Fast-forward to late 1963. Immediately after they debuted, the Cobras laid waste to the American road-racing landscape. Now Shelby wanted to humble Enzo Ferrari, but he realized that the Cobra roadster - an aerodynamic brick - wouldn't be competitive on the fast European circuits. Brock suggested clothing the chassis in a slippery body featuring a chopped-off rear-end design that was inspired by a World War II-era German technical document that he'd discovered while poring through the GM library. But he warned Shelby that the coupe would look unlike any other race car on the planet.
"I don't care what the hell it looks like as long as it goes fast," Shelby drawled.
"OK," Brock said. "How much money do we have?"
"There's no money. You'll have to do it on your own time."
"I didn't even have a drawing board," Brock recalls today. "I taped butcher paper to the floor in the accounting office, and that's where I made all the drawings for the wooden buck. I drew it up in quarter scale. I took 35-millimeter photographs, and I projected the slides onto the wall. AC wouldn't give Carroll their engineering drawings, so we had to reverse engineer the chassis. Most of the guys in the shop thought the coupe was a stupid idea, so [mechanic/fabricator] John Ohlsen, [driver/builder] Ken Miles, and I pretty much built it ourselves."
At the first test, at Riverside, Miles went 3.5 seconds a lap faster than he'd gone in the roadster. He called Shelby from the track and reported, "This thing's a rocket ship." By the time the coupe returned to Shelby American, the center of the shop had been cleared out so everybody could start working on it. "This is going to be done for Daytona," Shelby announced. It was. The car was sidelined by a pit fire while leading, but it scored a class win in its next race, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and won the GT world championship the next year.
When Shelby shifted his focus to the Ford GT40 and Mark IV prototypes, Brock hung out his own shingle. His first project under the auspices of Brock Racing Enterprises was road racing a dumpy little Japanese sedan built by Hino. Best known as a truck manufacturer, Hino was planning to enter the U.S. automobile market. Company officials were so impressed with Brock's efforts that they offered him contracts to design their cars, distribute their trucks, and run their race program. "God, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!" Brock says. But just before the contracts were signed, the company's owner died. By the time the dust had settled, Hino was out of the car business, and Brock was out of a job.