Karen Salvaggio, 64, a health and wellness coach and retired school superintendent living in Hemet, Calif., on her Factory Five Daytona Coupe tribute, as told to
My entire life I have loved speed. When I was a kid, I would make road courses in the street using paint cans so I could ride my Huffy bike around it, trying to go faster and faster. I watched racing on ABC “Wide World of Sports” and I would say, “Someday I am going to do that!”
I joined the Air Force and became a B-52 mechanic, and through that I met a guy who ran stock cars in central California. He asked me to come to the track one day to help him and while I was there, he let me take the car out. I didn’t know what I was doing. All I knew was that I was in heaven. The very next Monday I bought my first race car, a stripped down 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 that came from a chicken ranch.
The car you see here I named “The Huntress,” and it is my fifth Factory Five Daytona Coupe tribute—specifically, a Gen 3 R model. The Daytona Coupe is a historically significant car. In the 1960s, Carroll Shelby built this car to beat the Ferrari GTOs in international racing, and it was amazingly successful, becoming the first American-manufactured car to win the GT class at Le Mans in 1964. A very small number were built [six, actually], and the survivors today are all worth millions. Factory Five is a Massachusetts-based company that makes tribute cars at a relatively affordable price.