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© 2020 by John Saia
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Peter Brock

My first personal interaction with Pete Brock, was sometime in 2007~2008. I was given his contact information by a colleague, so I first sent him an E-mail that described my interest in Daytona Cobra Coupes and the most common replicas on the market: Factory Five and Superformance. Pete replied to my E-mail with a suggestion that we get together on the phone. I called and we talked for nearly two hours about the ins and outs of replicas.

 

I wanted Pete to know that I would either build or buy a Daytona replica in the coming years (a retirement project). I was amazed by his willingness to listen to all my questions, the ease with which the conversation went openly over the features of both replica types. He was simply a car guy talking cars to another car guy...no axe to grind, nothing to sell, and he offered what I believed to be sage advice.

 

I've met Peter on several occasions at car shows. He always takes the time to listen to 'my story', he's genuine, entertaining, exceptionally knowledgeable, and very, very friendly. He always wants to help with my questions, and he's just great to talk to.

 

But there's more:

 

Carroll Shelby didn’t go it alone. Far from it! On the other hand, Carroll did successfully pick the best-of-the-best when he put his crew together. And Carroll knew how to choose people for the right talent, skills, fit, and passion.

A few names come immediately to mind:

  • Phil (Rem) Remington

  • Ken Miles

  • Pete Brock

 

Of course there’s many, many others who made Shelby American, well, Shelby American. Because of the iconic Daytona Cobra Coupes, however, I want to focus specifically on Pete Brock. Pete is another hero to me right alongside Carroll. And secondly, because, like Carroll, I’ve met Pete and spent quite a bit of time speaking with him, either on the phone or in person.

 

The story about Pete begins with his training in design work at the Los Angeles (Pasadena) Art Center College of Design. He was hired at nineteen by General Motors and began his career in GM’s design studios working on, of all projects, the Corvette Stingray (and that’s a story in and of itself!). He subsequently left GM for California, working for Max Balchowski at Max's Hollywood Motors shop, and where Pete was also doing a bit of SCCA racing with his own racecar, a mid-fifties Cooper. This was also about the time that Carroll Shelby hired Pete to run the Carroll Shelby School of High Performance Driving. And as a result, Pete became Carroll’s first employee on the Shelby American payroll.

 

But here’s what makes Pete’s creations and influences so special to me: Brock was instrumental in creating, defining, designing, and building both the Shelby G.T. 350 and the Daytona Cobra Coupe. Ok, I'll say it: Pete was probably more influential on the outcomes of the design of both of those '60s icons more than anyone at Shelby American. Pete was the guiding hand in how they both looked and how they both performed.

 

Here’s just few of “Pete’s special touches” added to or designed into Shelby automobiles, in no particlar order:

  • Blue Le Mans stripes on Shelby’s

  • Shelby hood scoops

  • Iconic ’66 Shelby quarter windows

  • Shelby side stripes

  • R-Model Plexiglass rear window

  • R-Model racing apron

  • Cobra & G.T. 350 logos (with Cobra snake)

  • Shelby American logos

  • Functional ’66 Shelby brake scoops

  • The iconic shape of the Daytona Cobra Coupe

  • Using a Kamm-back tail on the Coupe

  • Adding air fences to improve airflow to the rear brake scoops

  • Extracting hot radiator air above the hoodline

 

I'm certain there are many, many others, however, you get a flavor for Pete's inventiveness and creativity. It's endless!

2015 Carroll Shelby Tribute - Gardena, California
At the LASAAC Car Show on the Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
Daytona Cobra Coupe
Daytona Cobra Coupe
Daytona Cobra Coupe
Daytona Cobra Coupe
Daytona Cobra Coupe