Last revised: 26-1-2009

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AC Shelby Cobra 1962-1967: the serpent icon


For some strange reason machines can have sex-appeal and its hard to think of a car with more sex-appeal than the AC Shelby Cobra. Without established qualities like having a design by a well-known artist, innovative engineering, all-conquering history in competition or even commercial success the Cobra managed to steal the hearts of all boys and men with an interest in exciting cars. The most amazing about this is that it reached this acclaim years after it was taken out of production.
The Cobra is a classic, but in a very special way. It's enjoyed for its dynamics and its appeal rather than its history. That instinctive appeal combined with the relatively simple design has resulted in numerous copies and reproductions over the last decades. Maybe you can regard it as the definitive "fun-car", a machine to be enjoyed like a roller coaster instead of a mere conveyance. It's save to say the number of copies and reproductions of the Cobra that are around largely outnumber the original and this very likely the main reason for its fabled status and its sky-high value today.

This posthumous success has somewhat shrouded the intriguing origins of this fascinating car. Its history can be traced back to an Italian design from 1949 and includes one of Britain's oldest car manufacturers, the typically British cottage industry and of course one enterprising Texan racing driver. To give you an insight into those origins this tour will take you around the different stages in the history of the Cobra and show you some of the original cars of which no more than an odd thousand, hardly identical, have been produced over the years. Enjoy!

...continue by clicking the arrows pointing right...