Shelby Daytona Coupe is first to gain historic status

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Simeone Museum's Daytona Coupe | Simeone Museum photo
The first 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe is driven during a special event at the Simeone museum in Philadelphia. (Photo: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum)
The first 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe is driven during a special event at the Simeone museum in Philadelphia. (Photo: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum)

 

Score another win for the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, which has become the first historically significant automobile recorded under the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Heritage Documentation. Like a historic building, the Cobra Daytona and its records are to be preserved in perpetuity.

The first of six Cobra Daytonas built 50 years ago, CSX2287 will have its complete documentation permanently archived in the Library of Congress as part of the Historic Vehicle Association’s National Historic Vehicle Register and Historic American Engineering Record. The HVA and Department of the Interior collaborated in the effort to document the Cobra Daytona, the first in a number of historical vehicles that will be so recognized.

Designed by Peter Brock as an aerodynamic solution to raising the top speed of Carroll Shelby’s Cobra racecars in GT competition, the Cobra Daytona successfully beat Ferrari to win the International Manufacturer’s GT Championship in 1965, making Ford the first American manufacturer to win an international race series.

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Having my Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe design recognized as the very first car to be included in the permanent archives of the Library of Congress is a great honor and the thrill of a lifetime.”

– Peter Brock[/pullquote]”Having my Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe design recognized as the very first car to be included in the permanent archives of the Library of Congress is a great honor and the thrill of a lifetime,” Brock said in an HVA press release.

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According to the HVA, the Daytona was picked for historic recognition because of “its association with important persons and events; its construction and aerodynamic design; and informational value as one of the few racecars from the period that has not been completely restored.”

The Daytona, part of the permanent collection of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, is currently being displayed by the HVA at the Washington Auto Show through February 2.

“It has been nearly 120 years since the first automobiles were produced in the U.S.,” said Mark Gessler, president of the Historic Vehicle Association, in the release. “During that time, we have implemented national programs to recognize our historic buildings, airplanes, spacecraft and vessels but not our historic automobiles.

“Through our work, we hope to celebrate the contribution of the industry’s pioneers, the vehicles they produced and the preservation efforts necessary to ensure future generations appreciate the unique roll of the automobile in shaping America.”

HVA and the Department of the Interior are working to document more historic vehicles as well as refining guidelines and procedures for public input. For more information, see www.historicvehicle.org.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.