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Old 12-23-2004, 06:42   #1 (permalink)
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US:Superformance Brock Coupe

Superformance Brock Coupe
40 years of dreams.

By Tom Cotter • Photos by the author
Road & Track


Peter Brock fulfills a 40-year-old dream in his Superformance Coupe.

Even as young designer Peter Brock put pencil to paper in 1963 to sketch what became one of the most captivating race-car shapes of all time, he knew the effort would be short-lived. The sleek Ferrari GTO could reach a top speed of nearly 185 mph on the Le Mans Mulsanne Straight, while the 289 Cobra roadsters were aerodynamically limited to 165 mph. So Brock's boss, Carroll Shelby, reluctantly gave him the go-ahead to produce a more streamlined body for Cobra chassis No. CSX2287, even as word leaked down from Detroit that a purpose-built race car — the GT40 — was coming down the pike.

It was a rush job — just 90 days from the drafting table until a running prototype was lapping Riverside International Raceway — but Brock's hunch proved correct; the coupe's speed increased to 189 mph and fuel economy improved by 25 percent. Only six aluminum Daytona Coupes were built, and the car ultimately won the World Championship of Makes in 1964. Still, Brock wondered what could have been if only he had had more time and a larger budget to fully develop the car.

It took 40 years, but Brock can finally stop wondering. Jimmy Price, owner of the South African-based Superformance replicar company, called Peter in 1997 and asked if he'd like to have another shot at designing a world-class GT version of the Daytona Coupe.

"Only if I could design a no-compromise chassis from the ground up," says Brock, who wasn't interested in replicating the Coupe's original flaws. With that understanding, he invited the late Bob Negstad, designer of the original chassis for the 427 Cobra and GT40, to join the effort. At the time, Negstad was employed at Roush Engineering, so high-tech CAD systems were used to design a modern suspension and 93-in. chassis, 3 in. longer than the original.


Owner's engine of choice in this car is a Roush Racing-built 427.

The fiberglass body actually has more beautiful proportions than the original and should not be confused with your average Cobra kit car. Price's Superformance factory is a modern plant that employs 600 people and produces semi-completed Brock Coupes and Cobra-like roadsters, which are shipped to dealers less engines and gearboxes. Six U.S. Superformance dealers, such as Olthoff Racing in Mt. Ulla, North Carolina, then install drivetrains of the customers' choice.
The Brock Coupe is still rather rare — only two are built each week for a worldwide market — so new owner Gary Moore of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was kind enough to lend us his even before he had driven it.

Intimidating at first, the Coupe's balkiness quickly smoothed out once the fluids warmed and we became more comfortable with the cockpit and the controls. Starting the car required inserting a key, then pressing a race-car-type toggle switch to fire up the engine. Moore chose a Roush Racing-built 427-cu.-in. engine with a 770-cfm Holley carburetor. Starting life as a 351 Windsor, his bored and stroked small block has been dynoed at 550 bhp and produces some of the most intoxicating exhaust sounds this side of Le Mans, circa 1965.

A surprisingly soft clutch and Tremec 6-speed gearbox transfer all that power to a 3.46:1 original-type independent rear end. Because of the radical camshaft profile in this particular car, we found it best to stay in 4th gear when cruising around town at less than 55 mph. The double-overdrive gearbox has a 0.80:1 5th-gear ratio, and a 0.62:1 6th gear, so at 100 mph in 6th, the Coupe happily loped along at just 2400 rpm while achieving a reputed 17 mpg!

Dealer Dennis Olthoff says that in early top-speed testing with a 402-cu.-in., 498-bhp engine, the Coupe reached 206 mph, so he's confident Moore's power-steering-equipped, air-conditioned coupe will be powerful enough to reach 210-plus mph, yet comfortable enough to run for a quart of milk.



The car's interior is finished to a high standard, with leather covering supportive bucket seats and simulated suede used on the headliner and Stewart-Warner-strewn dashboard. Because of the longer wheelbase, the modern Coupe has plenty of leg room for this 6-ft.-3 driver. And because Brock was able to move the two main chassis tubes toward the outside of the car — allowing the seats to mount lower — there is enough head room for even Dan Gurney to drive this car without the need of a roof bubble.

Moore's Coupe had no audio system, but frankly, music would have been a distraction from the beautiful tunes emanating from the exhaust system as we roared through North Carolina's back roads.

"The new Ford GT has better weight distribution, so I think our car will run side by side with it through the first quarter mile, then we'll smoke the GT after that," says a confident Brock of the car, which sells for $63,800 without a drivetrain, or about $85,000 with the engine package as tested. "It's got to be the sleeper of the year for price and performance. It's a dream come true for me."

Some dreams just take 40 years to become reality.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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