we had planned, and as I was part of the Military Police at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, he was determined to make sure if the race happened it was without me. Funny how I ended up getting orders for Germany not long after his decision.
In retrospect, had I participated, and the Army found out, my eventual Honorable Discharge in 1975 would not have happened either!
The passing of a public figure seldom affects me in any meaningful way, but when Dan Gurney passed I wouldn’t shut up about how awesome he was. In the world of motorsports, he was certainly one of the great all-rounders. If it weren’t for a bit of independence in going his way and a lot of bad racing luck, he’d certainly have more championships behind the wheel. As it was, winning LeMans AND an F1 race in a car of your own construction within a week in 1967 is tough to top. The 1967 Eagle is probably the best looking F1 car of all time, too. He was certainly successful in anything he drove.
Replica or not, it’s great to see this on the road, and in the wide open spaces of western I-80.
A mystery of my 1960s car-adoring childhood is that I didn’t save any magazines, brochures, model kits, Visible-V8s, etc.—-but I sent away for this poster and still have it (rough condition, alas), my sole souvenir of it all:
I hope it was still pretty cool then, as I can only imagine how hot it gets in there. You’d need a water-cooled suit to go along with the ear muffs.
Laramie’s at 7000′. Average high temperature in July is 80°. It’s one of the coolest cities in Wyoming.
He did say it was en route from Pennsylvania. It can get a bit hot and humid further east, eh?
And a lot hotter the further west you head!
Not so much in mid-April. NJ to SF, I’d be much more worried about snowstorms than heat.
It was 92 degrees in Iowa last week. I-80 goes right through there. That’s why I made that comment.
Can we be all done with this now? Or do you have more bones to pick?
Geez. I was just making the comment that getting stuck in a snowstorm in that particular car, in the middle of I-80, wouldn’t be something I’d want to experience. And getting 18″ of snow on that road in WY in mid-April is not an unusual occurrence. Whoever was driving it either has big balls or watched the weather like a hawk and decided to risk it.
An old story I immediately recalled upon reading this CC story.
Looking at that picture, I recall Dan Gurney driving a Ferrari Daytona coupe in the first Cannonball Coast to Coast Run in 1971. Brock Yates was his co driver, and they won. Yates book describes how the “participants” drove through the night. maintaining high speeds through all kinds of weather.
It wasn’t cross country, but someone drove one of those across much of Michigan last year on the Old-27 Tour. Took me a bit of googling to figure out what it was.