by Rinsey Mills
2020 review by Peter McFadyen
I well remember the first time I saw a Cobra Daytona Coupe racing, two of them in fact, in the 1965 RAC Tourist Trophy race at Oulton Park. I especially remember the blue and white one driven by Jack Sears which, after being badly delayed at the start of the first half of this two-part race, stormed to the GT category win in the second. And that was in a field which included John Surtees, Jim Clark, Bruce McLaren and others in big-engined sports racers of the day although, after a canny drive, it was Denny Hulme who ran out the overall winner in Sid Taylor’s 2-litre Brabham-Climax.
Compared with Le Mans, Daytona, Spa and Nürburgring and other rounds of that year’s International GT championship, the Oulton Park race was a relatively minor affair but it illustrates the thoroughness with which this book covers its subject that it has a chapter devoted to it and even though the book’s main subject, chassis CSX2300, was not in the race. In keeping with other books in the Great Cars series, of which this is number 14, it starts with a vivid picture of an exciting period in sports and GT racing, when Carroll Shelby developed the AC Cobra to take on Ferrari and win the large capacity class of the GT championship, before going on to detail the part played by CSX2300 in five of the races.
The author, Rinsey Mills, draws on a long association with AC cars having written three previous books on the Cobra as well as being Carroll Shelby’s authorised biographer. This shows in the amount of detail he brings to the story and is well complemented by a truly excellent selection of photographs from such notable sources as the Bernard Cahier Archive, the Revs Institute and the Henry Ford/Dave Friedman Collection. Moreover, it is written in a style which makes it a pleasure to read. As well as CSX2300 itself, its drivers are profiled. As they included Jack Sears, John Whitmore, Bob Bondurant, Jochen Neerpasch, Jo Schlesser and André Simon this also makes for very interesting reading.
Finally, the car’s later life story is told, followed by its current semi-retirement in the ownership of Daniela and Olivier Ellerbrock during which it has appeared at Goodwood – where it won the TT Celebration race at the 2011 Revival – and occasionally elsewhere.
Overall, the autobiography of CSX2300, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, is a very worthy addition to the Great Cars series and, for such a fine book, excellent value.
Publisher: Porter Press International. www.porterpress.co.uk (Number 14 in the Great Cars series)
Description: Hardback (292 x 243 mm, 11¼ x 9 in), 334 pages, copiously illustrated in black and white and colour throughout.