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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2005, 10:21 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Middle Of Nowhere, USA
Cobra Make, Engine: ERA 428 FE 4-speed CR "TL" heavy spline
Posts: 3,907
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The subject has a web site at, that has a Cobra Story with nice things to say about ERA Cobras - it made my day, being a ERA Cobra owner and provided input that I was not aware of relating to the Shelby Story. I'm re-posting it here. Eight hours to build the first Cobra?

"There's little doubt, the Cobra was Carroll Shelby's 'Dream Car'. He envisioned a lightweight, tube-frame, limited production car with a big V8 even before it reached the draft board in 1964. He approached General Motors but, they flatly turned him down stating “they already had the Corvette.” So it happened, when racing in Europe, Shelby found out AC Cars Ltd.( which built the AC Bristol) was going belly-up so, Shelby approached Ford with his idea. Since they had just developed a 221 cubic inch small block V8 (which later became the 260 and 289) and had suffered several humiliating defeats at the race tracks...the timing was perfect.

It took Shelby & Dean Moon just eight hours, after the A.C. arrived at the Airport at Los Angeles, to build to first Cobra and have it up and running. Cobra chassis and frames continued to be built in England while the chassis components were supplied by other sub-contractors. Each Cobra built received the Shelby V.I.N. number “CSX;” (which stood for Carroll Shelby Export) and so the legend began. The next series of Cobra's did not exactly evolve 1-2-3. The first 427 Cobra was built by the end of 1964 and entered the race at Sebring but, Ken Miles managed to crash & hit the only tree within 15 miles of the racetrack. This was six months before the official prototype was actually built. On January 27, 1965, Shelby officially unveiled the 427 Cobra at a special press conference at Riverside International Raceway. The car was quickly heralded by the press. It was described as the “Ultimate”; high-performance car and if effect fulfilled Shelby's desire to build the fastest production car in the world (quite an accomplishment in just four short years.) The 427 coil spring Cobra represented the full potential of a lightweight, aluminum bodied sportscar. Just in the Federal bureaucracy- from that time forward- would never permit a faster car to exist.

For 12 years Ferrari 'owned' the prestigious World Manufacturers Championship but, it was Carroll Shelby who entered and won it for America in 1965. By October 1964 Shelby developed “The Cobra II” cars and installed the now famous 427 side-oiler with aluminum cyl. heads, water pump and magnesium manifold. These cars were later dubbed “427 Cobras.” This car was developed in only three months and to the credit of those involved not a single change was made by the time they were placed into production. By 1966, Corvette was introducing the 427 so, it benefited Shelby to 'compete' by offering the same displacement in his cars. No two Cobras were exactly the same between colors and options, as one could be made with a hood scoop, another with side exhausts and another without. They were truly 'custom made'. The 427 Cobras eventually evolved into the 427 S/C (semi-competition or street/comp.).These had blown out flares at the rear, front oil cooler scoop, side-exhaust cut-outs and comp. gas cap, roll bar, scoop and quick jacking pads. The S/C's also had a 42 gallon gas tank, front sway bar, and Halibrand magnesium race wheels. Bear in mind, you COULD order one any way you wanted.

These cars quickly appeared at the track and won SCCA "A/ Production”; Class from 1965 through 1968 and again in 1973. The fastest car ever to be offered to the general public...and all for a paltry $9,500. It's been said that “if they drove 427 Cobras in hell....everyone would be dying to get in.” Shelby went on to build one for himself and claimed it did 182 mph. It was clocked zero to sixty in 3.8 seconds.

Our car was originally discovered in Turlock, California in 1989, under a specific acquisition order by the heir to the National Inquirer Magazine fortune. Prior to purchase we diligently researched the very best company and discovered ERA as the only manufacturer that followed <I>exacting measurements</I> and standards to the original. After searching all across America for months we located this car. It was built bolt-for-bolt to "exacting standards" by a doctor who actually had an "original" 3000 series '66 Shelby. He paid $27,000 for the original (built) motor alone. After flying to CA. and surveying it , we purchased and shipped it , by private-enclosed transport back to Palm Beach (Manalapan), where it remained, and was used sparingly for several years."
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