Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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LaLD Engine Week: American Might

Today I have the Cobra Daytona. America’s answer to take down Ferrari’s mighty 250 GTO.

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In the early ‘60s, the Ferrari 250 GTO and its brethren were dominating racing. Ford had their Cobras that did fairly well on the shorter American tracks that needed grunt to get out of the corners, but they fell short on top speed. Some tracks in Europe had straights longer than most American tracks, such as (at that time) the Mulsanne Straight at LeMans.

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As such, Carroll Shelby got one of his main guys, Peter Brock, onto reshaping the body. Out of sheer intuition, Brock redesigned the body and it went out for testing in California. He was criticized for the rear of the car especially, but was confident it would work. It did.

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With the AC Cobra only hitting ~145mph, the Daytona with the new body was now able to hit close to 190; right in line with the Ferrari 250 GTOs. In 1964, the 6 new Daytona Cobras hit the race circuits to take down Ferrari. It unfortunately didn’t work out. They were close, but still couldn’t beat Ferrari for the manufacturer’s championship or at LeMans.

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Finally in 1965, The Daytonas proved themselves and started winning. It was a close season, but the Daytonas won the manufacturer’s championship. It was bittersweet, however, as Ferrari still won LeMans that year.

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The next year, the program fell apart. Right as Brock was developing a 427 Super Coupe to be raced. Granted, if we wouldn’t have had that happen, we may not have had the GT40, and we all know how that turned out in 1966, 67, and 68.

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So this Hot Wheels 100% Cobra Daytona is sporting it’s Ford 289 that has a very storied history with the company. It’s possibly one of the most famous small-block V8s.

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I hope everyone enjoyed the cobra daytona here. It truly is an amazing car and has an interesting story. For a wonderful recount of the program from the guys themselves, this Road and Track article is quite amazing:

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Cheers!

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