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The Shelby Daytona coupe is legendary. Only six were produced, but with this car Shelby became the first American manufacturer to win an international GT championship (1965). Such a car is definitely worthy of a tribute, and this one performs that task admirably. Not only is it a quality build using new parts like a Coyote 5.0L engine, Tremec TKO-600 transmission, and Ford IRS, but it also delivers all the sound and fury you would expect from a Daytona. And with only 200 miles on the odometer it is like buying a brand new car.
This replica is based on a Factory Five Gen 3 platform. It was completed in 2019 after a two year build and was titled as a 1965 Cobra Daytona. The frame and its integral roll cage all show nicely with a clean white finish, making this car as pretty underneath as it is above. The fiberglass bodywork is finished in brilliant red with white racing stripes. There is a roundel on the nose and a plate bracket on the Kammback tail. Additional exterior features include a rear lip spoiler, Le Mans fuel cap, BRE side mirrors, and dual side exhaust with carbon fiber heat shields. The car rides on Halibrand style alloy wheels with Nitto tires.
The car has a fantastic power-to-weight ratio thanks to a Ford Coyote 5.0L crate engine rated at 435 hp. This is a modern, fuel-injected, electronically controlled engine that weighs less and makes more power than Shelby’s old 289. It makes a wicked sound through the side exhaust, while the big aluminum radiator with electric fan keeps everything cool. The transmission is a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed with a Ram hydraulic clutch. Out back is the latest Mustang IRS that looks as good as it performs. The car also has adjustable coilovers, four-wheel disc brakes, and power assisted rack and pinion steering.
The interior features a pair of fixed-back bucket seats finished in black leather along with red stitching and 4-point harnesses. Note the driver’s seat is adjustable to/fro (many such cars have a fixed seat position). There is also a matching center console with a fire extinguisher just aft. The car also has Daytona sill panels and each door has a roomy storage pocket. The wooden steering wheel is detachable for easier ingress/egress. AutoMeter instrumentation and an array of toggle switches complete the dashboard. Note the car also has a working horn, turn signals, parking brake, and wipers (the arms are removed for the pictures).
This Daytona also comes with the complete 500+ page manual for the Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe along with additional diagrams, instructions, and component sheets. Further, with a supplier as accessible and stable as Factory Five, there is no mystery as to parts or support in the future. This is an important consideration with any replica as so many manufacturers seem to disappear overnight.
Shelby Cobra replicas have been popular for years and are not that uncommon. However, the more recent Daytona models are much harder to find. And while an original may be worth $20-30 million, this one can deliver all the same excitement with even better performance for less than 1% of that price. All in a turn-key, street legal thrill ride that you probably won’t see at your next car show.
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