The Ken Miles (L), Allen Grant (C) and Dan Gurney (R) Sebring Edition Cobras. Photos courtesy Superformance.
From a results perspective, the 1963 12 Hours of Sebring was a disappointing outing for Shelby American and its (relatively) new Cobras. Of three team cars entered, two retired early with mechanical ills while the third Cobra, driven by Dan Gurney and Phil Hill, crossed the finish line in 29th place, 22nd in its class. Still, the Shelby team cars were significant in racing history for other reasons, so much so that Superformance and Shelby American have partnered to produce a run of 15 “Sebring Edition Cobras,” available in four distinct driver liveries.
The Dan Gurney Cobra, as it appeared at Sebring in 1963.
Gurney and Hill’s Cobra, original chassis CSX2128, was finished in black with yellow hood stripes, and it carried the 15 in a white meatball. For quicker identification, Gurney reportedly sprayed yellow stripes on the right fender with a rattle can before the race. Sebring was the competition debut of this particular chassis, and while its Florida performance was less than desired, this Cobra would go on to deliver a string of wins and podium finishes in 1963 for Shelby American in the hands of Dave MacDonald.
The Dave MacDonald Cobra, as raced later in the 1963 season.
The second livery to be offered replicates this same car later in the 1963 season, as driven by MacDonald to an SCCA A Production win at a California divisional race in May of 1963. It carries a polished roll bar, and wears the number 198 (the same as used on CSX2026 in February of 1963, when MacDonald delivered the first win for a Cobra in competition) in a white meatball.
The Ken Miles Cobra, as raced at Sebring in 1963.
As raced at Sebring that year, the Cobra driven by Ken Miles and Peter Brock was finished in red with a black rollbar, displaying a white meatball bearing the number 16. The original chassis, CSX2002, was the very first Cobra to run in competition, having made its racing debut at Riverside, California in October of 1962. Hub failure led to the early retirement of driver Bill Krause, but as a rolling testbed for Shelby American, the car contributed significantly to the development of the racing Cobras.
After its time as a Shelby Team car, the chassis raced by Gurney and MacDonald was driven by Allen Grant in late 1963.
The fourth choice of livery again revisits original chassis CSX2128, but after its August 1963 sale by Shelby American to Coventry Motors in Walnut Creek, California. Under Coventry’s ownership, the car was resprayed in the opposite paint scheme of yellow with black stripes, a motif designed by George Lucas, who would later go on to some notoriety as a film director. Lucas’s friend Allen Grant (Shelby American’s production manager) handled driving duties, posting a string of victories and podiums during the reminder of the 1963 season.
Of the 15 cars to be built by Superformance and Shelby American, 13 will be assembled with a fiberglass body while two will carry an aluminum body. All will be issued a CSX chassis number denoting them as continuation Cobras, and buyers will receive a Baume & Mercier watch with the corresponding chassis number.
The MacDonald and Grant cars.
Unlike other Cobra models sold by Superformance and Shelby American, these Sebring Edition Cobras are designed for racetrack use only. Each comes equipped with a third hood latch, front and rear brake ducts or scoops, rear fender flares, an FIA-style fuel filler cap, period-correct Cobra badging, a 14-gallon fuel tank, an aluminum radiator, a shrouded oil cooler, Shelby disc brakes, a Salisbury limited-slip differential with a 3.54:1 gear ratio; and period-correct “kidney bean” pin drive 15-inch wheels. A Tremec five-speed manual is the sole transmission option, and though Superformance and Shelby American recommend the period-correct carbureted 289 V-8 (good for 435 horsepower), a range of engine options are available.
Less cost-prohibitive than an original Sebring Cobra, the tribute cars certainly aren’t inexpensive. Ready-to-run fiberglass-bodied examples equipped with the 289 V-8 start at $196,520 for the red Ken Miles car and climb to $197,020 for the Dan Gurney car, $197,270 for the Allen Grant car, and $197,520 for the Dave MacDonald car. Aluminum body prices have yet to be set, but expect a significant upcharge for this option.