1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe Returns for Historic Laps at Sebring

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The 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe takes a historic lap around Sebring International Raceway on March 21, 2009. Photo Credit: Peter Brock
Marengo, IL – More than four decades after competing at Sebring International Raceway, the 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601, “The Championship Coupe,” ran several historic laps prior to the start of the 57th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race on March 21, 2009.

The Daytona Cobra Coupe – to be sold at Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic Auction in May – led a group of vintage race cars from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) around the track during pre-race ceremonial laps. The Daytona Cobra Coupe first raced at Sebring International Raceway in 1965, taking 2nd place in the GT class and finishing 7th overall. Five races later, the car made history when driver Bob Bondurant clinched the 1965 World Manufacturers Championship for the United States and Shelby American on July 4 in Reims, France.

As one of only six cars built by Carroll Shelby, the Daytona Cobra Coupe was developed 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. Brock was present with his creation at the 2009 Sebring event, signing autographs.

Mecum Auction anticipates the Daytona Cobra Coupe will garner the highest bid ever paid at public auction for an American automobile, reaching well into the eight-figure mark when it crosses the auction block. The company is currently creating a documentary about the car’s special place in American racing history.

Throughout its media tour, the Daytona Cobra Coupe is being insured and transported by industry leaders Hagerty Insurance and Reliable Carriers, Inc. The next appearance of the championship race car is at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI, during the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Collection Rally, April 28-30, 2009.

The Daytona Cobra Coupe CSX2601 headlines the Original Spring Classic Auction, which is expected to feature 1,250 vehicles, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The auction is open to the general public and tickets are available at the door for $10. The 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 HD Theater – Discovery Communications’ first 24-hour high-definition cable network, offering compelling real-world and motorized content.