AC Cobra 427 Replica
June 30, 2008 7:45 AM
In 1961, when legendary American race car driver Carroll Shelby learned that British auto manufacturer AC Cars lost their source for the engines used in their two-seat roadster, he sat down and wrote them a letter. Shelby proposed that AC continue building their chassis for a Shelby sports car, to be powered by an American V8. Even though he had no idea what engine that might be, Shelby airmailed his letter, and AC quickly climbed on board. According to legend, the name "Cobra" came to Shelby in a dream; he just knew it was right. After discovering Ford's new small block V-8, Shelby went to work, preparing to shoehorn it into the chassis as soon as he took delivery in February of 1962. Within eight hours, Shelby's new Cobra was on the road, and looking to outpace a Corvette. This first Cobra made its sensational debut under the Ford banner at the New York Auto Show in April, and production slowly but surely got underway shortly thereafter.
Within the next month, Shelby opened a shop in Venice, California to produce the Cobra roadster, the fastest production car ever made at that time, capable of 0 - 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The next couple of years were spent in a constant state of development, as Shelby strove to beat Ferrari on the racetrack. After Cobra won LeMans in June of 1964, Shelby revealed the 427 Cobra prototype in November. Powered by Ford's infamous "side-oiler," the standard production model attained a top speed of 163 mph with 485 bhp. This Cobra was so fast, that it is sometimes credited as the reason behind the implementation of national speed limits in the UK.
Jay fell in love with the Cobra as a young man, and knew he had to have one. But at the time, he couldn't afford an original, and so decided to buy this exact replica, built by Mark Gerrish, instead. And because of his need for speed, Jay replaced its side-oiler with one of his favorite engines of all time, Ford's SOHC overhead cam 427. According to Jay, there's no contemporary car that can match the Cobra's raw power. After owning this one for 23 years, Jay still feels the same thrill as the very first time he laid eyes on it.