Live Auctions

Electrified Roadster: Shelby Cobra Kit Car

An electric Shelby Cobra: is this not the greatest insult ever conceived? Well, yes and no. It’s not like some modern-day tech scion decided to flip the proverbial bird to men with gasoline in their veins everywhere and create a mockery of one of America’s greatest performance cars ever built. The truth isn’t nearly as sensational, as according to the seller, the Cobra was built in the 1980s to demonstrate the potential of EV technology. I can only imagine the conniption fits this thing caused when it was rolled out, but as a marketing strategy, the original creator was clearly a few steps ahead of the curve given electrified E-Types and VW Buses are becoming mainstream. Find the Cobra here on craigslist with an asking price of $15,000.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Ian C. for the find. The seller notes this Cobra is a kit originally provided by Classic Motor Carriages Roadsters. Interestingly, if you search this company name, the news isn’t good. It seems a mixture of extremely poor customer service and some low-quality parts are to blame, with most commentary being focused on the lack of response from the business owners when issues arose. Apparently, it got so bad the company moved its headquarters and changed its name to Street Beasts while keeping the management team in place. The bottom line is it’s probably a fine kit for a driver-quality car, but not the one to buy if you’re looking for a replica that can also handle the occasional track day.

The electric conversion isn’t overly detailed in the description, but the must-have controller is accounted for. As I learned in attempting to sell a barn find discovery of 20 Ford / Siemens engines new in the crate, electric motors aren’t worth nearly as much without the controller in place. The seller notes it does need a new battery set, or you could use this as an opportunity to upgrade to a lithium-ion battery pack for Tesla-grade acceleration. Of course, the other option is to strip out that antiquated EV technology and simply build this as the gods intended and drop in a crate engine that will turn this Cobra into the pavement scorcher it was meant to be.

The wheels and tires have already been upgraded to 17×11 Cobra-style aftermarket wheels. The transmission is a four-speed manual hooked up to the DC electric motor via a conversion plate, but the seller contends you can easily modify this to accept a standard internal combustion drivetrain. Included in the sale is a soft top and all factory manuals and brochures from Classic Motor Carriages. Some defects are noted in the fiberglass body, including hairline cracks in places, and there’s also a chip in the rear passenger-side wheel. The paint looks tired in places too, but that could just be bad lighting. A neat project either way – would you take it to the next level of electric drive or pursue a more traditional build?


  1. Howard A Member

    Ol’ Shel is spinning in his grave,,,

    Like 9
    • HuskieSledDog

      Carroll also tuned Dodge Omni’s, pretty sure he just loved fast

      And I have a UQM HD950T motor and BMWi battery pack combo (good for around 750 ft/lbs of instantaneous torque) that might change your mind~~~ would seriously make this GLH-S!!

  2. mike b

    It’s not like it’s a real Cobra so I’m not offended. (Yes, converting an E-type may be criminal.) Part of the equation is why you want a Cobra knock off. If it’s kick in the pants acceleration then maybe electric has an advantage. If it’s to cruise around making look at me noise at fast walk pace then you need at least a supercharged 351 Cleveland if not the full 427 side oiler.

    Like 4
  3. Bud Lee

    DON’T PUT GAS IN THIS ! POUR IT ON IT ! You know the rest .

    Like 17
    • Skorzeny

      Good post Bud!! HaHa!
      This car is a hard, hard, hard pass. If I want an electric car I’ll buy an RC car.

      Like 3
  4. Classic Steel

    Actually the right electric motor and batteries could make this car lightning fast. The weight being light and it’s sport design could be cool.

    Warning…When driving an electric car, never turn onto a dead end street.
    Why? Because you’ll be stuck on a road with No Outlet.

    I guess the payment acceptance for this electric shelby is only to “CHARGE IT”. 😂😂😂😂

    Like 15
    • Chinga-Trailer

      You heard about the guy who went to the store to buy some seasonings and flashlight D cells? He was charged with Salt and Battery . . . hahahaha HAHAHAHA hahahaha

      • Steve Clinton


  5. Steve Clinton

    Is nothing sacred?

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Ahhh yessss,

      Your comment reminds me of a Gahan Wilson cartoon from a 1960s Playboy magazine, showing 2 men peering into a room full of people kneeling on the floor, praying to a big empty alter with a big letter “N” on front of it.

      One of the visitors turns to the other and says; “Is nothing sacred?”

      This one is second to my favorite Gahan Wilson cartoon, also in Playboy, showing a man walking back to his car after paying for gasoline. He sees 10 fingertips and a female head laying next to the car, with the rest of the lady still inside & the windows up, her neck and remaining finger parts showing inside the door window.

      The man says; “Goddamn power windows!”

      Like 1
  6. Steve Clinton

    Listen to it off the mark… …!

    Like 1
  7. CJinSD

    Offer the guy five grand and then put an engine it in when he gets tired of waiting for an ‘EV enthusiast.’

    Like 3
  8. Ian C

    I was trying to decide what kind of sounds to pump out of the sidepipes. Ride of the valkyries? Fake ferrari soundtrack? Honda civic with a fart pipe? Flubber? Sharter sound effect? So many options!

    Like 6
    • Steve Clinton

      How about trading cards on the wheels?

      Like 5
      • Howard A Member

        I did that, just the crummy guys, though.

        Like 1
    • HuskieSledDog

      Like Fred McMurray’s “blub-bluh-blubblub-fart-spurt” Flubber-powered Model T? That would be hilarious!!

  9. Fogline

    I think this is brilliant and where things are going. I have a 69 chevy flatbed I would love to electrify if I could do it affordably. No more polluting the environment when I drive it rarely. No worrying about gas clogging up the carburetor – which is what I am thinking about this morning with the fleet of cars I have sitting around here. And agreed – replace battery pack with lighter li ion. Could make it faster than an original for sure if you wanted to spend the $$.

    Like 1
    • CJinSD

      An EV used rarely does more harm to the environment via the production of its batteries than any little used ICE car, no matter how little pollution control it carries. Ethanal-free real gas is a little more expensive, but it is worth the bother for any carbureted engine that isn’t used daily.

      Like 1
  10. hemidavey

    Oh Lord , NO

    Like 2
  11. Parkerdo


    Like 1
  12. Mike_B_SVT

    I’m on board. $15k plus the cost of batteries. 40 mile range. That will get me to work and back every day, while I look good doing it. Comes with a soft top? Even better! Now I can drive it year round through the 10 month rainy season here in Portland.

    Like 3
  13. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    That is the saddest engine compartment shot I have ever seen on BF.
    Looks like a garbage disposal butted up to the firewall.

    Like 8
  14. Derek

    Good idea. I think that transplants – whether electric or more modern engines – are probably going to be more popular. Keeping older vehicles is going to become more popular as new i/c engine-powered vehicle sales are wound down, and making them a bit cleaner is going to be a part of it.

    Just shouting “NO!” in an Ian Paisley style isnae a viable position.

    Like 1
  15. Steve Clinton

    What the heck is an Ian Paisley style? (And what the heck is isnae?)

    Like 2
  16. Chas358 Chas358

    Coal powered.

    Like 4
  17. Ranco Racing

    I’ve been pondering the idea of electrifying my old K5. I could buy this and transplant the drive train into the Blazer and put my spare 4.6 into the Cobra. Hmmmmm!

  18. Steve Clinton

    Listen to that Cobra….HUM!

    Like 1

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