Shelby American has announced plans to fulfill Carroll Shelby’s plan to build a “secret weapon” for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
According to the company, Shelby asked a fabricator to lengthen the chassis of one of his Daytona Coupes back in 1964. The additional room allowed Shelby to replace the standard 4.7-liter V8 engine with a big block unit that was inspired by NASCAR.
Shelby intended use the car to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year but fate intervened and the truck carrying the vehicle was involved in an accident. The collision also damaged the Daytona Coupe and it couldn’t be repaired in time for the race.
The vehicle was never forgotten and now Shelby American will build six continuation models to the same specifications as the original race car. All of them will have an aluminum body with a chassis and hood that have been lengthened by three inches. The company will also install an aluminum 427 big block motor sourced from the Shelby Engine Company. The engine will produce more than 550 hp (410 kW) and it will be paired to a period-correct four-speed manual transmission.
In a statement, Shelby American CEO Joe Conway said “We’re taking care of some ‘unfinished business’ for Carroll Shelby. We plan to complete this amazing program by offering six turn-key 427 powered Daytona Coupe racecars, which is the same number as the small block versions built in the 1960s.”
The first model was shown at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca earlier today.