What if you had the chance to do it over again, a second chance? Would you do it differently? Could you do it better?
We all ask ourselves that question. Under the pressures of life’s deadlines and constraints, we all take shortcuts, make compromises, and wind up with something less than we dreamed. It was certainly like that with racing in the 1960’s. Budgets were tight, sometimes non-existent. Everything had to be finished tonight to win tomorrow.
What if somebody gave you the budget and the schedule to do it right? Would you do it? For Peter Brock, the designer of the Daytona Coupe, Bob Negstad, designer of the 427 Cobra chassis and suspension, and Bob Olthoff, driver of the winningest coupe of all, the answer would be, “Yes!”
And it would be Jim Price that would give them the opportunity.
Jim intended for the Coupe to be part of the Superformance product line from the beginning. His early research told him that an exact replica was impossible. There was no definitive Daytona Coupe design. There were six Daytona Coupes, all hand made and all different. The only solution would to create the definitive Coupe from scratch, drawing on history, but in the end creating a new, modern car with spiritual ties to the past. Jim knew that there was only one person who could really say what the definitive shape was - Peter Brock, the designer of the original. In 1996, Jim contacted and met Peter Brock in California.
Pete was very impressed with the design, quality, and manufacturing of the Superformance cars. He recognized the factory’s potential as a real automobile manufacturing facility, producing real automobiles, not component collections. And he was so impressed with Jim’s vision for Superformance and his commitment to making that vision a reality that he agreed to help if Jim would allow him to select the chassis designer.
The Superformance Coupe is designed to be a sophisticated Grand Touring car capable of transporting two lucky people great distances at high speeds in comfort.
The body designed by Peter Brock, designer of the original Daytona Coupes, is a derivative design, slightly larger to improve both suspension design and interior space. The lines are more voluptuous. The windshield has a sharper rake and more curvature. These and other design changes make it a car that evokes the image of the original, but handles better, rides better, and is more aerodynamic, more spacious, and even more beautiful.
The finished design is so natural, it is difficult to image how much hard work went into creating it. But the result is pure genius. To the naked eye, the new car looks to be the same size as the original Daytona Coupe, but it is slightly larger in every dimension. The shape is so tuned to perfection that an original would look somehow off by comparison. The body is made of hand laid fiberglass cloth and polyester resin. The body, doors, and nose section are hand flatted and fitted before painting to ensure a world-class finish and a carefully controlled fit in final assembly. Carbon fiber is used in several under hood components such as the radiator duct and the heater / air conditioning box. The paint is a base coat / clear coat twin pack that is hand sprayed in climate controlled spray booths. The paint is hand buffed and polished to achieve a show quality finish.
© 2003 by Michael H. Stenhouse
This car is not the recreation of the legend. The legend was only the starting point. The Shelby Daytona Cobra is the renaissance of the legend, born with the heritage of the past but born a new modern car in its own right.
• Front engine, rear drive.