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Kirkham Motorsports

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Old 03-22-2022, 05:17 AM
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Default When Were Slabsides Invented

When was the derogatory phrase Slabside first used to describe the 260 & 289 Cobra's? I have been reading through my literature on Cobra's that spans from Sports Car Graphic Magazine, May 1962 to Sports & Exotic Car March 2014 and nothing, none of the writers in books or magazines used the term! The Sports & Exotic article is a fun one, since they tested two cars owned by one lucky owner, a BEX Bristol powered Ace, plus a COX Cobra, COX6057, better known to us as The Cobra In The Bedroom! Be carful looking that up on your search engine, besides COX6057, you will find other Cobra's in bedrooms that might give you night mares!

The article that got me thinking about the above question, was in Car And Driver December 1991. Apparently, the editor had earlier that year lamented that all original Cobra's were and I quote, "sealed in plastic and locked in bank vaults," because of their worth, $225,000 for a small block to over $400,000 for a big block. A small block owner named David Felestein said he would bring his up to Michigan so the writers could thrash it. Long story short, when they hit the border, they encountered Wizard of OZ weather. Hiding under an overpass, with no top, driver and passengers wrapped in plastic, while a tornado was somewhere in the vicinity, but they made it, and the test went forward the next day! I like the drivers quote about small block Cobra's, The writer said, "Cobra owners fall neatly into two groups: those that covet leaf-spring cars and those who worship big-blocks. 'I'm a small-block guy,' Felstein said. 'For me, the leaf-spring cars are Bo Dereks, the 427s are Dolly Partons. Besides, the entire Shelby American legend --- the 'Hey Little Cobra', the Daytona Coupes, the FIA World Championship driven by Gurney and Bondurant - the whole shebang was done with small-block Cobra's'."
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Old 03-22-2022, 05:35 AM
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Slabside? WOKE
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Old 03-22-2022, 10:35 AM
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I believe the descriptor "slabside" was not used as a derogatory term for the car but rather a descriptive modifier referencing the shape of various body locations on the sides of the car.
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Last edited by eschaider; 03-22-2022 at 06:34 PM.. Reason: Spelling & Grammar
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Old 03-22-2022, 11:06 AM
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I believe it was somewhere around 64 when they came out with the fender flares on the Cobra. Cars built prior, without the flares, were referred to as "slab sides" because they looked flatter on the sides then cars with flares. IIRC the flares got even larger looking with the MKIII big block bodies. I never took it as derogatory or meant to demean the cars, just highlight an important difference. I do not believe there was any big block cars that were slab sides from the factory...if one exists it was an alteration.
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Last edited by msinc; 03-23-2022 at 07:43 AM..
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Old 03-22-2022, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
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... I do not believe there was any big block cars that were slab sides form the factory...if one exists it was an alteration.
I think the closest you will get to slabside nomenclature for the 427 cars is, "narrow hip".
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Old 03-22-2022, 06:40 PM
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It's a term out of the replica world, not used in the original world until very recently. It tends to be derogatory to old school owners as well as inaccurate.
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Old 03-22-2022, 08:15 PM
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OK, I feel the need to jump in, as I've never liked the term "slabside".
To me, it's not something that sits comfortably with an early (260/289) Cobra. I have always used the term "roadster".
So....I grabbed the easiest-to-hand relevant publication on my desk, the Brooklands "Shelby Cobra Gold Portfolio, 1962-1969" and I turn to the first road test there,
which is John Christy's test of the 260 Cobra. Christy describes the car as "the pearlescent yellow roadster". No mention anywhere of "slabside".
So, "roadster" from day #1

Cheers!
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Old 03-22-2022, 10:09 PM
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What does Slabside? Woke mean? All Cobra's will woke you out of a sound sleep, even with under car exhaust!
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Old 03-22-2022, 10:12 PM
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Funny thing, all big block and AC289 Cobra's use the same trunk, hood and the doors and sides between the front and rear flares as the small blocks! Cheers, Dennis
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Old 03-23-2022, 10:58 PM
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Hey Glen, look at the Brooklands book again. They messed up, they have Road & Track, September 1962 first, then Sports Car Graphic With May 1962 Christy's article second. You can also tell by the colors, Christy drove CSX2000 when it was still natural aluminum, (or is that aluminum?) Plus you can see where Christy painted Shelby front and back. R&T drove the Yellow Dean painted CSX2000, with the winged Shelby AC Cobra badges. Still a fun book, that every Cobra enthusiast should have! Cheers, Dennis

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Old 03-24-2022, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpoon PV2 View Post
Hey Glen, look at the Brooklands book again. They messed up, they have Road & Track, September 1962 first, then Sports Car Graphic With May 1962 Christy's article second. You can also tell by the colors, Christy drove CSX2000 when it was still natural aluminum, (or is that aluminum?) Plus you can see where Christy painted Shelby front and back. R&T drove the Yellow Dean painted CSX2000, with the winged Shelby AC Cobra badges. Still a fun book, that every Cobra enthusiast should have! Cheers, Dennis
Think you meant “alumin i um” Dennis. Please get it right!
Dek
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Old 03-24-2022, 12:25 PM
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I see....you are asking about the term....not the car.....I doubt if anyone intended "slabside" to be derogatory....... in any case, I think they are beautiful and even more so in person.

There was Concours at Kirkland WA. a few years ago and most of the significant Cobras were there......and a black early 260 was there and it was achingly beautiful....

If I was buying/building a new one, it is exactly what I would buy.....with a 260....... and wire wheels...
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Old 03-24-2022, 12:33 PM
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While I understand the desire of some folks to be able to make a distinction among the varous body forms / features, the 'slabside' moniker never made any sense to me. There's nothing about the sides of any Cobra that remind me of 'slabs'. 'nuff said.
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Old 03-24-2022, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bartruff1 View Post
There was Concours at Kirkland WA. a few years ago and most of the significant Cobras were there......and a black early 260 was there and it was achingly beautiful....

If I was buying/building a new one, it is exactly what I would buy.....with a 260....... and wire wheels...
I agree, the 260 street cars are gorgeous. Search for my post on Otto/Peter Werlin's CSX2052.

CSX2052 at Shelby American Collection
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Old 03-24-2022, 09:49 PM
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I love the 260s, nice to see one that still has the winged badges! I was just looking at Hawk Cars in the UK, besides the small block Cobra and the 2.0 Ace, they now have the 2.6 ace, which is the car that became CSX2000. Not much of a fan of Yellow, but it would be pretty cool! Of course, there are shops that can coat fiberglass to look like aluminum! Who knows, maybe just maybe! Cheers, Dennis
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Old 03-25-2022, 04:11 AM
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@Bartruff1 I believe this is the Cobra (I know it was @ the Concours in Kirkland) you saw, it is regularly serviced at a friends shop, my 427 car was there and asked if I could get the car together for a couple pictures. The owner said that fine, just don't show the lic. plate, he told me the story on his car, but I'm not allowed to discuss it without his permission. Yes, a beautiful example. Lets see if the photo will post right side up, Cheers Tom.
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Old 03-25-2022, 05:48 AM
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I'm wondering why those that prefer the 260s wouldn't rather have the 289 HiPo version, instead?
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Old 03-25-2022, 07:25 AM
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I'm wondering why those that prefer the 260s wouldn't rather have the 289 HiPo version, instead?
While not responding to the engine option, nor cooling aspect (steering, etc.), I am quite drawn to the simple, uninterrupted lines of the early bodies with no side vents. Pure original, unrefined beauty.

Brent
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Old 03-25-2022, 09:14 AM
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Larry, while I usually agree with you about 110% , but on this I'll have to disagree. I don't believe that it is a term out of the replica world. I've been a fan of the Cobra since it's inception and I can't for the life of me understand how it is derogatory or inaccurate. I believe that it was (not officially) used to differentiate between the 427 and the 260/289 body styles which are strikingly different, and makes sense. They were both advertised as Roadsters. "Roadster defines a vehicle that has an open top, two doors, two seats, and is made for sport.

I think old Billy Shakespeare had stuff like this in mind when he penned "Much Ado about Nothing".

John O




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It's a term out of the replica world, not used in the original world until very recently. It tends to be derogatory to old school owners as well as inaccurate.
Larry
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Old 03-25-2022, 10:09 AM
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Well "slabside" doesn't really describe it accurately, but maybe we could try a different terminology like "flat-edged wheel-flared"? Maybe that doesn't roll off the tongue as easily though.
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