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Kirkham FIA 289 Cobra replica - Click above for high-res image gallery

Someday, many decades from now, after all historical records of the late 20th and early 21st centuries have been extinguished by the great internet crash of 2012, someone will be trying to figure out what happened. As paleontologists are combing through the remainder of scrap yards for clues about what we did here, they may come to the conclusion that the Shelby Cobra was the second most produced car of all time after the VW Beetle.

The reality, of course, is that the real Shelby Cobra is exceedingly rare, but the look may well be the most replicated of all time. There are also plenty of Ferrari and Lamborghini "replicas" that are mutated to fit on existing platforms like the aforementioned Beetle and the Pontiac Fiero, but the vast majority of the faux-Cobras look so much like the real thing, that all but the most dedicated observers cannot tell the difference without close inspection.

In a little corner off Woodward Ave just south of Maple Rd. were at least two dozen "Cobras", and not one appeared to be the real thing. None the less, these are generally blindingly fast cars and usually just as thrilling to drive as one of Carroll's babies.

Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah even in SoCal it is EXTREMELY rare to see a real one driving around. They mostly have been relegated to being museum pieces. My father owned three originals back in the day ( 2 427's and a 289 FIA) and he says he likes driving his Superformance that we built him more.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just a correction, the Toyota Corolla holds the record for most car of all time. Sad but true.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fact check:

        The Corolla is the best selling nameplate of all-time, whereas the VW Beetle is the most produced vehicle of a "single design".
      • 5 Years Ago
      Kirkham Motorsports makes the best ones in the biz. Handformed aluminum ftw. Just like Daddy Carroll used to make. Forget this fiberglass/carbon crap. Provo, Utah/Poland represent!
      • 5 Years Ago
      yeah the originals are in Monterey this weekend!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I saw a real 'Cobra' this weekend at a small car show in Oak Harbor, WA. Presuming it was a fake I walked up to it and gave the car a once over to see how good it was.

      But: it wasn't in good condition. The whole thing was old. The exhaust pipes were rusty, the gas cap was oxidized, the engine needed a complete overhaul. But it had all the right bading, and the engine was... wait... a Shelby? Looked like the old 427 block.

      I went over the whole car. It wasn't a replica, it was the real deal, just in bad condition. Then the GF noted the small un-noticed because I was stupified sign that said they had purchased it to fix up and restore, and it wasn't even really started yet.

      I walked away dumbfounded blabbering to a GF who was more interested in the GT 350 and GT500 that were there. I didn't even take a picture.

      There was another AC Cobra there, not a Sheby but an import with the original old Ford engine it came with. Not in to good of shape either, but seemed to drive okay. The only kit was the Cobra-to-forth gen Mustang that was hidious. Front end Cobra, back end 4th Gen.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When I see a Cobra, I simply assume that it's a replica.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've seen the replicas gather regularly at Fosters Freeze's random weeknight carshow gatherings. And when I lived in Pleasanton,CA on some magical sunday mornings I could see and hear 5-6 of them roaring down the street together to go have breakfast.

      I couldn't tell a replica from an original if it ran me over. So I also assume they're all replicas.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think I saw that paintless one in Sonoma a few weeks ago. (There was a whole gathering of replicars on the town square.)