Just 1,400 votes out of a staggering 5,739 separated SCM’s first annual National Collector Car Champion (NCCC), the 1965 Shelby Cobra 427, from the runner up, the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL. A field of sixteen cars was whittled to two over the past two weeks, and voting for the final matchup was settled Monday at 8:30pm as the final buzzer sounded and UConn took home the NCAA Championship trophy.
The Gullwing took a commanding lead at tipoff Sunday morning, but the Cobra rallied suddenly on Monday afternoon, following a tweet from Carrol Shelby himself and a call to arms on ShelbyNation.com. Mercedes lovers responded by galvanizing their user groups, and the vote see-sawed back and forth all night, before ending with the Cobra as the winner.
While there is no material prize for the Gullwing or its fans, bragging rights are priceless. We asked readers for their comments as they voted, and tongue-in-cheek, the losers attempted to discredit the tournament’s legitimacy with semantic questions and personal attacks – just like any other election!
What You Said
“Not sure this is a realistic comparison,” commented one SCMer, before dutifully casting his vote in favor of the 1955 Austin-Healey 100S over the 1929 Bentley Speed Six.
“Terrible seeding,” wrote another, on the matchup of the 1960 Maserati Birdcage and 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750. (He picked the Birdcage.)
A cheerier take on the voting overall came from a Facebook friend who likened choosing American muscle or European sophistication to “deciding between fresh Maine lobster and a thick Texas steak.”
Wrote another conflicted SCMer, on being forced to choose between the Birdcage and the 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4, ” I’m going for the Birdcage Maserati – but I’m not sure I can justify it.”
The Daytona / Birdcage Horserace
We won’t speculate on “justification,” but over 1,000 SCMers had an opinion and made sure their voice was heard. As the votes and comments flooded in, the Daytona and Birdcage continually jockied for the lead, and neither car was ever ahead by more than 2%. When voting was cut off at 2pm on Thursday, a mere seven votes would establish the Daytona as the winner to represent all of Italy, out of 1,449 votes, 728 to 721.
Other close matches this tournament included the 1929 Bentley Speed Six’s win over the 1955 Austin-Healey 100S by a margin of 79, 605 to 526; the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 over the 1967 Jaguar XKE, 614 to 517; and the Daytona over the 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV, 591 to 540.
While competition amongst the Italians and amongst the British was hot, the Shelby dominated its domestic rivals at every stage. The ultimate American racer smashed the only true American sports car, the 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435, 909 to 202, and went on to blow the doors off the ultimate muscle car, the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda, 1,282 votes to 167.
The Shelby’s first-round win over the 1967 Corvette 427/435 prompted SCM Managing Editor and token drag racer Jim Pickering to suggest an L88 convertible as a more competitive match.
Similarly, the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL faced no significant competition from Deutschland. It beat out two Porsches handily, garnering 799 votes over the 1958 Porsche 356A Carrera Speedster’s 332, and 958 over the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS’s 491. The 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile” was cut in the first round, earning just 254 votes against the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS.
As a tribute to the Cobra as the NCCC car of choice, here are the five all-time most expensive sales from the SCM Platinum database.
Just 51 weeks till the next tournament… Unless we can think of an excuse to do it again sooner!