Monterey Historic Automobile Races 2003

The Peter Brock/Superformance Coupe

was one of the major attractions (and one of the biggest crowd pleasers) of the entire 2003 Historic Races annual Monterey Bay bash; I had great difficulty coaxing away the milling crowd long enough to capture this shot.

The Coupe (and, of course, Peter Brock) were even invited for display at MHR’s immensely popular and exclusive “Concorso Italiano” 3-day event, now at The Black Horse Golf Course in nearby Seaside… where most of the Italian-flavored badges read “Lamborghini” and “Ferrari” and “Maserati” and “Alfa Romeo” and “Iso Grifo.”

Altho’ you might conclude that Concorso Italiano isn’t just for Italian metal anymore, you gotta recall that five of the original six of those fabulous Shelby Daytona Coupes were actually constructed in Modena, Italy! They raced in Italy, they trounced various Ferraris and Maseratis all over Europe and they accumulated points towards both the 1964 and 1965 World Manufacturers Championship while they were competing in Italy. They even look Italian, for chris’sakes. Well, perhaps; Brock explained that the Coupe’s lines were really an exotic amalgam of late ’30s German aero-technology, Modena-ese craftsmanship and a lot of good ol’ California ‘hot rod’ influence. “Cruisin’ in the Coupe,” says Pete, “feels a lot like a riding in a chopped-and-channeled three-window ‘deuce coupe’!. It has that nice, intimate feeling and that unique resonant sound rumbling up from the firewall, that you get only with an American V8.”

Photo above is HOTLINKED to a separate Monterey Historics/Superformance page; you see, Superformance, with its Coupe and 427 roadsters and host Peter Brock. was a world-class attraction at Laguna. Only a dedicated web page of photos would do Peter-and-the-Gang justice! So click on the photo, sit back and marvel over Superformance’s new coupe and its presence at MHR 2003!

Peter & Gayle Brock at Monterey Historic Races, Laguna Seca, California, 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

Team Brock

Shelby Daytona Coupe designer and Sports Car International’s roving über journalist Peter Brock—alongside his charming bride Gayle—in the paddock area.

FYI: Gayle Brock isn’t only a longtime motorsports aficionado (as well as an executive at MicroSoft) … she owns and drives her own Beck 550 Spyder! (coverage of The Beck Spyder and Chuck Beck Motorsports’ popular booth at this year’s MHR, further down in this photo-feature!


USRRC 427 Cobra #52 at ‘Salute to Shelby’ Laguna Seca 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

above: Gordon Gimbel’s 1964 USRRC 289 Cobra, CSX2514. One of only 16 factory-built USRRC Cobras. It was raced four times… and won four times! Outfitted with 289 V8 and four Weber carburetors, it’s been taking part in vintage racing ever since 1975.

Monterey Historic Races, Laguna Seca, California, photo of white Shelby Daytona Coupe #98. Photo by Curt Scott

Daytona Coupe

chassis #2300
1964 and ’65

above: Shelby Daytona Coupe chassis #2300, owned/raced by Larry Bowman/Bowman Motors (Redwood City, California). This car is the same Daytona Coupe replicated by Exoto (hotlinked photo above), when it was cloaked as (British team) Alan Mann Racing’s “#56 Ford of France Coupe,” that livery replicating its 1965 bid at Nürburgring driven by Jo Schlesser and André Simon. Nürburgring was its first race as an Alan Mann team car, where it took 3rd place in GT III. It was restored by Mike McCluskey in 1983, and until 1999 was owned by Carroll Shelby. During that period it was painted dark blue and emblazoned with #98 meatballs.

The Cobra coupes were conceived in 1963 as an answer to the Ferrari 250 GTO. Carroll Shelby’s Cobra roadsters surprised the racing world with how close they had run with the GTOs during 1963. Shelby asked Peter Brock to design a more aerodynamic coupe body for the roadster chassis. Brock’s subsequent design, later dubbed “The Daytona Coupe,” increased top speed by 25 mph (40 Kmph), and fuel economy by 33%. 1965 was a milestone year for Carroll Shelby: his cars defeated Scuderia Ferrari to seize the World Manufacturers Championship.

CSX2300’s most memorable race was no doubt the 1964 Tour de France, driven by Bob Bondurant and Jochen Neerpasch. It won its class in the first two events, and could have foiled those Ferrari GTOs and secured the World Manufacturers Championship in 1964, except for a mechanical failure.

Race History/Finishes of Chassis# 2300

1964 Tour de France:
Reims 1.5 hours………….1st/GT Class; drivers Bob Bondurant & Jochen Neerpasch
Bramont Hillclimb……….1st/GT Class; drivers Bob Bondurant & Jochen Neerpasch

Daytona Continental…. 3rd/GT Class; drivers Ed Leslie & Jerry Grant
Sebring 12 Hours…………3rd/GT Class;  drivers Ed Leslie & Jerry Grant
Nürburgring…………………3rd/GT Class; drivers Jo Schlesser & André Simon
Reims…………………………..2nd/GT Class; drivers Jack Sears & John Whitmore

CSX2300’s most memorable was no doubt the 1964 Tour de France, driven by Bob Bondurant and Jochen Neerpasch. It won its class in the first two events, and could have secured the WMC championship except for a mechanical failure.

A tip-o’-the-visor to Bowman Motors’ booth display board, which provided many of these historical details of Daytona Coupe chassis#2300.

Regrettably, we weren’t at the track during Sunday’s breathtaking Group 6/”D production” race, where this car (chassis# 2300) car was piloted by veteran driver John Morton. Details of that 10-lap vintage race are provided for you at the end of this article.

The infield lake at
Laguna Seca

Laguna Seca infield lake, island and causeway, Shelby-Salute Cobra and Daytona Coupe and Shelby GT350s Show, 2003. Photo by Curt Scott


The white tents in the background are the many motorsport vendors, purveying everything from motorsports books, literature, art pieces x and posters, to a broad selection of today’s full-sized Cobra, Daytona Coupe and Porsche 904 and 550 Spyder replicas.



Daytona Coupé
über Alles

Foto links: Cobra IG Deutschland (Cobra Club/Germany) Mitglied und ehemaliger Vorsitzender Hansjörg Angele, im Brock/Superformance Coupé, mit Konstrukteur Peter Brock.

Hansjorg Angele (from Germany) and Peter Brock at Monterey Historic Races, Laguna Seca, California, 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

Cobra IG Deutschland
c/o Harald Hentschel
Fahrweg 20, D-53773 Hennef, Deutschland
Telefon: +49 (2248) 3671
email: dietmarmettke@cobra-ig.de

GT40s at Laguna

Gulf Blue GT40 MK1, Nr.6 car, Shelby-Salute Cobra and Daytona Coupe and Shelby GT350s Show, 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

GT40 Mk 1
“Gulf Blue” car–winner of the
1968 AND ’69
24 Hours of LeMans.

Regrettably, we failed to capture any shots of this car on the track.

GT40 MkIVs at ‘Salute to Shelby’ Laguna Seca 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

above: a veritable paddock-full of GT40 Mk IVs. Photographers swarmed around this rare roundup of these fabulous Forties.

In the background: do you recognize that giant photo-blowup image of the phalanx of GT40s?

California Advanced Vehicles

CAV GT40 at Laguna Seca, Shelby-Salute Cobra and Daytona Coupe and GT40 Show, 2003. Photo by Curt Scott



CAV was there with one of their gorgeous GT40s, made in South Africa. That’s CAV’s
Bob Lacey just behind the car.

Chuck Beck Motorsports




This gorgeous Beck 550 Spyder speaks for itself. There was always a large crowd at the CBM booth.

Beck 904

Avanti Motors

Adjacent to the CBM tent was Avanti Motors… headed up by none other than Chuck Beck and longtime specialty car developer and producer Kevin Hines.

above: Chuck’s latest re-creation… a stunning, Porsche-propelled reproduction of the 904. We couldn’t get a good shot of the Avanti… too many pesky showgoers were perpetually swarming around it.. But we did get a spectacular shot of the Avanti’s cockpit

Special Editions, Inc.



Carey Hines (yep: Kevin’s son) and Luke Richards displayed one of Special Edition’s elegant 356 Speedster replicas

Ford Trimotor aircraft flying over the ‘Salute to Shelby’ Laguna Seca 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

left: Grand Canyon Airlines (GCA) circled its magnificently- restored historic 1929 Ford Tri-Motor around the track several times on Saturday. For the record, I dunno what we wouldn’t have done to have hitched a ride on that beauty.

From 1926 to 1933 FoMoCo built 198 Tri-Motors, which were flown by nearly every major airline of the era, including Grand Canyon Airlines—still in service at Grand Canyon, Arizona after 75 years. Only a handful of these famed flying machines are still around today; Ford has invited those historic aircraft to join Ford’s 100th Anniversary (1903-2003) festivities.

at right: That’s none other than Dick Smith strapping himself into his famed” #198
1966 427SC.

His Cobra’s livery permanently displays the #198… his own salute to the fact that he was officially clocked at 198 mph (that’s 319 kph), the fastest officially-clocked speed ever for a Cobra roadster. This event occurred in Daytona at the American Road Race of Champions in 1967 (where Dick became the SCCA’s
A/P National Champion).

Dick Smith’s famed #98 427 Cobra at ‘Salute to Shelby’ Laguna Seca 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

Footnote 1, courtesy of Rick Kopec: after the race a Ford executive took Dick aside and told him that unofficially someone in the Ford pits clocked him at 201 mph.

Footnote 2, again courtesy of Rick Kopec: “As for the #198 on my old car, the Essex Wire R-Model: that figure represents the number of occasions I have personally embarrassed (SAAC’s universally admired Shelby-metal expert… and recognized repository of everything worth knowing about the history of Ford Fiestas in NASCAR racing) Howard Pardee by making him the brunt of a disparaging joke in front of a public gathering of more than 500 people.”

NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno with Turk (‘Daredevil of the Dardanelles’) Ercen, of Vacaville, California. Turk sez “Vacaville: that means ‘cowtown’ en Español, pardner.”

Note that they’re both wearin’ (irreverent Cobra forum site) baseball caps. Rumor has it that Turk holds some position of great respect and dignity at gasholes.

Footnote: Turk has owned more Cobras than Jay has: two (an E.R.A. 427SC and, currently, a Shelby-American 4000-Series). Since 1986 Leno has owned a blue & white aluminum-bodied M&L Cobra… now outfitted with a ‘cammer’ 427.

Monterey Historic Races, Laguna Seca, California, 2003. Photo of Jay Leno and Turk Ercen (of Gasholes infamy)
Monterey Historic Races, Laguna Seca, California, 2003. Photo of Jay Leno and Rick Kopec (of SAAC infamy)



at left: Leno with SAAC Feldmarschall Rick Kopec.

Rick had his ol’ #198 R-Model ‘Essex Wire’ Shelby there, scarin’ all the other drivers off’n the track.

Rick’s motto is:
“If you don’t like the way I drive, get the hell outa the pits.”

A few luminaries of the Cobra industry
we encountered at Laguna Seca Raceway

Lynn Park (of COCOA fame) in his trademark campaign hat at Monterey Historic Races, Laguna Seca, California, 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

Ops Plus
Anaheim, Calif.

Operations Plus
CEO Bob Shaw.
Bob is one of the
Cobra/Cobra replica industry’s best-known and liked suppliers of Cobra-related stuff.

Bob drives and races
a Unique Motorcars
289FIA roadster.

Bob was there promoting his new line of Makes Ya Go Blind authentic Gilligan’s Island-flora print crepe shirts.

La Cañada, Calif.

CEO Lynn Park in his trademark ‘Smokey the Bear’ headgear. A genuine VIP everywhere he goes.

Trigo Wheels is among the most respected producer of wheels for 427 and 289FIA Cobras, as well as for GT40s. The most recent addition to the Trigo lineup: 289FIA reproduction wheels.

Lynn is recognized at just about every road course in the American west, and is the very active prez of COCOA–Cobra Owners Club of America.

Torrence, Calif.

Accurate Machine Products’
master machinist
George Petrus.

We all miss you deeply, my dear friend George. George Petrus passed away on Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

George’s splendid,
old-world-quality machined components are respected throughout the Cobra and street rod industries!

NorCal Ford Corral

Painstakingly assembled, directed and choreographed by Lewis Downs
(of the Northern California Chapter of The Shelby American Automobile Club) Over 300 performance machine and vintage classics… all Ford powered.

left: 1967 Ford Mustang GT (not a Shelby, but a Ford Mustang GT)

right: Shelby 4000-Series Cobra




left: Peter Brock in his Superformance Coupe, chatting with a Corral attendee. 

Notice just how large NorCal’s Ford Corral was.

1967 Shelby GT350

1967 Shelby GT500…

The chase-sequence flick “Gone in Sixty Seconds” starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie evolves around a 1967 silver/black Shelby GT500.

…Cole Reif…

past NorCal Prez and a regular at just about every SAAC and MHR event. Cole provided material assistance in choreographing the Ford Corral, as well as did NorCal’s (also ex-Prez) Jerry Brown–not shown, only since we didn’t capture him on film.

That’s NorCal’s Terry & Lewis Downs horsing around with Rick Kopec’s famed R-model Shelby. 

above: a photo of their Contemporary 427SC roadster, which the two of them race regularly in SAAC and NorCal SAAC meets.

It was Lewis who busted his balljoints to put this spectacular (300+ Ford machines) “NorCal Ford Corral” together. Over 150 of these FoMoCo-propelled machines also took part in Sunday’s “Parade Laps” around the track. A tip ‘o’ your racing visor is in order.

If you’ve got the current (3rdEd) “Complete Guide to Cobra Replicas” you’ve read Terry Downs’ performance-driving observations in the SAAC-sidebar article “The exhilaration of Open Track.” And you’ve seen Lewis’ Contemporary roadster on several occasions in “The Guide.”

For the record, Lewis purchased his first Shelby metal back in 1965 (a 289 Cobra roadster, CSX2493).It was, at the time, Lewis’ only car, and thus his daily driver.

At Laguna’s FOMOCO Pavillion:

MHR’s Who’s Who of Racing Greats

Lineup (large view) of ‘Legend Era’ celebrities, luminaries and famous race car drivers. Laguna Seca, Shelby-Salute, GT40 Show, 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

above: One of the greatest assemblages of racing-champion personalities of all time, positioned (appropriately) behind a Ford GT40 MkIV: We’ve numbered them so you’ll be able to identify each of them by the number!

Where else but Cobra Country!

Cobra Country’s BY-THE-NUMBERS roster of 1960s-’80s racing greats and other luminaries

1. Edsel B. Ford II

2. David Hobbs

3. Derek Bell [winner: LeMans (4X), Daytona 24-hour (3X); Porsche Racing Team 1980s]

4. John Wyler (ID thanks to Steve Savage and Dave Friedman)

5. Brian Redman (ever-cheerful Brian!)

6. Lee Holman

7. Bob “Bondo” Bondurant

8. Dan Gurney

9. Parnelli Jones

10. George Follmer

11. Bud Moore

12. Sir Jackie Stewart (Grand Marshall of Sunday’s “Parade Laps,” piloting his Tyrrell Ford)

13. David Pearson

14. Ed Leslie

15. Lloyd Ruby

16. Jerry Grant

17. Dick Hutcherson (ID thanks to Steve Savage)

Dick Smith: altho’ he was at the MHR (and we included him elsewhere in this article, seated in his #98 Cobra roadster), for some unexplained reason he wasn’t among those assembled for this photo. A pity.


  • special thanks to (CSX 4266 owner) William M. Griffin, who identified Ed Leslie and Lloyd Ruby for me; he says he was right there snapping his shutter alongside me.

above: we spotted this Aston Martin DB4-GT parked in the paddock area. Automotive sculpture par excellence, eh?


left: We captured a shot for you of this 1930s Bentley racer.


below: panoramic shot of this same car in a vintage race on track, along with a half dozen other 1920s and ’30s vintage racers.

aerial/panoramic shot#2 of Laguna Seca race track, Shelby-Salute Cobra and Daytona Coupe and Shelby GT350s Show, 2003. Photo by Curt Scott

above: panoramic view of Laguna Seca raceway, taken Saturday evening, after the day’s events had wound down and everyone was headed for the evening festivities in Monterey and
Pebble Beach.

Group 6/”D production” race

3:30 pm Sunday: thrilling climax to MHR 2003!

Derek Bell (driving Carroll’s old Daytona Coupe, CSX 2469) and John Morton (driving Larry Bowman’s Daytona Coupe, CSX 2300) took off in the first two spots; Morton, operating without a clutch, leapt out in front, Derek Bell 2nd. After 2 or 3 laps, Morton’s car QUIT! A photo of CSX2300 is featured above, near the top of this article.

Bell negotiated around him and into the lead. Passing the traffic and closing in behind him was Phil Gallant (289FIA Cobra, CSX 2301); Gallant realized that Bell was experiencing brake problems, and took tactical advantage of it. Phil closed in near the end of the (10-lap) race, got up alongside Bell, passed him on the inside going into Turn 2 and took the checkered flag.

The official race results:

1. Phil Gallant (289FIA roadster, CSX 2301)
2. Derek Bell (Daytona Coupe, CSX 2469)
3. Don Lee (289 roadster #2473)

This massive coverage of Monterey Historic Races/2003 wouldn’t have been possible without the aid, abettance and enthusiastic assistance of some of the most experienced and knowledgable personalities re motorsports in general, and Shelby-metal history specifically.

A special tip ‘o’ the racing visor to:

Peter Brock [Peter’s motorsports involvement, his globetrotting journalism and his Shelby American Golden Years resumé is far too lengthy to attempt to list here]

Rick Kopec [Chief Operating Officer, SAAC; highly-decorated (2 Silver Stars, 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts, et al.) combat infantry officer, First Air Cavalry Division, S. Vietnam 1968-’70; in the early 1980s Rick assumed a full-time position with the Shelby American Automobile Club, handling its day-to-day operations, publications and convention planning. Rick serves as editor and head writer for The Shelby American magazine and SAAC’s World Registries. He has authored six books and hundreds of magazine articles over the past 30 years. He has been interviewed on several videos which have been broadcast on television in the U.S. and abroad, and is recognized as a principal authority on Carroll Shelby and his cars.]

Lynn Park [CEO, Trigo Wheels; President of COCOA (Cobra Owners Club of America); Lynn has personally owned and raced more original Shelby Cobras (260s, 289s and 427s) AND Daytona Coupes than just about anyone else. Since 1970, more than two dozen, in fact. U.S. Army veteran, stationed in Germany (1967-’69)]

Lewis Downs [Highly-active member NorCal SAAC; Lewis purchased his first Shelby metal–a 289 Cobra roadster, CSX 2493, in 1965–which at the time was his daily driver! His Contemporary Cobra is a veritable track veteran: Lewis & Terry have taken it onto various Golden State road courses beginning 1980 (including Laguna Seca, Riverside Raceway, Sears Point, Thunder Hill and Willow Springs), under the auspices of various club track events: POCA/Pantera Owners Club of America; FOCA/Ferrari Owners Club of America; COCOA/Cobra Owners Club of America, and (of course) NorCal SAAC. BTW: Lewis crashed his car in 1987 on Turn 6 at Riverside Raceway when a rim separated and spun him out of control, thus necessitating replacement of the entire front end.]

Bob Shaw [CEO, Operations Plus; since 1992 has regularly competed on track with his Unique Motorcars 289 FIA roadster; longtime member/officer SAAC Los Angeles and COCOA/Orange County; publisher of Former Shelby American Employee Registry]

Randy Berry [CEO, Marauder Cars; Randy Berry’s motorsports experience and his familiarity with Shelby metal harkens back over forty years: in April, 1964, Randy (a college freshman at the time) purchased the very first of Shelby American’s famed “Dragonsnake” drag-race-outfitted 289 Cobras (CSX2019), one of only five of these rare reptiles that were ever produced. [footnote: Randy paid a total of $5909 for the car, including air freight from California to Indianapolis, Indiana.] Note the YouTube musclecar hit tune hotlinks that follow: It was that mere sprinkling of Dragonsnakes that inspired The Rip Chords‘ hit “Hey, Little Cobra,” its Top-Ten ranking coincident (November, 1963) with Jan and Dean‘s (Jan Berry & Dean Torrence) “Drag City,” and following The Beach Boys‘ (we can’t fail to mention them!) “409” (October, 1962), “Shut Down” (April, 1963) and Little Deuce Coupe (August, 1963). Drag racing and thundering V8 powerplants loomed large in American pop music in the early 1960s. Randy raced his Shelby Dragonsnake until 1966, when he became even more well-known in drag racing with his nitro-burning Super Marauder match-race Mercury ‘Comet’ factory-sponsored “funny car.”]


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