Almost 50 years ago, the sports car world was changed forever when the Ford-powered Cobra was introduced at the 1962 New York Auto Show. Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc., (CSBI.PK), will offer a limited edition of 50 continuation "street car" Cobras to celebrate that milestone. Each will be painted "Shelby black" with a premium wine colored leather interior, special badges, wire wheels and other items. The 50th Anniversary Cobra was introduced at the 40th Anniversary Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011.
"Fifty years after its introduction, the Shelby Cobra is still an international symbol of high performance," said John Luft, president of Shelby American. "Combining a robust, powerful American engine with a lightweight European chassis was brilliant. Half a century later, the Cobra remains one of the most coveted cars in the world. Shelby's formula still resonates today and is followed by automakers worldwide."
Built from 1962-1965, the CSX2000 series small block Cobra was born in Southern California when Shelby's crew re-engineered the AC Ace to accept Ford's new small block. Weighing only 2,020 pounds, the Cobra was nimble, quick and reliable. The Shelby was feared by owners in Ferrari, Jaguar, Chevrolet, Porsche and Aston Martin sports cars. The racing version dominated, culminating in the 1965 FIA World Championship.
In 1996, Carroll Shelby began manufacturing the small block "street version" Cobra once again. Today, the cars are component vehicles that can be fitted with a proper drive train by a customer or an authorized Shelby American Cobra dealer. Each car is built to order and delivered as a rolling chassis, less drive train, with a 1965 MSO. The 50th Anniversary Edition cars have some unique differences.
"Our CSX8000 cars incorporate safety and performance improvements without sacrificing driving excitement or originality," added Gary Davis, Shelby vice president of production. "They retain everything from the authentic style leaf spring suspension to the graceful lines, but are upgraded to contemporary standards. For instance, we used Wilton Wool carpeting and the same leather found in high end cars, modern disc brakes, a stronger frame and the bodies are available in either aluminum or fiberglass."
Standard features of the 50th Anniversary Cobra include:
• Body: Shelby hand laid fiberglass or aluminum
• Paint: premium "Shelby Black"
• Seats and dash: Rosso high quality leather interior
• Carpeting: Wilton Wool
• Floor and trunk mats: 50th anniversary
• Emblems: Shelby Cobra anniversary, side fender emblems
• Serial number: Special number denoting the car is one of the anniversary models
• Frame: 3-inch diameter DOM tube steel, .120 wall with modern Heim joints and graded bolts
• Front Brakes: 1" x 11-7/16" OD disc, dual piston Baer caliper
• Rear Brakes: 3/4" x 11-7/16" OD disc, dual piston Baer caliper
• Steering: rack and pinion
• Suspension: upper traverse leaf with lower arms, independent front and rear
• Differential: Shelby aluminum housing, Dana 44 gears with 3.54 gears
• Half Shafts: Spicer split spline
• Instruments: Shelby or Stewart-Warner
• Bumper: chrome oval
• Exhaust: side exit in front of rear wheels
• Mirrors: center rearview
• Wheels: 15" chrome plated steel wire with modern performance radial tires
• Fuel Tank: 14 gallon stainless steel
• Overall size: 151 ½" long and 72" wide with a wheelbase of 90"
"Only 655 total leaf spring small block Cobras were built between 1962 and 1965," said Rick Kopec, director of the Shelby American Automobile Club. "Today, they're among the most coveted sports cars in the world. It is certainly appropriate for Shelby American to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Cobra with these 50 special editions. Each will be documented in our 'World Registry' alongside the original ones built by Shelby American in the 1960s."
The 50th Anniversary CSX8000Shelby Cobra will begin at $69,995 for a fiberglass or $134,995 for an aluminum bodied car, without drive train. Cobras can be purchased through one of Shelby American's dealers. Information about options and availability can be found at http://shelbyamerican.com/50th.asp.