Cars & Racing | 31 July 2015Last-Batch Shelby Cobras Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Just like that, in 1971, Carroll Shelby was no longer a manufacturer, and Shelby American was out of the new car business. The performance car world had changed immensely in the eight years since Shelby hit the ground running with his first Cobra, as had the world at large. It was a time we will never see the likes of again, when an underdog with a great idea and remarkable dedication could take the world by storm. Below is an excerpt from the book Shelby Cobra: The Snake that Conquered the World, showcasing some images and text about those last days of the Cobra. The best way to appreciate a Cobra is to use it, and vintage rallies offer a great venue to do just that. Here is a shot from the 2009 Copperstate 1,000-mile rally. That’s Michael Hammer’s red car, CSX3239; Chris MacAllister’s green car, CSX3253; and your author’s trusty black 427 CSX3134 at the end of Cobra Row. Source – Shelby Cobra: The Snake that Conquered the World You say you like your rallies to be Cobra-only? Well, then you’d have loved the 2009 Cobra Battleground 1,000-mile event. Fifteen original Cobras joined in, quite a sight considering one rarely sees even one on the road. On the left, from front to back: CSX3288, CSX2306, CSX2497, CSX3232, CSX2316, COX6111, and CSX2060. Front to back on the right side are CSX2401, CSX2321, CSX2571, CSX3102, CSX2490, CSX2419, and CSX2095. Centered in the rear is CSX2310. Source – Shelby Cobra: The Snake that Conquered the World On the track, with Shelby American no longer campaigning its own Cobra race cars, and other teams moving on as well, Cobras made the move from professional race teams to privateer teams and amateur club racing, such as SCCA events. They remained highly competitive in this arena, although now a lot less like sharks and more like a fish in a much larger pond. By 1970, even the SCCA National Runoffs were devoid of Cobras in A/Production competition, although many Cobras continued to race for years to come in smaller events. All of this left the original 998 Cobras in a peculiar position. While they were antiquated and inferior in many ways compared to newer cars from the competition, they were also still the cars that set performance benchmarks that nobody had been able to exceed. And a lot of their beauty was because they weren’t refined, safe, comfortable “sporting” cars; they were pure, unfiltered, scare-your-passengers silly, competition-bred sports cars. Like many other times in history, in hindsight “progress” doesn’t always end up giving us something better than what we had. For many, the Cobra was and remained the ultimate sports car. Many owners were willing to live with the Cobra’s shortcomings after comparing what they had to newer offerings, and those who always lusted after one often found it difficult to find a good one and a willing seller. From the front CSX3275 shows just how mean a Cobra can look with the right stance and black-painted wheels. This one has been lowered slightly all around and it certainly appears menacing, even without the often-seen added roll bar and sidepipes. Source – Darin Schnabel, courtesy of RM / Shelby Cobra: The Snake that Conquered the World Auctions CSX3330 is an unmodified, original late 427 that still wears its factory-applied British Racing Green paint. Source – Shelby Cobra: The Snake that Conquered the World Here’s another proper, unmodified original street car that also happens to retain its original 428-cubic-inch engine: CSX3282. Note the Sunburst wheels fitted with original Goodyear Blue Dot tires. Although no longer safe to drive on, originality freaks go nuts for these nearly extinct tires. Source – Shelby Cobra: The Snake that Conquered the World This shot shows you just how “wide” a wide-hip 427 Cobra is. With stock wheels and tires, there is plenty of extra room under the rear flares, an issue most owners quickly addressed. Source – Shelby Cobra: The Snake that Conquered the World Shelby Cobra: The Snake that Conquered the World Author: Colin Comer Foreword by: Carroll Shelby Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered the World In 2011, Shelby enthusiast Colin Comer wrote Shelby Cobra 50 Years; the book met with rave reviews, including Esquire magazine naming it “the greatest car book of all time.” Shortly after its publication, Carroll Shelby and Phil Remington–the two most important men behind the Shelby Cobra–passed away. In the wake of this loss comes this special collector’s edition of Shelby Cobra 50 Years, Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered the World. The book recalls the early 1960s when Carroll Shelby, a Texas chicken farmer turned champion race driver, had the audacity to think he could start his own car manufacturing company. To further emphasize the gargantuan proportions of his confidence, Shelby decided his company would manufacture nothing but ultra-high-performance sports cars, beginning with the landmark Cobra, introduced in 1962. To the amazement of everyone, except Ol’ Shel’ himself, Shelby Automobiles succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, building cars that would provide benchmarks for performance that stand to this day and winning world championships in the process. Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered the World is a complete history of Shelby’s Cobra sports cars and firsthand accounts from the people who made the car the legend it is today. It begins with the events that led up to Shelby’s decision to build a high-performance sports car, continues with the story of the production Cobra street cars and racecars, and wraps up with Shelby’s continuation cars and an all new chapter with tributes to Carroll Shelby from Chuck Cantwell, John Morton, Henry Ford III, Kati Remington-Blackledge, and others, as well as new and updated material. This special collector’s edition includes stunning poster-sized gatefolds featuring artwork by Hector Cadamartori and is an officially licensed Carroll Shelby product. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.