factory cars and three other hot Ferraris, Shelby flung three Cobras. Shelby,
lean and taut at 41 with a weathered, deeply etched plainsman's face, once
raced in Ferraris. Now his most ardent desire is to clobber them. "One of
these days I will," he said.
Hoping that day
would be Sunday, he worked long to tune two normal competition Cobras (as
opposed to the street models, of which he builds 65 a month) and also brought
along a spiffy new Cobra—an aerodynamic coup�.
It was in this
180-mph racer that he paired two of the finest drivers in America, the veteran
Bob Holbert and a damn-the-hay-bales newcomer, Dave Mac-Donald. In one of the
normal Cobras he put the superb Grand Prix driver Dan Gurney and steady Bob
Johnson; in the other, two French drivers.
confident in his Ferraris' speed and reliability despite his fussing, could not
resist making a crack at the Americans' earnest preparations. "After
all," he said, "the best American sports car is the Jeep, no?"
The only other
threats to the Ferraris in the Continental field of 42 cars were two English
Aston Martins, and the Aston Martin people were playing it cool.
interested in the Ferrari-Cobra affair," said Driver Roy Salvadori,
"but one must expect a Ferrari victory."
Bill France sharpened the worldly appetites of his customers with a 250-mile
sprint on Saturday for prototype sports cars. The first half featured an
exciting wheel-to-wheel scrap between the Scarab-Chevy of A.J. Foyt and the
Lotus-Ford of Dan Gurney. Then Gurney's car faltered and Foyt won in leisurely
an overcast Sabbath sky, Bill France's latest and longest race began. From the
first it was a Ferrari-Cobra fight, and Ferrari men who had figured Shelby's
cars would not stand the pounding of so long an ordeal looked grim as the
Holbert-MacDonald coup� led for hours on end. It was the spectators' turn to be
glum when the Cobra caught fire from spilled gasoline in a freak pit accident
and was—suddenly and shockingly—out. The Hill-Rodriguez Ferrari coasted to
victory. Other unbreakable Ferraris were second, third and fifth.
But, watch out,
Ferrari. The Gurney-Johnson Cobra was a creditable fourth, and Carroll Shelby
had clearly demonstrated that the conquering Ferraris could be challenged.