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Paul Martin's Daytona Cobra Coupe

This is one VERY special Daytona Coupe. It's so special and so unique I can barely figure out where to begin. So I'll begin with two photos...

And now would be good time for you to grab some coffee and settle in for the rest of the photos...


About four years ago, Paul began with a vision for a Daytona Cobra Coupe that would replicate, as exactly as humanly possible, one of the original Coupes, specifically CSX2300. This third-built Coupe was the second Italian body built at Carozzeria Grandsport, in Modena, Italy. Known as the Ford of France Coupe, CSX2300's history includes five FIA races. In '64, the Tour de France which was a DNF. During the '65 season, there were four appearances at Daytona, Sebring, Nürburgring, and Reims. It's also interesting to note that CSX2300 wore Ford of France's racing livery (white with blue stripes) for that Nürburgring race and was campaigned by Alan Mann Racing. That was one of only two occasions that any Daytona raced in something other than Viking Blue or Guardsman Blue (the other exception was the Filipinetti Coupe, CSX2602, which ran one race, Le Mans, in Swiss colors, red & white.

CSX2300 at the 'Ring

Drivers of CSX2300 included Bob Bondurant, Jochen Neerspash, Allen Grant (2), Ed Leslie (2), Jo Schlesser, André Simon, Jack Sears, and John Whitmore.

Perhaps some of this history explains why Paul would choose CSX2300 as the Coupe he would fully and faithfully replicate. Perhaps replicate isn't entirely accurate...duplicate is probably a better verb to describe his project...only better!

Beginning The Build

Paul's Coupe was built from the ground up, starting with 3" round tubes and a lot of welding.

In the meantime, the all-aluminum body was being hand-built in Poland by aluminum craftsman who were weaned on aircraft aluminum panels.

The Builder & Craftsman

And there's a third party in this mix who should not go unmentioned, a certain ex-pat New Zealander engineer and craftsman, who relocated himself to the deep woods of Holderness, New Hampshire where he met his wife Bonni. That would be one Nick Acton of Acton Custom Enterprises ( Nick did the build from the beginning with those tubes and Polish aluminum body. Paul did the scrounging for original components, like, for example, radium-tipped switches (used in aircraft) for the Daytona's switch panel...just like those installed on CSX2299 in 1963~1964 while preparing for the '64 FIA race season! The tips of these switches glow in the dark!

There may be another blog devoted to the build...stay tuned for that. So, meanwhile....

The Finished Daytona Cobra Coupe

The Daytona Cobra Coupe Office

Pete Brock signature. This instrument panel was signed by Pete while resting on top of a trash can (I think in Monterrey), well before it was installed in the Daytona!

Office Tools.

...and THE MOST MAGNIFICENT switches and hand-lettered labels (this ain't no Dymo work!).

Tools for the feet.

But wait!...there's more!

Hand-made Cobra valve cover and an overflow tank (the tank from a Briggs & Stratton lawnmower fuel tank; the Original Venice Crew improvised this tank in 1963). Also note the three reservoirs, also hand made by Nick Acton.

Ahhhhh, and the magnificent Weber 48IDA carburetors sitting on top of the Most Expensive Tray and Airbox ever built for a Daytona Cobra Coupe.

These are true sand-cast Italian Webers...

And the details just keep on coming...

Front suspension and transverse leaf spring.

Fresh-air ducting for the disc brake rotor (large tubing) and brake pads (smaller tubing).

Adjustable Koni shock detail.

Hand-made leather spare tire tie-down strapping.

Air dam...

Cobra valve cover.

Valve cover detail.

Headers. Note the safety-wired header bolts.

Now THAT'S an exhaust hanger!

Water & oil radiators.

Oil radiator.

Battery main switch.

Battery box.

Engine room and steering column

An extremely smooth underbelly. That's the inlet for the differential cooler poking from the belly..

Looking forward from the tail end (the nose is open up front).

Drawing a crowd. Ted Sutton (center).

Jim Marietta (L) & Ted Sutton (R)...members of the Original Venice Crew. These are two of the Shelby American team members that built the originals. It's always great to see and speak with these pioneers!

Strapped in and ready to rumble (that reflection in the hatch glass is the overhead garage door).

THAT iconic Daytona Kamm-back tail.

Paul Martin's Daytona Cobra Coupe (L).

What a spectacular day!


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