Vintage 427 Power! 1966 Shelby Cobra Replica

Jamming an American V8 into a great-handling European sports car makes for irresistible fun, and Carroll Shelby’s Cobra is the king of them all. With the price of real Cobras having shot into the ionosphere by the 1980s, a host of replica manufacturers, and Shelby itself, have offered kits and turn-key Shelby Cobra replicas for far longer than the originals were produced. This 1997 LA Exotics/B&B Roadster example features a Mustang II front suspension, a genuine Ford 9″ rear end, and most significantly, a vintage Ford 427 cid (7.0L) and a proper Ford four-speed “Toploader” transmission. Thanks to reader James for spotting this red rocket here on craigslist where $61,000 will make it yours. That’s about twice the going rate for a run-of-the-mill Cobra replica, but the vintage Ford parts add significant value and bring the authentic experience of the original.

While the true 427 Cobra utilized a single four-barrel carburetor, Ford offered this dual-quad setup in cars like the wicked Fairlane Thunderbolt, and the seller of this Cobra lists casting numbers for motor parts that may hail from the Ford factory performance parts bins. A few years ago a fully dressed “as is” 427 went for about $17,000, and the seller estimates this motor’s (fully built and running) value at $30,000.

The body lines of the B&B body look great and true to the original. The original AC Ace came with a 120 HP four six-cylinder engine. The lovely British roadster would never be the same after a christening by Shelby’s magic V8 hammer.

The instrument array differs only slightly from the original layout, but not in a distracting way. That shifter looks perfect, with the obtuse angle a necessity of packing a monster drivetrain in such a small chassis.

The Ford 9″ rates among the world’s most durable differentials, spinning beneath the NASCAR fleet for decades. Hotchkis trailing arms and other upgrades indicate a serious effort to plant this mighty mite in the corners. While some Cobras found their way to the drag strip, they were built for road racing, and less than stellar handling will disappoint enthusiastic owners. Have you had a close encounter with a real or replica Cobra?

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  1. RayT Member

    Todd, I’ve driven two original Cobras — a 289 and a 427 — and enjoyed them both. More than enough horsepower in either case (I was inexperienced enough that the 427 intimidated the daylights out of me), and wonderful, if somewhat old-fashioned handling from their all-independent suspensions. I have to say this set-up (a solid rear axle, and Mustang II bits in front) might not be quite as nice.

    I also drove an AC Bristol, the Cobra’s predecessor, once. It had a Bristol six-cylinder engine; I don’t think any of these had four-cylinder engines. When the Bristol engine (derived, IIRC, from a prewar BMW design) went out of production, I believe some cars were built with English Ford “sixes” before Ol’ Shel came along.

    Nothing against replicas, as they are the only way many (most?) of us could get into a Cobra without hitting the Powerball. But my own preference, which doesn’t fit everyone, is for holding out for the Real Thing, and not feeling too bad if I can’t have one. I just can’t see a kit coming all that close in the ways that count to me, even if it has a whole bunch of expensive horsepower under the hood.

    Like 7
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Close friend built a beautiful dark blue kit a few years ago and died right after he completed the car. If I had had 60K in the bank that car would be in my garage now . Kit or not, these cars are charter members of the chair and beer in the garage looking at them club. You don’t have to drive them to appreciate them but it sure helps. This is a beauty.

    Like 7
  3. Turbo

    I’m with Ray. As awesome as this car would probably be to drive, I would rather have a ‘real’ car. Not sure how to explain it and not trying to sound like a snob (because I am pretty sure I could not comfortably afford an original), but something about having a mustang II suspended plastic bodied car takes away from the experience. I do give the seller and/or builder credit for the drivetrain. If you just want to get the admiring looks, or experience the insane acceleration, this might be the car for you.

    Like 1
  4. MattR Member

    I usually pass on Cobra replicas but I like this one a lot.

    I have to share this recent news:

    “AC Cars is once again making V-8 Cobras”

    Like 2
  5. Hemidavey

    427 has lots of power and its impressive to tell everyone but the small block is a much better driver. Foot boxes are 50 degrees cooler, exhaust is quieter and the car has better balance. Its easy to to determine they are not fun cars (boy I’m gonna hear a lot on this remark) as you look through the cobra for sale ads, very few have more than 5000 miles on the odometer! A small block with 450 HP is plenty and you will enjoy it more. After driving many examples, thats what I’m building for myself.

    Like 5
  6. Bing

    I bought an American Shelby replica some years back. It had all the handling upgrades, adjustable suspension, top loader, and a 351 Windsor motor. I updated the steering, brakes and installed a couple roll bars and just drove it off and on for ten years. I had a blast with it, and I learned not to drive it on errands as whenever I came out, there were folks hanging around the car. It didn’t help that I kept it at my ranch which is 10 miles from Leesburg Texas home of Carroll. He visited the area a lot and often folks thought It might be one of his rides. I did see Carroll once, pulling into a local lunch place, he was driving a Porche roadster. He spent his final years in our area investing in land and cattle. What a local legend.. Couple years before his passing he donated a complete automotive shop to the local community college that had a course in automotive engeneering. The price tag was north of 1.0 MM.

    Like 6
  7. Karl

    Boy I bet this would be a FUN car to drive! With the present under pinnings I question the handling but not one question on the fun factor!

    Like 1
  8. Chas358 Chas358 Member

    To borrow a license plate from a past project car…


  9. TimM

    I’m sure this doesn’t handle or even drive close to any original Cobra but this is the only way most people could get into a car like this!! With a 427 and a four speed top loader hooked to a nine inch rear this car with the amount it weighs in at would definitely be a fun ride and one hell of a grocery getter!!!

    Like 1
  10. Rob S

    Nice!! I have an older ERA kit. With a solid lifter heavy duty 66 427 under the hood. Let me tell ya, there no better thrill than a cobra with a big block!! It would scare the pants off most car guys.
    No, it doesn’t carve a corner like a 289 but boy it goes like stink!!
    Best part, i can drive it anywhere without worry that some clown will door ding it, get rock chips In the paint or worse. Like Ol Shel put it, i built these things to drive, not hold down your papers in the wind. Enjoy them before you can’t

  11. walt

    I always wanted 1 before I die or a GT 40 [ultimate] but had 2 face reality, so I have satisfied myself with a 34 ford roadster w/51 flathead & a 5spd stick. Drive it couple times a week [in the fast lane], no trailer/garage queen, a real joy 2 drive & a head turner

    Like 1

    how do you contact the guy, the ad says don’t email? but there is no phone number to call or text like the ad says?

    • MattR Member

      Hit the ‘reply’ button on upper left (of desktop display).. there is an option to call or text.

    • Justin

      I am Justin the seller, you can contact me at 903-274-7647

      Like 1
  13. Justin LaHood

    Thank you Todd for posting this, I was told by a friend on Facebook that it was posted here, I love reading the comments and would be more than happy to answer any questions about the car.

    Like 2
  14. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Hi Justin. Always great to hear from the owner / seller! You have an amazing car. We would love to hear from the new owner here as well. Best wishes with the sale!

    Like 1

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