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Shelby’s ‘Secret Weapon’ is Reborn

The original 'went like stink,' but the car was lost in an accident on the way to the race.

Update: According to a company spokesman, the car will cost approximately $499,995. 

In 1964, Carroll Shelby devised a secret weapon in an attempt to win the 1964 Le Mans race. Shelby tasked fabricator John Ohlsen with lengthening the chassis of one of the six Daytona Coupes (CSX2286) and replacing the 289 c.i.d. Ford engine with a NASCAR-inspired big block.

The few who had a chance to drive the big block Cobra car noted its tremendous torque. Bob Bondurant said the car allowed him to burn rubber and get sideways in any gear. He also said that it “went like stink” and suggested that it could have topped 200 miles per hour at Le Mans.

The car weighed about 2,200 pounds with world class aerodynamics, but unfortunately, the truck carrying Shelby's secret weapon was in an accident, and the team didn't have time to fix the damaged Shelby before the race.

Last week, Shelby American announced plans to finish Shelby's "secret weapon" program and build a limited production series of big block Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes. Six aluminum cars will be build to Shelby and Ohlsen's original specifications. The first car (CSX2603) will debut at Monterey Collector Car Week in mid-August.

According to Shelby American CEO Joe Conway, it was time for the company to take care of some of Carroll Shelby's "unfinished business."

Each car will have a chassis and hood that is 3-inches longer to be able to accept the aluminum 427 medium-riser big block motor, which will be supplied by the Shelby Engine Company.

The 550+ horsepower engine will be mated to a period-correct 4-speed manual transmission.

This is IEN Now with David Mantey.

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