When it comes to racing, the Shelby AC Cobra is among the most renowned race cars. If you’re into racing, there’s a good chance you know this classic Cobra. Spawned in the early ’60s, the Shelby AC Cobra has been involved in countless races and has won thousands of honors, and rightly so. It’s got everything a sports enthusiast would need: A powerful engine, great speed, and responsive handling, among many more. What most people don’t know though is the car’s history.
This story of the eminent Shelby AC Cobra begins with the creator himself: Carroll Shelby (1923-2012). He is the man who is responsible for the design of the Cobra – the most outstanding feature of the race car. Prior to building a car that would make him a legend, Carroll Shelby was already a popular racer. And before that, he worked as a World War II flight instructor.
In 1961, Shelby got hired to build one of the first Ford-powered race cars that would eventually take part on the Grand Prix circuit. And the result? The Cobra Automobile. After conceiving the design, the Cobra was developed by Ford Motor Company and made its first debut in 1962.
The Shelby AC Cobra came with a design that inhabited the AC Ace chassis and was equipped with a prevailing V8 engine under the hood, which was given to Mr. Shelby by Ford. Fun fact: The Ace’s design got its inspiration all the way from Italy , from Ferrari’s 166 MM Barchetta model – another sports car that was very famous at the time. From then on, the AC Cobra legend began, and the Cobra evolved into the great collectible it is today.
Inspired by Italy’s Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, the Shelby AC Cobra was a great racecar that rivaled the ever-so-famous Chevy Corvette. Today, so many of these Cobras are available in the market, with that same great sleek design, the same racing vibe, same speed, and today, a great value.
The Shelby AC Cobra Comes At Price That Will Leave A Smile On Your Face
During its production years, the Shelby AC Cobra came with a huge price tag, especially considering that it came with a brand-new ford engine and that fact that it was probably the only sports car that went head-to-head with a Chevrolet Corvette .
In fact, Shelby has sold some of the most expensive cars in history, and the value only got greater as time went by. The most expensive Shelby ever auctioned was a 1966 CSX 3015, which was one of two Super Snake Cobras ever produced, and one created exclusively for Mr. Shelby. That sports car was sold for $5.3 million, and that was back in 2007.
Today, the Shelby AC Cobra model could sell for as much as $2 million, and depending on its condition, it can need deeper pockets. With such a huge legacy, the Shelby Cobra is extremely popular among collectors, most of who don’t seem to mind the price tag that comes with them. The Cobra replicas, on the other hand, have become some of the most affordable cars in the market for folks who can’t afford to shell out a couple of millions just for an AC-inspired vehicle with a Ford Windsor V8 engine.
Most recently, a Shelby AC Cobra Replica with just under 6 thousand miles on the odometer was listed and sold for about $58,000 on bringatrailer.com last month. Whether you’re into the much older Shelby sports cars or the newer backdraft racing cobra replicas, you should still enjoy the Cobra’s racing heritage. The best part about these Cobra race cars is that they are very durable and well-preserved.
The Classic Shelby Has A Rich Racing History
One thing we will always remember about the Cobra is its long racing history. As we stated earlier, this Cobra was originally developed with AC and was propelled by a Windsor V8 engine supplied by Ford.
Built and designed for the racing world, the Cobra 289 roadster came equipped with all the bells and whistles that allowed it to take on the challenges of the racetrack, including the aerodynamic exterior styling, suspension system, great tires, and many more. From 1961 to around 1965, the Shelby Cobra was fitted with smaller block engines. The larger clock engines were introduced in 1965 and used through 1967.
By 1965, the Cobra 289 was already becoming a popular name in racing, and thanks to the newer and bigger clock engines, every driver in a Shelby Cobra was confident on the racing circuit and guaranteed to win. While the bigger engine was much desirable, it was heavier than the small block, which could propel the car to speeds of up to 150 mph with a curb weight of just 2,000 pounds. In due course, the Shelby Cobras’ chassis and suspension underwent revisions to improve its performance – something that kept the Cobra heritage alive to this very day.