As one of the best birthday presents that a car could ask for, the 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe just became the first vehicle ever to be placed on the National Historic Vehicle Register. This new list is a brainchild of the Historic Vehicle Association and the US Department of the Interior's Heritage Documentation Program, and it's meant to bring special recognition to historically important cars.
In order to make the register, cars need to meet just one of four criteria: they need to be associated with an event that is important to either automotive or American history, associated with a significant person in automotive or American history, have distinct design, engineering, craftsmanship, or aesthetic value, or have a significant amount of rarity. The Shelby Cobra checked all four boxes.
The car's impressive racing history easily took care of the first category. Powered by a 289-cubic-inch V8, it defeated Ferrari, won the 1965 FIA GT constructors' championship, and broke 23 records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Being associated with the likes of Carroll Shelby and Craig Breedlove, among others, was enough to check off the second box, and the fact that it was a prototype for the other five Shelby Daytonas took care of the fourth.
The third category—design—is something that may require us to step out of our 21st century box. The Shelby Cobra Daytona won this category due to the fact that it was so successful, and yet, its gorgeous, hand-shaped aluminum body had been designed on a sheet of butcher paper. There's something to be said for simplicity.
Honestly, I can't think of a more deserving car to fill up that first spot on the Historic Vehicle Registry. Over the next year, the HVA plans to add around 10 more cars to the list, and it may even open the nomination process to the general public in the future. Click on over to for the full story.