The 1965 Cobra Daytona by Mike Sells (Fall 2004)
The early ‘60’s were in many ways the most exciting period in GT racing history: the transition from production based racers to prototypes with roofs, from front engine to mid-engine, and from narrow tires on wire wheels with drum brakes to wide and wider tires on cast wheels with disc brakes (universally that is, Jaguar had been using discs for years by then) was enormously interesting and entertaining. As an American just beginning to be interested in sports car racing, the two cars that intrigued me the most were the Cobra and Corvette, especially in full-out GT form as the Cobra Daytona and Corvette GS. The Daytonas were seriously campaigned and fully supported by Ford - a situation never enjoyed by Corvette, a corporate decision that I still think was idiocy - but they were both fascinating cars and I’ve always been very sorry that they never raced on equal terms. Monogram has released both as 1/32 scale slot cars that border on superb for accuracy and appearance; the release of the Daytona body kit, wheels and tires without the slot car parts prompted this static model.
In 1965, Ford needed more entries for their first serious assault on LeMans so they purchased a spot from the Scuderia Filipinetti team. A Daytona was prepared for Filipinetti’s use and painted in the bright red with white stripe Swiss national colors so there could be no doubt that it was a proper private entry. Unfortunately, the engine blew up after 10 hours. After the race, the car was re-painted in Shelby colors and retired. Identical to the other works racers, the conversion is a very easy one and the use of the Monogram body kit meant that I did not even have to strip the paint!
The chassis used is Monogram’s 427 roadster Cobra unit fitted with a full belly pan with openings for the oil pan and rear suspension. Without better information on the underside, the chassis ended up looking like Exoto’s 1/18 diecast Daytona. The belly pan is thin sheet styrene painted aluminum. The chassis was trimmed at the rear end and a panel added to the front to match the coupe body. The suspension detail is not quite right but not that far off either as the heavier 427 frame tubes are not visible with the pan in place. The nose and tail pans were glued to the body and the joints filled; the visible joints are the only complaint I have regarding the Monogram Corvette or Cobra bodies. The front wheel openings were made smaller by gluing several 0.020” strips inside each opening: two strips all around, four at the front. The wheel openings were made round again, enlarged upwards to their original position relative to the top of the fender and the strips blended into the fenders. Various small adjustments were made to fit the interior, body and chassis together before painting all the pieces.
The interior is basic flat black with instrument, steering wheel and fire extinguisher highlights. Acetate air deflectors were mounted at the windscreen corners; by far the most difficult part of the entire build-up, these wouldn’t last a single lap on a slot car but they need to be there on a static model. I tried several different mounting methods but in the end, glued the acetate to short pins with squared-off heads installed through holes in the windscreen posts. Photo etched quick jack mounts were installed in slots cut into the tail panel and glued to the chassis under the nose. The rear window was tinted using Tamiya smoke; the edging is black bare metal foil with the paint rubbed off the rivets.
Tamiya bright red spray paint was used on the body. The markings are straightforward: the white stripe, Filipinetti lettering and logos are found on the Patto 1/32 Filipinetti Corvette decal sheet with additional numbers; the number circles, USA plate and license plate are from Patto’s Cobra Daytona markings. (Bruce Patterson has since released an ex-ARM Daytona sheet with all of the decals needed for this model and a number of others.) The decals were sealed with a coat of Future acrylic floor wax; I hadn’t used Future for many years but was very pleased with the results. The headlight covers (black decal film left wrinkled) and running light covers (bare metal foil with 1/32” black tape strips on top) were added after the Future. The wheel centers and exhaust pipes on this car are white with chrome bare metal foil rims; if you start with a slot car, the wheels and pipes are already the correct color on the #13 and #15 Daytona models. Gary McNutt sent several photos of the car at LeMans that were used for reference.
Additional information: lent a copy of “Ford au Mans”, I found photos of several of the Daytona coupes (including #59) showing a rectangular silver box centered under the tail with some sort of electronic fitting at the upper end. I’d never noticed this before so I asked Mr. McNutt about it; it’s his book, after all. Gary didn’t know either but found very similar boxes mounted ahead of the rear wheel openings on the ’66 Ferrari P3’s. Posting the question on a Ferrari site, Gary discovered that the boxes on the Ferraris were electronic timing and scoring units for the IMB computer used to time the 1966 LeMans race. Nobody seems to know if the box on the ’65 Daytona served a similar function, maybe as a trial run for IBM? I added the box (0.080” square styrene strip about ¼” long), the mount (0.010” sheet) and antenna (dressmaker’s pin) as it definitely should be there, whatever it was used for.
the HO car
The Porsche 904 in Fillipinetti colors is a re-painted “pre-owned” Monogram static kit. It’s from the box except for cutting the panel below the rear window from the interior and molding it to the body and a new rear deck spoiler. Open Porsche wheels are castings of the wheels from the Tomy 356 Speedster racer kit mated to the original Monogram wheel inners and tires. Markings are taken from the Patto Cobra Daytona sheet to match the car as raced at LeMans in 1966; the numbers are from another decal sheet. The flat black interior is original.