Shelby AC Cobra Advice


TO AWSUM

Ford GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jul 4, 2007
1,508
Niceville FL

twobjshelbys is pretty much spot on in his description and suggestions, except for horsepower LOL.​

A very good Cobra replica often overlooked is a "Unique Motorcars" cobra built of fiberglass in Gadsden AL and every bit as good as a Shelby, Superformance, or ERA. They have been in business since 1976 and have a strong following which is a testament to how well their cars are built. You can order a kit to assemble yourself or a complete turnkey factory build you can drive out of the factory. They have very good handling/suspension and your choice of colors, engine, transmission, interior, etc.​

Horsepower is what the Cobra is all about. Just remember: the Cobra must not be turning when you start spinning the tires. It will swap ends in a heartbeat if in a slight turn, unless you know how to drift properly. Underpowered car drivers like to accelerate while jerking the steering wheel left or right to unload one of the rear tires to get a tire to spin -- never do this in a Cobra. Point it straight down the road, then accelerate hard, and you'll be fine no matter how much horsepower. Another big mistake drivers make is while spinning the tires and then getting into a side drift, they get out of the gas when the car is pointed in a direction they don't want to go. As soon as the tires stop spinning, it will launch a car straight forward in the direction it is pointed, usually off the road.

http://www.uniquemotorcars.com/factory-tour

 
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twobjshelbys

GT Owner
Jul 26, 2010
6,097
Las Vegas, NV
I think this car could be worthy of a look see and bidding on but i'm guessing it'll draw somewhere around 150K. A fine Cobra for sure, and CSXs are well known for appreciation, and it's got all the right bits (except for the passenger shoulder harnesses which are dangerous).

It's probably got a fuel cell (most of the CSX cars do) and it's probably due for replacement...
 
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twobjshelbys

GT Owner
Jul 26, 2010
6,097
Las Vegas, NV

twobjshelbys is pretty much spot on in his description and suggestions, except for horsepower LOL.​

A very good Cobra replica often overlooked is a "Unique Motorcars" cobra built of fiberglass in Gadsden AL and every bit as good as a Shelby, Superformance, or ERA. They have been in business since 1976 and have a strong following which is a testament to how well their cars are built. You can order a kit to assemble yourself or a complete turnkey factory build you can drive out of the factory. They have very good handling/suspension and your choice of colors, engine, transmission, interior, etc.​

Horsepower is what the Cobra is all about. Just remember: the Cobra must not be turning when you start spinning the tires. It will swap ends in a heartbeat if in a slight turn, unless you know how to drift properly. Underpowered car drivers like to accelerate while jerking the steering wheel left or right to unload one of the rear tires to get a tire to spin -- never do this in a Cobra. Point it straight down the road, then accelerate hard, and you'll be fine no matter how much horsepower. Another big mistake drivers make is while spinning the tires and then getting into a side drift, they get out of the gas when the car is pointed in a direction they don't want to go. As soon as the tires stop spinning, it will launch a car straight forward in the direction it is pointed, usually off the road.

http://www.uniquemotorcars.com/factory-tour


While you're right about the horsepower bragging rights. And that's what anything over about 400ish (+/-) can't be safely transferred from the engine to the road by most drivers at least one time, and all it takes to be a disaster is once. The reality is here is we don't know how old the OP's dad is nor his experience level. Old == slower reaction times, inexperience == guaranteed oversteer spinout. To me unless he's got some good experience with high powered street racers this is a bomb waiting to go off. But I think they're just too squirelly for an older inexperienced driver. It lobbies well for a street-configured 289 car with a period correct 289. Lots fewer opportunities to get into trouble.

So I'll ask the OP:

Your dad's age
Experience Level with high powered, no-nannies race cars

And you've hinted but not stated a budget.
 
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twobjshelbys

GT Owner
Jul 26, 2010
6,097
Las Vegas, NV
One more bit of crucial info. Your location is listed as Northern CA. Is your dad there too?

If so it is IMPERATIVE that you look for a car that has California SB100 certification. This is the process whereby you get jerked around by the CA DMV for a year before you get your tags. You want it because without it the replicas have to be registered with emissions for THE DATE OF COMPLETION (impossible to comply), whereas SB100 gives you DATE OF REPLICATION (and emissions exemptions as a 65 (or whatever)).

Again, a search of clubcobra.com will yield many people's experiences. Everyone is different because CA really has no training in place to give you a McDonalds French Fries experience. Your experience is directly controlled by the experience and knowledge of the person at the desk and his/her manager...
 

GTMD

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jan 4, 2011
957
NorCal

Whoa! Great find. Looks like the auction just started--thanks! I was on there looking a few days ago and didn't see anything great but this one seems like a pretty solid driver.
 

GTMD

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jan 4, 2011
957
NorCal
with that in mind it comes down to budget and how the car will be used.

My personal favorite is the superformance cars the MKIII ( 427 Style ) has been made for over 20 years now. If you are looking- the best vintage are SPF 1900 to SPF 2990 with mine being in the mid 2700s

The key things to the superformance of SPF as it were are -- fully independent suspension , factory built chassis , quality parts etc. they are sold as rollers so the engine / transmission is the buyers choice. the best engines are some sort of 351W stroker 402 to 460CI and a single 4BBl carb. as for trans -- usual fare is a TKO 5 speed.

Steve

Thanks Steve, agreed. We definitely like the Superformance cars and the MkIII 427 is the style we're looking for.
 

GTMD

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jan 4, 2011
957
NorCal

twobjshelbys is pretty much spot on in his description and suggestions, except for horsepower LOL.​

A very good Cobra replica often overlooked is a "Unique Motorcars" cobra built of fiberglass in Gadsden AL and every bit as good as a Shelby, Superformance, or ERA. They have been in business since 1976 and have a strong following which is a testament to how well their cars are built. You can order a kit to assemble yourself or a complete turnkey factory build you can drive out of the factory. They have very good handling/suspension and your choice of colors, engine, transmission, interior, etc.​

Horsepower is what the Cobra is all about. Just remember: the Cobra must not be turning when you start spinning the tires. It will swap ends in a heartbeat if in a slight turn, unless you know how to drift properly. Underpowered car drivers like to accelerate while jerking the steering wheel left or right to unload one of the rear tires to get a tire to spin -- never do this in a Cobra. Point it straight down the road, then accelerate hard, and you'll be fine no matter how much horsepower. Another big mistake drivers make is while spinning the tires and then getting into a side drift, they get out of the gas when the car is pointed in a direction they don't want to go. As soon as the tires stop spinning, it will launch a car straight forward in the direction it is pointed, usually off the road.

http://www.uniquemotorcars.com/factory-tour


Thanks, I hadn't heard of Unique Motorcars before. We'll keep our eyes peeled.
 

GTMD

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jan 4, 2011
957
NorCal

twobjshelbys is pretty much spot on in his description and suggestions, except for horsepower LOL.​

A very good Cobra replica often overlooked is a "Unique Motorcars" cobra built of fiberglass in Gadsden AL and every bit as good as a Shelby, Superformance, or ERA. They have been in business since 1976 and have a strong following which is a testament to how well their cars are built. You can order a kit to assemble yourself or a complete turnkey factory build you can drive out of the factory. They have very good handling/suspension and your choice of colors, engine, transmission, interior, etc.​

Horsepower is what the Cobra is all about. Just remember: the Cobra must not be turning when you start spinning the tires. It will swap ends in a heartbeat if in a slight turn, unless you know how to drift properly. Underpowered car drivers like to accelerate while jerking the steering wheel left or right to unload one of the rear tires to get a tire to spin -- never do this in a Cobra. Point it straight down the road, then accelerate hard, and you'll be fine no matter how much horsepower. Another big mistake drivers make is while spinning the tires and then getting into a side drift, they get out of the gas when the car is pointed in a direction they don't want to go. As soon as the tires stop spinning, it will launch a car straight forward in the direction it is pointed, usually off the road.

http://www.uniquemotorcars.com/factory-tour


Thanks, I hadn't heard of Unique Motorcars before. We'll keep our eyes peeled.
 

GTMD

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jan 4, 2011
957
NorCal
I think this car could be worthy of a look see and bidding on but i'm guessing it'll draw somewhere around 150K. A fine Cobra for sure, and CSXs are well known for appreciation, and it's got all the right bits (except for the passenger shoulder harnesses which are dangerous).

It's probably got a fuel cell (most of the CSX cars do) and it's probably due for replacement...

Agreed. Looks pretty good and it's a CSX car. Could fit the bill if the auction doesn't get out of control. I don't care for the low profile tires so those would have to be swapped out. Are those wheels oversized? It says 17" Halibrand's but I suspect the originals were what 15" or 16"?

While you're right about the horsepower bragging rights. And that's what anything over about 400ish (+/-) can't be safely transferred from the engine to the road by most drivers at least one time, and all it takes to be a disaster is once. The reality is here is we don't know how old the OP's dad is nor his experience level. Old == slower reaction times, inexperience == guaranteed oversteer spinout. To me unless he's got some good experience with high powered street racers this is a bomb waiting to go off. But I think they're just too squirelly for an older inexperienced driver. It lobbies well for a street-configured 289 car with a period correct 289. Lots fewer opportunities to get into trouble.

So I'll ask the OP:

Your dad's age
Experience Level with high powered, no-nannies race cars

And you've hinted but not stated a budget.
Good questions...

Dad's age: 77

Experience level: Good, definitely not a newbie to high-powered cars with no nannies

Budget: Depends on the car but $100-200k would be the big ballpark. Although we like the aluminum bodied CSX cars, $300k+ isn't within budget.

Purpose: He wants a driver. Something he can put a few miles on, take to cars and coffee, enjoy, etc.

One more bit of crucial info. Your location is listed as Northern CA. Is your dad there too?

If so it is IMPERATIVE that you look for a car that has California SB100 certification. This is the process whereby you get jerked around by the CA DMV for a year before you get your tags. You want it because without it the replicas have to be registered with emissions for THE DATE OF COMPLETION (impossible to comply), whereas SB100 gives you DATE OF REPLICATION (and emissions exemptions as a 65 (or whatever)).

Again, a search of clubcobra.com will yield many people's experiences. Everyone is different because CA really has no training in place to give you a McDonalds French Fries experience. Your experience is directly controlled by the experience and knowledge of the person at the desk and his/her manager...

Yes, I'm just outside of Sacramento and he's in Fall River Mills...way, way Northern CA--lots of beautiful driving roads.

Gotcha! Great points!! Thanks!
 

Stef

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Apr 5, 2009
1,085
Southern California
Lots of great advise in this tread.
I had seriously considered a
CSX, Kirkham and the ERA.
But because I've always like to build and tinker I decided on a Factory Five. What a great experience its been.
I'm using an FE with a mostly period correct build.
Which ever you decide, Cobras are are ton of fun to drive just for the visceral rawness of it.
After a while as you get more used to your car everything else will seem a little boring. Just be careful as they truly can be brutes.
If I had to do it again I would go with a CSX FIA 289.
 
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GTMD

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jan 4, 2011
957
NorCal
Lots of great advise in this tread.
I had seriously considered a
CSX, Kirkham and the ERA.
But because I've always like to build and tinker I decided on a Factory Five. What a great experience its been.
I'm using an FE with a mostly period correct build.
Which ever you decide, Cobras are are ton of fun to drive just for the visceral rawness of it.
After a while as you get more used to your car everything else will seem a little boring. Just be careful as they truly can be brutes.
If I had to do it again I would go with a CSX FIA 289.

Thanks Stef! I agree. A ton of solid advice. That’s why I asked my trusted GT colleagues!
 
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fjpikul

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Jan 4, 2006
11,533
Belleville, IL
Really? The guys daily driver is an old, beat up Saab and you would listen to his advice?
 
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twobjshelbys

GT Owner
Jul 26, 2010
6,097
Las Vegas, NV
If I had to do it again I would go with a CSX FIA 289.
I said it too and there are several that have had big block cars that share that opinion.
 
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TO AWSUM

Ford GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jul 4, 2007
1,508
Niceville FL
If I had to do it again I would go with a CSX FIA 289.
Not me. My buddy had a 289 and every time we went cruising and I passed him with my 427, he was frustrated and I could see the disappointment on his face. Maybe if the 289 was supercharged, then ....
 
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extrap

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jul 16, 2020
1,797
Gainesville FL
Not me. My buddy had a 289 and every time we went cruising and I passed him with my 427, he was frustrated and I could see the disappointment on his face. Maybe if the 289 was supercharged, then ....
Is that cuz you live in straight road Florida?
 
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mmlcobra

GT Owner
May 25, 2013
1,218
Superformance here!
Bought it from the senior Olthoff (RIP) in 1996.
All aluminum big block.
Loved it ever since.
Hypothermia when its cold, heat stroke when it's hot!
Messes up the wife's hair.
It's a sports/race car.
Visceral!!!!!!!!!!
 

twobjshelbys

GT Owner
Jul 26, 2010
6,097
Las Vegas, NV
Maybe if the 289 was supercharged, then ....

I don't know anyone that did it to a Cobra but a friend had a 66 Shelby/Hertz Mustang (289HiPo) with a Paxton at about 6# boost (which in Denver makes up for altitude loss to about sea level) and it certainly woke up the engine. In a Cobra at sea level it would certainly be a personality transplant.
 
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TO AWSUM

Ford GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jul 4, 2007
1,508
Niceville FL
Is that cuz you live in straight road Florida?
No, it's because I don't pass on public road curves. LOL
 
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2112

Blue/white 06'
Mark II Lifetime
I think this car could be worthy of a look see and bidding on but i'm guessing it'll draw somewhere around 150K.

All the CSX auctions


The current car needs 15” wheels with CR6ZZ Avon tires. Those 17” wheels are fugly.

With the budget you mentioned, an aluminum CSX is out, but you still might find the next best thing (IMO better) a Kirkham.



IMG_1628.webp


This masterpiece sold for under $200
 
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GTMD

GT Owner
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Jan 4, 2011
957
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Really? The guys daily driver is an old, beat up Saab and you would listen to his advice?

Touche ;)
 
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