Wading Through the 1965 Sebring

Daytona Cobra in the pits at the 1965 Sebring

In the hours leading up to the start of the 1965 running of the Sebring 12 hours race, it seemed like a perfect day for racing. A bit hot maybe at 94° but that wasn’t unusual for a Florida afternoon—even in March. There were rumors of hard weather on the way, but radio jamming between the US and Cuba meant that there was no solid local weather report available trackside.

After 6 hours of racing the sky began to threaten rain. An hour later, at 5:25 pm the sky opened up. By the time the race was over, prototype drivers were saying that their cars were filling up to their elbows with rainwater. It sounds like hyperbole until you see the photos. Rain delay? What’s a rain delay?

Cobra and 904 throwing rooster tails at the 1965 Sebring

There’s endurance racing, and then there’s endurance racing.

MGB throws a bow wake at the 1965 Sebring

More on the race and the spectacular conditions it was run in at Sportscars.tv. Some photos from BARC Boys, Via Retro and The Inside Line.

On Offer at Mecum: 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe

Daytona CoupeA 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe serial number CSX2601 finally gives Mecum Auctions a car worthy of the hilarious over-enthusiasm of their Ring Men. Seriously. Watch a single episode of Mecum Auto Auctions: Muscle and More. As far as I can tell, it’s a show about guys with over-gelled hair jumping up and down; with an occasional shot of a muscle car.

The car is a true treasure, especially for American enthusiasts. Bob Bondurant piloted CSX2601 to class victory at Rheims 12 Hours on July 4, 1965—fitting, eh? That class win clinched the Worlds Sportscar Championship for GT+2. The interwebs are all abuzz about the possibility that CSX2601 may bring in the highest ever price for a car at auction, with estimates in 8 figures. Of course, other web sources are speculating that Ferrari Testa Rossa chassis no. 0714TR, also being auctioned this May will be the top draw. I’ll leave that speculation to them.

The Shelby has the more important race history, clinching the World Sportscar title isn’t something to take lightly. The car was driven to 5 class wins and a 3rd overall finish at the 1965 Coppa Citta di Enna behind a pair of Ferrari 250 LMs. She was entered in 8 races, all of them World Championship events, finishing 6, taking class victory in 5. That’s a very good history in anyone’s book.

In contrast, the Ferrari was entered in 34 races, taking class victories in 4, with a highest result of 4th in her debut: the 1958 Argentina 1000km.

Only time will tell which of these remarkable cars will take the top money. I must admit that I have less interest than many online speculators on the actual dollar value these very different, but significant cars bring in.

Either way, I lose. I take consolation, however, that even without the 8 figure investment, I can still get my own. Sorta.

Rumor has it that CSX2601 failed to sell on Friday night, with bidding stalling out around $6.8Million; well below reserve. Mecum folks have said that they had several bidders with $10Million lines of credit that failed to bid at all. What kind of world do we live in when a handful of Ferraris can bring in much more money that this tremendous Daytona Coupe?