If you like cars, how can you not like the 1964 Shelby Cobra? To many others and myself, it is one of the ultimate vintage sports cars. It is the perfect mergence of traditional European sports design and vintage Detroit muscle. The 64 Cobra also has an AC cars/Carroll Shelby racing pedigree that stands among the most legendary in racing history.
My”Hands On”, Road Tough diecast model is one of my favorites in the office. It is not an expensive model and can be purchased usually between twenty and forty dollars in new condition. I rate the detail within the model between a six and seven. The roadster style model is painted in the Factory color, Navy Blue and has the two piece traditional cast center forged barrel multi spoke stepped five lug wheels typical of the sixties Cobras. The engine is the traditional Ford 427 with dual four-barrel carburetors. It has the Ford 427 emblem on the front fenders and the Ford Cobra emblem on the trunk. It is notable on this model that the row bar behind the driver’s seat goes through to the trunk.
Evolution of the Cobra in 64
It was in 1964 that Carroll Shelby started working on the 427 engine after the failure of the aluminum 390ci V8 on the racetrack. With the bigger 450hp engine, many thought it was too much for the Cobra to handle. In fact, Shelby’s project had to have the body stretched and widened along with improvements to the chassis and suspension. Soon after, Shelby decided the Ford Cobra needed wider tires and rims as well. It was in 1964 the Shelby Ford Cobra came to be the stylish monster we think of today.
Popularity Begins and Legend is Born
With the innovations in 64, approximately 350 Ford 427 Cobras were produced between 1965 and 1967 with most being street drivable cars with “racing packages” provided for the novice race car driver. Starting in the 1970’s, companies sprung up and began producing replicas of the 427 Cobra. In the 80’s Carroll Shelby started making what is known as continuation cars with modern upgrades.
Okay, I saved the most important bits of information for last. What we all really love about Shelby Mark 3’s. Those voluptuous fenders, side pipes, and the “saga” of all those chassis numbers! 0-60 MPH under four seconds, and 12 second quarter mile performance is pretty cool too.
For more about the Shelby Cobra, check out the following links.
Car and Driver archives: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/1965-shelby-cobra-427-road-test
*All photos were taken using the 1 18 Road Tough Shelby Cobra 427.