Shelby Cobra Daytona chassis CSX 2300
Of the six Shelby Cobra Daytonas built chassis CSX2300 was one of five to receive coachwork by Carrozzeria Gransport of Modena. It debuted on the Tour de France which was the last round of the 1964 World Championship for Group 3 Grand Touring cars.
Held between September 11th and 20th, the Tour was a mix of circuit races and hillclimbs connected by 6000km of regularity sections on public roads. Three Cobra Daytonas were entered and the result would decide the destiny of the 1964 championship; it would either fall to Shelby or Ferrari.
CSX2300 was shared by Bob Bondurant and Jochen Neerpasch. Neerpasch won the opening race at Reims and Bondurant then took victory in the Bramont Hillclimb. The pair hit trouble on day two when an accelerator cable broke in the one hour race at Rouen. They then had to abandon on day three when a gearbox mount failed while heading to Le Mans.
The championship went to Ferrari with 84.6 points compared to Shelby’s 78.3.
1965 kicked off with Shelby determined to secure the world title. Four Cobra Daytonas were entered for the season-opener; a 2000km race at Daytona. Driven by Ed Leslie and Allen Grant, CSX2300 was the fastest of the four cars in qualifying and started fifth. It ran for three quarters of the race with a slipping clutch but nevertheless made it home sixth overall and third in class.
Leslie and Grant also shared CSX2300 at Sebring where they were second fastest Cobra Daytona in qualifying and started 14th. Misfortune struck when Leslie was hit by a Volvo during the opening lap; he had been trying to avoid a stalled car on the grid. Despite a bit of damage CSX2300 was able to continue and eventually placed 13th overall (third in class).
For the Nurburgring 1000km race on May 23rd CSX2300 was repainted white with blue and red stripes to reflect its status as a Ford France entry. Jo Schlesser and Andre Simon qualified as second best Cobra Daytona in 18th and drove the big white machine to a steady 12th overall (third in class).
The car’s final outing came at the Reims 12 Hour race by which time it had been returned to Shelby’s familiar livery of Guardsman Blue with two white stripes. Alan Mann Racing handled the Cobra Daytonas at Reims as had been the case at most European races in 1965. Jack Sears and John Whitmore started ninth but by the seventh hour the car was in pits with a thrown rod. The piston was removed from the offending cylinder and CSX2300 restarted the race to bang on for another five hours. Running on seven it miraculously finished ninth overall (second in class).
Shelby took the 1965 title with 90 points compared to Ferrari’s 71.3.
As the 1966 World Championship would be decided by Group 4 Sports cars and Group 6 Prototypes the Cobra Daytonas became obsolete. CSX2300 was sold to Japan but Carroll Shelby later bought it back for his personal collection.
Guardsman Blue Metallic with White stripes
20/09/1964 WSC Tour de France (B. Bondurant / J. Neerpasch) DNF (#187)
28/02/1965 WSC Daytona 2000km (E. Leslie / A. Grant) 6th oa, 3rd GT3.0+ class (#11)
27/03/1965 WSC Sebring 12 Hours (E. Leslie / A. Grant) 13th oa, 3rd GT5.0 class (#12)
Repainted White with Blue and Red stripes (Ford France entry)
23/05/1965 WSC Nurburgring 1000km (J. Schlesser / A. Simon) 12th oa, 3rd GT3.0+ class (#56)
Repainted Guardsman Blue Metallic with White stripes
04/07/1965 WSC Reims 12 Hours (J. Sears / J. Whitmore) 9th oa, 2nd GT3.0+ class (#27)
Sold to Japan
Text copyright: Supercar Nostalgia
Photo copyright: Ford - https://www.ford.com