Ford's Living Legends series, already consisting of the reborn GT (40) and new Mustang, looks set to become a triumvirate when a modern version of the fearsome Shelby Cobra is unleashed.

Ford's Living Legends series, already consisting of the reborn GT (40) and new Mustang, looks set to become a triumvirate when a modern version of the fearsome Shelby Cobra is unleashed.


The same team that designed the GT, headed up by highly-respected design chief J Mays, worked closely with Carroll Shelby - the mastermind behind the original - to create a modern tribute to the iconic 1965 Shelby Cobra 427. But while the looks are unmistakably Cobra, it is most certainly not a carbon copy - there are enough of those in the replica industry.


CARtoday.com reported last year that embattled British company AC Cars, chaired by South African Alan Lubinsky, had resumed assembly operations in Surrey after clinching a deal to build replicas of the Cobra 427 for the US market. The agreement with Shelby Automobiles called for the annual delivery of around 50 aluminium body shells mounted on traditional steel chassis for sale through Shelby's network of more than 20 dealers.


But not if Ford had anything to do with it… Unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show, the Ford Shelby Cobra may be on showrooms as early as 2005. The body is a mixture of the bulbous curves made famous by the original and modern blunt edges and sharp detailing. The interior features a sharp-edged dashboard and plenty of carbon fibre to keep weight down. The Shelby Cobra will not be a show-off cruiser, but a serious performance car.


The Cobra has the same basic underpinnings as the new GT, but the engine is moved to the front to have the classic front engine/rear-wheel drive Cobra layout. But you won't find a V8 under the bonnet. In its place is an all-new 6,4-litre V10 producing 451 kW and 697 N.m of torque... without super- or turbocharging.


The zero to 100 km/h blitz takes less than four seconds and top speed is in the region of 305 km/h. The mere fact that Ford is willing to talk about performance credentials is a good indication that the car will make in into reality.


Ford bosses say that a positive reception at Detroit would ensure production. When it does go on sale, expect a sticker in the region of $55 000 (R385 000)... and fierce rivalry with the new Chevy Corvette C6. Now if only Uncle Henry would build the car in right-hand drive and bring it to South Africa… it would almost certainly spark muscle car mania on South African roads.

Original article from Car