Shelby McLaren Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 1964

Kristelle Schmidt, Le Mans 1964, Peter Brock, Shelby Cobra Daytona -

Shelby McLaren Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 1964

Shelby McLaren has been reflecting on life more than usual this week, or more significantly … the loss of life. He was mostly reminiscing about 1964, not least because of that moment in Stuttgart in the July of that year where he plucked up the courage to ask that tall blonde girl standing beside him in the cafe what her name was. Remembering that nervous 18 year old hearing a perfectly-clipped German accent utter the words, ‘Kristelle Schmidt’, still makes Shelby’s palms a little sweaty. 

It proved to be a significant year in Shelbys’ life not least because he and his father had been in Europe since the start of June to attend the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans and it was this trip that ignited Shelby’s love for that race (amongst other things). Shelby’s father was a friend of Bruce McLaren, as Shelby would also become, so they had met with the Bruce and the Ford Team to see how the GT40 MkI would fair, unfortunately the car had to retire. 

The stand-out car at that race though was the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. Bruce McLaren had been talking a lot about a new car designer who had come across from GM to Ford and was a prodigious talent, his name was Peter Brock. He was the youngest designer ever hired by General Motors and had been instrumental in designing the Corvette Stingray. The vision and talent of Brock paired perfectly with the drive and passion of Carol Shelby and the car they produced to race at Le Mans  in ’64 was like nothing ever before, that Daytona Coupe would be instrumental in legitimising the US as a serious player in international motorsport.

In the following decades Shelby would continue to see the talents of Peter Brock not only displayed in the cars he designed but as a fantastic race car driver in GT cars, NASCAR and the Trans-Am series cars. Shelby only met him once, at the unveiling of the ground-breaking Triumph TR250K at Sebring in 1968, a car before its time.

As Shelby had thought recently about another Peter Brock and the first of his nine historic wins at Bathurst in 1972 it seemed fitting to reflect on one of the stranger links in the story of the Daytona Coupe. The Australian Touring Car Driver, Peter Brock was an unprecedented talent and over the course of his career had become a national icon. Brock drove in various forms of motorsport and later in his career he drove a ‘Daytona Coupe’ an Australian built reproduction of the Shelby Daytona coupé from 1964. It would ultimately be the car that Peter Bock would die in at the Targa West rally in the hills above Perth, Western Australia. A tragic and painful loss and an uncanny connection between the two Peters’ Brock.

This car is made by Revell Monogram and is catalogue number 85-4850. This manufacturer is well known for their attention to detail and for producing slot cars that capture a moment in time. Revell cars have not found themselves a staple of the serious Club Racer but they are popular on home tracks and very popular with slot car collectors. They can be fun to drive and the authenticity of them looks great on track.

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