• Nov 2, 2010
The Real Deal: A 1964 Shelby Cobra, CSX2557 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Shelby and Factory Five Racing have been going at it for years. Back in 2000, Shelby filed suit against the Massachusetts-based replica builder, which resulted in Factory Five being allowed to continue building cars as long as it made no reference to the terms "Cobra," "427 S/C," "Shelby," "Shelby Cobra," "Daytona Coupe" or "Daytona Coupe Cobra." Eight years of apparent peace passed until Shelby again filed suit against FFR because the company felt that the the replica builder's Type 65 Coupe name was too close to its Shelby Daytona Coupe. The court ruled in favor of Factory Five.

The two companies went back to court a third time because Shelby recently attempted to patent the shape of the Cobra. Well, the case has been settled and the result is yet effectively another victory for Factory Five Racing. The United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board felt that the shape of the Cobra does not solely belong to Carroll Shelby. Factory Five had the following to say:
"On October 13th, 2010, the court denied his application and our opposition was successful. We felt that if he were to get a trademark on the Cobra shape, his PR machine would use that to make the legitimate replica industry look bad. Our position was that a Shelby trademark would have ignored the factual history of the car, which started life as an AC car with a Ford engine in it, as well as completely discounting the huge contributions that replica guys have made to the car's continuing legacy since the 1970's. We have never denied Shelby's part in history, but he has enjoyed huge popularity, in-part, due to replicas.

Looking back, our little company has done more than anyone ever to secure this car for all. Factory Five Racing and our customers have made such a huge contribution to the industry over the years.

I am attaching the Court's opinion as a PDF document here so you can read it for yourself. Factory Five Racing does not use the word COBRA to describe our products."
You can weigh in on the outcome for yourself and read the full, 49-page ruling of the of the court here: Shelby vs FFR. Thanks for the tip, Bip-D-Bo!

[Source: Factory Five Racing]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why did Factory Five want the rights to the design anyway? It's hardly new(!). It's a half century old design that really doesn't look fresh any longer. They should have come up with an entirely new concept and patented it instead.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gotta wonder how much of the old man's fortune has been wasted by all these frivolous lawsuits.

      Even if Shelby comes up with an original design, he's gotta know that you need to seek protection on it BEFORE you show it to the world. Everyone else seems to grasp that concept.

      His own replicas were a failure, even with the continuation thing, so I guess this is the only way he can handle the situation. Just a shell of a man, I think.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think I would much rather drive a modern Factory Five then a Shelby.

      To own one, that's a different story, although I'll most likely never come close to owning an authentic one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      well done...how is Carol going to set as trade mark if he copy it from AC, sad but true
        • 4 Years Ago
        He didn't copy anything, he only took an AC and modified it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would be to scared to drive a real Shelby on the road. Like playing catch with a Babe Ruth autographed ball. Too rare and valuable. Maybe a track with nice runoff area at 7/10ths, but not on a road with texting Expedition drivers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Suck it Shelby
        • 4 Years Ago
        My first project car is gonna have this exact shape now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hmmm, I thought the shape was from AC, not Shelby.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This guy needs spend his golden years in a car, not a courtroom. As the old saying goes, you can't take it with you.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bracing myself for more crappy retro design.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dan - Back to Auto Blog Green
      • 4 Years Ago
      a good shape for a 4 cyl turbo engine and a good gearbox or a sweet bmw inline 6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Carl, thank you!!! You took the words right out of my mouth.

        @ Elmo.
        Looks like you're the one that got bitch slapped by male genitalia. That's what happens when you THINK you know about cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You should just be slapped with a flaccid male genital...

        I gathered from this one tiny comment the hidden message. It's like I'm a psychic and can tell you were implying that the original engine is inferior to what you listed. Oh wait, that's not me being psychic, that's you being predictable because you have this hate towards American cars AND Americans themselves.

        Show me one Euro car that were powered by anything lesser than a V8 that managed to beat the Daytona Coupes and Cobras with their 302 and 427 V8s.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1964 World Championship Race Round 3: Targa Florio

        Positions 1 and 2 overall Porsche Carrera GTS (Typ 904) 2L 4cyl Carrera 4-cam engines.

        Position 8 FIA Cobra driven by no less than Dan Gurney in a Cobra entered by Shelby American Inc.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like shelby just wanted to shake them down for a royalty fee. How can you trademark a shape that wasn't yours in the first place? The courts got this one right and FFR deserves recognition for having to put up with the constant attacks on behalf of all the other replica manufacturers out there. Now anyone is free to build this design.
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