Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Fall 2019
						Shell Valley Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 7
DAYTONA DRIVER

Shell Valley Coupe

As Told by Larry Turoscy

I fell in love with cars in 1958 when as an eighth grader I saw and heard a ‘58 Chevrolet Impala. Later on, during my college years (1962 to 1966) I followed some of the best sports cars ever made: Porsche 904 GT, Corvette Stingrays (and owned two of them), Ford GT40, Shelby Cobras, Ferrari Daytona and 275 GTBs. The Shelby Cobra/Ford versus Ferrari wars of the mid Sixties were perhaps the greatest racing battles of all time for me, especially since American muscle eventually won the battles.

I thought the most beautiful car ever built was the Shelby Cobra Daytona, although Carroll Shelby seemed not to like the cars. When he scrapped building them to help Ford win their battle against Ferrari, I thought it was a big mistake. He should have made a road car out of the Daytona like he did with the roadster, because the Daytona was much more practical. It was lockable and enclosed for driving in all weather. It was the reason why I waited until a replica of the Daytona was made by several manufacturers to get into owning one.

By the year 2004 I had done enough research on several of the manufacturers of the Daytona replica to choose Shell Valley as the company to complete a turnkey car. That firm’s version seemed to be the closest to the original racing Shelby Daytona. Unlike the original, however, my particular car runs a 400hp 351 Ford Windsor engine with a Tremec 5 speed transmission, and the suspension is modernized as well, with coil-overs at all four corners.

Shell Valley Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 1
Shell Valley Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 2

I considered building it myself, but at the time I was (and still am) Director of Engineering for a company with 60 employees, and after putting in 60 to 70 hours a week, I did not have enough time to spend building a vehicle. I have since turned many of my former duties over to other engineers.

The car was finished in the year 2005, and of all my sports cars the Daytona gets the most attention when driven or parked where people congregate. (My other cars have included a Porsche 928, and ’69 Corvette Stingray, and currently I own a Ferrari Testarossa, Lotus Esprit, and ’68 Corvette Stingray)

Over the years I have made several changes to the Daytona.  Since I wanted a car which I could drive frequently, I wanted a more functional and better looking interior. I always liked wooden interiors on classic sports cars, so I tore out all the inside vinyl panels and the dash and replaced them with red oak wooden panels. I also added a wooden center console with cup holders and places for keys, etc.

I decided to use a hardwood and oak is relatively easy to cut, shape and stain to provide a much classier interior. The wood was available at any Lowes or Home Depot; 0.25” panels for the doors and portions of the center console; 0.50” panels for the dash with 0.25” for the glove compartment.

I stained all the final wood panels with English Chestnut stain, which worked well with the interior. It is tough to tell the wood is oak. Although I am a Civil Engineer, my father was a carpenter, so I learned wood working when I was as young as eight years old helping my Dad, and I have a fairly complete wood working shop.

Shell Valley Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 3
Shell Valley Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 4

I considered building it myself, but at the time I was (and still am) Director of Engineering for a company with 60 employees, and after putting in 60 to 70 hours a week, I did not have enough time to spend building a vehicle. I have since turned many of my former duties over to other engineers.

The car was finished in the year 2005, and of all my sports cars the Daytona gets the most attention when driven or parked where people congregate. (My other cars have included a Porsche 928, and ’69 Corvette Stingray, and currently I own a Ferrari Testarossa, Lotus Esprit, and ’68 Corvette Stingray)

Over the years I have made several changes to the Daytona.  Since I wanted a car which I could drive frequently, I wanted a more functional and better looking interior. I always liked wooden interiors on classic sports cars, so I tore out all the inside vinyl panels and the dash and replaced them with red oak wooden panels. I also added a wooden center console with cup holders and places for keys, etc.

I decided to use a hardwood and oak is relatively easy to cut, shape and stain to provide a much classier interior. The wood was available at any Lowes or Home Depot; 0.25” panels for the doors and portions of the center console; 0.50” panels for the dash with 0.25” for the glove compartment.

I stained all the final wood panels with English Chestnut stain, which worked well with the interior. It is tough to tell the wood is oak. Although I am a Civil Engineer, my father was a carpenter, so I learned wood working when I was as young as eight years old helping my Dad, and I have a fairly complete wood working shop.

Shell Valley Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 5
Shell Valley Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 6

After I was sure all the gauges and switches fit properly, I removed all the gauges and switches and placed stainless steel nuts (similar to the door panels) to wood pieces bolted to the frame behind the wiring of the revised dash. There was not a lot of room for the thicker dash and the added glove compartment. 

The dash was then stained and the gauges and switches reinstalled and rewired in the dash. The dash bolts into six nuts along the top of the new dash. The rigidity of the wood keeps everything in place, which was not the case with the thin fiberglass dash. Wooden side panels were added to replace the fiber glass side panels which tended to bend or flop around when air entered the vehicle during driving.

The car also has a heater and air-conditioning system, so that it can be driven at all times during the year in the Northeast weather conditions (since I live near Allentown, Pennsylvania).

The Carlisle show was the first I ever attended, and I was surprised how many people trailered their Cobras to the show. I wanted a car that was a driver rather than a trailer queen, and I have been driving it for the last 10 years. I basically put about 1,000 miles on each of my four sports cars each year.

I do more work on the Cobra than the other cars. There is always something that I thought would be more practical or work/look better. It will be very difficult for me to part with this car as I get older, realizing that having sports cars will most likely mean selling them in the next several years as I downsize living quarters. However, I will never regret owning—and driving—the Cobra Daytona.

Shell Valley Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 8

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