The Shelby Cobra Daytona Secret Weapon started as a request in 1964 from Carroll Shelby to renowned fabricator John Ohlsen. The idea was to lengthen the chassis of one of the six Daytona Coupes (CSX2286) so that the 289 c.i.d. Ford engine could be replaced with a NASCAR inspired big block. Shelby had envisioned taking the 1964 Le Mans with the brute. The car weighed in at about 2,200 pounds.
The light weight coupled with the improved aerodynamics as well as the power of the big block engine made the Cobra a nightmare on the track. Bob Bondurant, one of the development drivers for the car, noted that the Cobra had enough torque that he could burn rubber and get sideways in any gear. He also felt that the car could easily top out around 200 miles, and that it “went like stink.”
Unfortunately, the car was never able to race in the Le Mans. While being shipped, the truck that was carrying the CSX2286 was involved in an accident. The Cobra took enough damage that it wasn’t able to be repaired in time. Then adding even more misfortune to the story, the Cobra returned to the small block design the next year.
The Continuation Series will commemorate this racecar that never was with a series of Daytona Coupes with an aluminum body and a three inch lengthened chassis and hood. The car will have the same specs as Ohlsen’s model, and will house a 427 medium-riser big block.