Spent millions on an original Cobra but can't bring youself to drive the thing? Step this way…
By Cam Tait / Wednesday, 4 January 2023 / Loading comments
Just the other week we were telling you all about the forthcoming AC Cobra GT Roadster – a two-seat sports car with a big 663hp V8 up front. Its maker reckons it’s been in development for three years, despite the fact that it appears to look much the same as the original car. But who are we to complain? In a world where the Mustang name is grafted onto an electric SUV, it’s a major relief to know that AC (which has been indulging in electric propulsion for some time now) still knows how we tick.
It should be a damn sight cheaper than an original Cobra, too, which goes double for any that passed through Carroll Shelby’s workshop. A quick search for Shelby Cobra auction values suggest you’ll need at least several million pounds burning a hole in your pocket to even consider owning one. And the lucky so-and-sos who can (not unsurprisingly) are likely to keep them under lock and key lest they turn a seven-figure investment into an eight-figure exit.
To counter that state of affairs, some dedicated collectors go to the extent of buying a recreation to partner the original car, allowing them to tally up miles on something very much like the 1960s classic, without tanking its value or, God forbid, pranging the bodywork. Of course there are replicas and then there are replicas. Which brings us to the Shelby Cobra CSX4000.
Plainly this isn’t something which has been bolted onto the chassis of a Ford Sierra in someone’s shed. In fact, Shelby would say that the CSX4000 isn’t a replica at all – this is a continuation model. Launched with a production run of 50 to mark the Cobra’s half-centenary, the CSX4000 is intended to look exactly like the genuine article, albeit with minor mechanical and manufacturing improvements to bring it into the 21st century. Braking technology, for instance, has come a long way over the past 50 years, with Shelby ditching the original set-up for racing brakes. It also featured a powder-coated frame, fully independent suspension and a 105-litre racing fuel tank to keep the 7.0-litre Ford V8 fed.
This being an anniversary car means it’s covered in commutative plaques and badges. There’s one on the nose, the steering wheel, centre console and on the engine. We’d rip off the ‘genuine Shelby Cobra 427 S/C’ sticker at the top of the windscreen, though, if only to reduce the chances that someone might think you’re rolling around something that would comfortably by a large house somewhere picturesque.
That ship might have sailed though, because the CSX4000 does look just like an original Shelby Cobra – scuffed Goodyear tyres included – even if it’s available for a fraction of the price. How does £199,950 sound? That’s chump change for the wealthy collector looking to pair it up for the real thing, and not entirely out of reach for those who’ve done well in life but aren’t billionaires. The only downside, you could argue, is that this particular car comes with a fibreglass body, whereas aluminium bodywork – which was offered on continuation cars – would be a more accurate reflection of the original. But fibreglass is going to be far easier (and cheaper) to repair if pranged. All the more reason to drive it like it’s the 1960s, then.
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