Of the popular muscle cars out there, the Shelby Cobra may just be the most popular and highly coveted vehicle there is. In the automotive world, the Shelby Cobra has an interesting history in both road and track settings.
The Shelby Cobra is a British-American hybrid sports car, named after the Texas chicken farmer turned automotive designer, Carroll Shelby. Shelby began collaborating with AC and Ford to build the muscle car in 1961. The final road and track model was completed and put together in a garage in California in no more than 8 hours. From there, they took to the streets for testing. The first Cobra was called the 75 Cobra Mark I, and was fitted with a Windsor Ford engine and with the 260 cu in.
Many would say that a large part of the Shelby Cobra’s appeal is its limited availability. Between 1962 to 1968, Carroll Shelby built only 654 small-black Cobras and only 350 big-block cobras. Similarly, there were only 538 1962 Mark II models built.
Because they are so highly coveted, the Shelby Cobra is a popular car for authentic replication. Muscle car hobbyists will often buy AC Cobra replicas from specialty companies or use Cobra car kit to build their own.
The Shelby Cobra is also known for its performance driving capabilities. Despite the smallness of the car, the Cobra is extremely fast. In 1964, the AC Cobra Coupe reach 186 mph on a British motorway.
The Cobra’s zippy nature has also been close to getting into trouble. When the first Shelby Mustang GT 500 was released, the manufacturers advertised the horsepower level at 335. In truth, this estimate was a low shoot, considering the GT 500 had a horsepower capacity of up to 400. The truth is, they lied in order to appease insurance companies.
Carroll Shelby died at age 89. He is not only remembered for the legacy of the Shelby Cobra Vehicle, but also for being an American contender in the European dominated racing world.
Here are some fun facts about the Shelby Cobra: