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Fall 2015 80

When Peter Brock designed the

Daytona Coupe he was only twenty-

eight years old. As soon as Ken Miles

tested the car at Riverside it was imme-

diately evident his design was success-

ful – even to Shelby American’s

fabricators and mechanics who had been

skeptical as that first car was going to-

gether. Behind his back, the car was

called “Brock’s Folly.”

The car’s first race at Daytona

turned those frowns upside down. The

Coupe, along with a few Cobra road-

sters, were campaigned at FIA en-

durance races in Europe and came

within a whisker of beating Ferrari. In

fact, Cobra would have, had not Old Man

Ferrari’s sleight of hand with the Auto

Club d’Italia. They allowed his 250 LM

prototypes to run in the GT class at

Monza. The cars had been banned by the

FIA because not enough examples had

been built. As a result, the FIA revoked

their sanction of FIA points from the

event, essentially eliminating any

chance that the Daytona (or anyone else)

could win any points. Ferrari won in

1964 by default. The following year,

1965, the Cobra Team was back and on

July 4th they won the World Manufac-

turers Championship’ GT Class.

Brock immediately started design-

ing a slick Coupe body for the new 427

Cobra. Politics entered the picture and

the project was stillborn. He left Shelby

American shortly thereafter and struck

out on his own. If he had the feeling that

he had peaked too soon, that was under-

standable. He went on to campaign a

team of Datsuns in the Trans-Am Under

2-Liter series, winning so convincingly

that within two years the major competi-

tors BMW and Alfa Romeo dropped out

entirely. Interest in the series subse-

quently waned and the SCCA cancelled it.

As satisfying as that was, it didn’t come

close to the Daytona Coupe and the World

manufacturers Championship.

After that, Brock went on to complete

a number of projects in diverse areas. He

built hang gliders that won the world cross

country hang glider championships six out

of seven years. The U.S. Hang Glider Asso-

ciation banned his last design, a foot-

launched, three-axis controlled, pilot-

enclosed sailplane because it was too fast

and virtually eliminated any chance of the

competition winning. They flew at alti-

tudes of 15,000 feet and covered 300 miles.

Brock was also responsible for the design

of the Shelby Can-Am spec racer in the

late 1980s. He consulted in the restoration

of a number of cars he was associated with

as their value increased and their histori-

cal importance was recognized. He con-

sulted with Superformance in South Africa

in redesigning the Daytona Coupes they

were constructing. Most recently he was

involved in the reimagination of the 1965

GT350 R-Model prototype. And he is cur-

rently responsible for the design and man-

ufacture of the Aerovault trailer – an

aerodynamic enclosed single-car trans-

porter. All this since leaving Shelby Amer-

ican in 1966.

Along the way he wrote the definitive

book on the history of the Daytona Coupes

which was highly acclaimed and is now out

of print. When copies currently change

hands they do so for upwards of $1,000.

Brock has continued to maintain an

intense interest in the Coupes, and fol-

lows the history and chain of ownership

of each one. He has always found time to

answer owner’s questions and is one of

the most accessible people ever con-

nected to the Cobras. He attends numer-

ous automotive gatherings each year,

often serving as a guest speaker, and en-

joys talking with everyone he meets, tak-

ing time to answer questions or discuss

the finer points of his experiences over

the years. He is as close as it gets to

bring a genuine automotive Renaissance


Being reunited with all six Daytona

Coupes at Goodwood had to be one of the

crowning experiences of his life, espe-

cially coming some fifty years after he

might have thought his Daytona Coupe

association had peaked in 1965. After all,

how much better could it get than de-

signing the only American GT sports car

ever to win the World Manufacturers


After that happened, Peter Brock

did not retire to lay back on the beach,

sipping from a drink with a small um-

brella in it. He continued to find chal-

lenges to triumph over. You might half

expect to see a Peter Brock high energy

drink because we don’t know how else he

is able to keep so busy.

Peter Brock is approaching 80 years

old, although he neither looks it or acts

like it. The 2015 Goodwood Revival was

intended to be a tribute to the Daytona

Coupe but it was actually a tribute to

Peter Brock.