Cars Are Good for People: Karen's Factory Five Racing Type 65 Coupe
Back in the mid-‘60s the Shelby Daytona Coupe was built to beat Ferrari’s 250 GTO. Carroll Shelby loosely based it on the chassis and drivetrain of the AC Cobra, but the Daytona was able to achieve a higher top speed than the AC Cobra because of the better aerodynamics of a closed cockpit. Unfortunately, there were only six Daytonas ever built, and the most affordable originals were last sold in the four-million-dollar range.
Reasonably Priced Racecars
It’s no surprise that racing enthusiasts would be interested in owning one, but most people don’t have a disposable income that numbers in the millions. Luckily, there are reasonably priced replicas available, like the Type 65 Coupe from Factory Five Racing, that start at just $21,000.00 (unassembled and without engine/transmission/rear-end/wheels/tire/paint job). If an enthusiast is interested in racing a Daytona-style car, there’s no reason not to at that price. That's exactly why Karen Salvaggio built one for herself.
The Factory Five Type 65 Coupe wasn’t Karen’s first race car. She knew that she wanted to race since she was a child but didn’t really get into it until the early ‘80s. “Back in 1983 I was in the Air Force working as a crew chief for a B-52 and a KC-135 for the Strategic Air Command. One of my friends took me out to race a stock car on a dirt track in the central valley in California. I loved the feeling of racing so much that the next week I bought a ’70 4-4-2 Oldsmobile so I could race on my own,” Salvaggio said.
Thirty-five years since her first race, she’s still at it today. Now she’s got a ton of experience under her belt and a much better car. “Once I started racing I’ve always had some sort of race car. I’m really into wheel-to-wheel competitions, and I’ve always loved the Daytona Coupe and its history—it was a top contender in FIA in the ‘60s and won a bunch of races in the era,” Salvaggio continued. “They’re made of unobtainium but I really wanted one, so I went to Factory Five for their Type 65 Coupe.”
She intended to race it, but the complete Type 65 Coupe kit she bought wasn’t quite race ready. “The major modifications I had to make included adding a fuel cell and a roll cage. This is actually my eighth Factory Five car, and through so many purchases, the owner and I have become friends. This is their gen three, car number 002—it was sold to me as a BETA test car, so I could give them feedback on what it needed. With some of my input from racing, Factory Five has since come out with a real full-on race version that is eligible for a log book like in SCCA or FIA.”
Her car is primarily used for racing, but it’s still legal on the street. It’s equipped with a 2017 Ford Coyote 5.0 under the hood that makes 435hp at the crank with period correct side-pipes. “We tested it on a dyno with modern exhaust. While the side-pipes look cool, they cost me about 70hp,” Salvaggio said. Behind the 5.0 is a stock-ratio T56 six-speed transmission with 3.73 gear Torsen differential in the rear and a 2015 Mustang GT independent rear suspension. In total, the car weighs about 2,800 lbs.
Coilover Koni shocks grace all four corners of the car. Nitto NT01 tires 275/35R18 in the front and 305/35R18 in the rear ride on Halibrand replica rims. Wilwood brakes stop the car with six-piston calipers in the front and four-pistons servicing the back wheels.
The appearance of her car is recognizable to anyone familiar with the Daytona Coupe body style. “I made sure the paint is the exact paint code of the original Coupe from the mid-'60s: Guardsman blue with Wimbledon white stripes. I think of the car as old school meets new school. The exterior keeps the vintage look I love, but it’s all modern underneath,” Salvaggio said.
Cars Are Good for People
What does the future hold for Salvaggio? Look for her competing in future West Coast vintage racing, and of course, our Driver Battle, where she faces off against a 2015 Dodge Viper. As the interview ended, she had some words to share: “Cars are good for people. You can run on the track or turn a street car into a racer and put it on the track. I’m all about the comaraderie and encourage people to get involved. If you want to be a racer, just go do it. If you’re friendly and excited, racers will help you out.”