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						Upstate Super Coupe A1
Direct Descendant

Contemporary Motor Cars Daytona Coupe replica

By Dave Martin

Photos by Dave Martin and Steve Temple

My dad owned a gas station, so I grew up wrenching on cars since I was 14. With a degree is in electrical engineering, I’ve spent the last 10-plus years managing mechanical engineers — for which my car sense helps. 

Muscle cars are a passion, and I started building my first dune buggy when I was 17, quickly followed by second one (a restoration) and then into an NAF 1965 Cobra roadster, which was the first real performance replica I had built.

After driving it for 10 years, I then decided it was time to start again. I’ve always loved the sleek lines of the Coupe, and shopped all that was available back in 2004, eventually selecting the Upstate Super Replica Coupe (originally developed by Contemporary Motor Cars, and now offered by Lesher Motorsports in Salinas, California).

I loved the fact that it was on the original Cobra 90-inch wheelbase (but with 4-inch main rails) and that the body was splashed from one of the original six cars. It’s a documented fact (as noted by Daytona designer Pete Brock) that Contemporary made fiberglass molds off an authentic aluminum Daytona Coupe. So it actually has one of the most historically accurate bodies on the market. When I sat in the demo car it just felt right. 

I started the project with a 1970 Ford 351 Cleveland about two years earlier, as I tend to build the car around the engine. It sports an ultrarare Ford NASCAR Tri-Power Intake, one of less than 10 in existence.

Assembled by Kenny Duttweiller of Saticoy, California, the induction system is from a Dodge 340 6-Pack, modified for side bowl inlets and an electric choke. Feeding air/fuel to the engine is a Holley 3 by 2 bbl carb and 69 cc closed-chamber heads. Also, the engine compartment has an Innovate A/F gauge and a vacuum gauge for adjusting idle. Wide-band sensors are in both collectors, one to the under-hood gauge, one to the in-dash gauge. The engine is backed by a TREMEC TKO five-speed with a Centerforce II clutch, and a Jaguar Traction Loc 2.88 rear end.

After three years and nine months of work, the car was ready for the road. I’ve put more than 12,000 miles on it, which includes yearly runs from Los Angeles to the Laughlin “Club Sandwich” event, and I’m very active in the AHA (Association of Handcrafted Automobiles).

Because it’s built as a “road” car instead of an off-the-line beast, it is only doing 1,800 rpm while doing 80 mph in 5th. On my last trip to Laughlin it averaged over 22 mpg.

By the way, the inner aluminum paneling was signed by coupe designer Peter Brock, who looked it over at the 50th anniversary Cobra Meet at the NHRA Museum a few years back. He thought the build and car were great. Which makes sense, considering the car’s direct link to the original.

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Daytona Coupe