Classic cars are very popular in the United States and around the world. One model that has stood out over time is the Shelby Cobra. People all over the world build their own using Shelby Cobra kits.
What is a Shelby Cobra?
Carroll Shelby was a race driver and car designer. He started out racing in borrowed cars but after he won a few races, Aston Martin, the British car company, signed him to race in their cars. When he was forced to quit racing due to a heart condition, he turned his energy to designing cars.
In 1961, the British car company, AC Cars, announced they were no longer going to produce the AC Ace. Shelby saw an opportunity in this decision. The rationale the company gave was that the Bristol six cylinder engine was not going to be made available anymore. This was a direct precursor to the Shelby Cobra kit. Shelby thought that if you took a Ford V8 engine and put it in the AC Ace frame, you would have a fantastic new kind of car. It would be lightweight and have a lot of power. He persuaded the car manufacturer to send him one of their cars without an engine. He had Ford put a 260 engine in it and the Shelby Cobra car was born.
Shelby was not satisfied with his creation. He wanted to get more power into the light cars. He started working on the Shelby Cobra 427 in 1964. For this version, he used a Ford big block 7 liter engine. People told him that he was crazy to even consider putting so much power into such a light frame. His response was to say that there was no such thing as “too much power.” To get the results he wanted, he had to make changes to the frame. It had to be widened and stretched. The chassis and suspension were altered to accommodate the engine.
The result of Shelby’s work was a car that was incredibly fast. This is one reason the Shelby Cobra kits are so popular. People love fast cars. The Cobra 427 was able to get from zero to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds. It could get from zero to 100 miles per hour in 10.8 seconds. The problem was that many drivers were not able to control the power in the car and many people were in accidents.
The Cobra 427 was only manufactured from 1965 through 1967. During that time, 348 were made. Most of these cars that are around today are made from the Shelby Cobra kit. This is considered to be one of the most legendary cars every built. The remaining, factory built versions of the car are all in the hands of collectors. It is considered to be the most successful British-American vehicle. No one has made a custom roadster like it since. In 1964, an AC Cobra coupe made it to 186 miles per hour on a British motorway.
Many people buy Shelby Cobra kits and personalize them. They can put in the engine they prefer as well as the right transmission, suspension and brake system. Some Ford purists look down on the practice but many Shelby Cobra enthusiasts use the Chevy block engine instead of the Ford. This is because the Chevy block engines are less expensive and easy to get. By some estimates, at least 60,000 replica cars have been built by car enthusiasts around the world. The great thing about these kits is that they allow people who love fast cars to build their own.
While it is probably not a good idea to have a lot of Shelby Cobra cars on the road, they are amazing vehicles that can be a lot of fun to build at home. There are few things that are as much fun for anyone who loves fast cars like the the Shelby Cobra kit. When Carroll Shelby got into racing and then into car designing, he could not possibly have known what he was starting.