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Monday, January 22, 2007

Nasty, Nasty

Click on any of the pictures to see larger

This is Carroll Shelby's personal 1966 Shelby Cobra supercharged 427 "Super Snake," that yesterday set an auction record for an American automobile, selling for US$5.5 million after a wild and fiercely competitive battle between two determined bidders at Barrett-Jackson's 2007 Scottsdale "Event" in Scottsdale, Arizona.

"It's a special car. It would do just over three seconds to sixty [mph], forty years ago," the 84-year-old Shelby said. "I killed a buzzard with it. Nasty, nasty."

The 800-horsepower car once had a twin, built for comedian Bill Cosby but wrecked by a subsequent owner. Shelby said he drove this one around for years. It was purchased by collector Ron Pratt of Chandler, AZ.

If you can't live without one of your own, Superformance builds modern Cobras (minus the coveted name) under license from Shelby—in keeping with tradition, sold sans engine; shoehorn in one of your choice. (Lots of nice pictures at the link, too, if you like that kind of thing.)



Blogger Ernest Theisen said...

That is lovely. I went to the Superformance site. They don't show the price with engine. They don't mention trade-ins. I just washed my 98 F-150. I guess I'll call them.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Carol Shelby's SuperSnake? Owning that would have to be like own Cartier-Bresson's Leica, I should imagine. How much fun would it be to drive that car?

5:20 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

You have to go to one of their dealers to get prices. I think it's like $60k without an engine, something in that neighborhood. I'll never own one, but I find it great fun to think about.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

I think it's fun just looking at the pictures!


6:25 PM  
Blogger Ernest Theisen said...

Mike I'll never own one either. I was thinking about getting several of my pals to go in on one without the engine. We could take turns putting it in our driveways and just sit in it. I agree with Chris. Can you see parking it in the Safway parking lot as you run in for a 6 pack?

6:31 PM  
Blogger btrancho said...

It was 1964, I was 16 years old and my mother let me take my 13 year old brother on the Long Island Railroad out to Brigehampton for the SCCA races (it was another time altogether). The only Cobra in the GT class wipes the floor with everything else and cruises to an easy win. Zooming into the pit after the race, the driver climbed out of the car, removed his helmet and unzipped his Nomex to reveal an immaculate seersucker suit, button down shirt and knit tie. Damn, I loved those Cobras...

7:18 PM  
Blogger stanco said...

Always loved these since a kid in the '60's, and always imagined they purred like... a sports car. Rude awakening when I moved to CA many moons later and finally got to see (and hear one). Loud, real loud!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Mike, first you suggest that the best web sites should charge money (and yours is one of the best), then you say that you would never do such a thing, and then you start thinking about paying a few million for a car.

So, which is it?

(OK, yeah, I'm kidding.)


11:20 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Such a car with an automatic transmission? That's a little surprising.
As Stanco said, the noise from these is nearly overwhelming. A good example of great loud noise can be heard in the car chase in Bullit, it's on Youtube. It's extremely realistic.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

maybe I'm not familiar with Cobras but what the Hell is that slushbox lever doing in the center console of that bottom picture? If you order one of those with an automatic you have no business owning one.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

Dude, he didn't "order one." He built them. This is Carroll Shelby's Shelby Cobra.

(I was kinda surprised it had an automatic too, though.)


9:27 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Being the owner and designer the same person, there probably is a good reason for the auto transmission thought. Having a 800 HP engine, it probably works more like a drag race car or one of those Icelandic cross country racers, you just step on the gas and try to keep the thing going straight with both hands. The auto transmission makes a lot more sense in that kind of race. The amount of torque you get from such an engine probably overcomes any marginal gain you could get from a manual transmission.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

My bad... didn't realize that picture was also of Carroll's original; I thought it was a pic from the kit car site...different backgrounds and such.

Actually I would be more concerned about controlling my engine speed in the turns than any torque gain. I'd hate to be dealing with lag from the auto. Oh well, it's Carroll's car - who am I to argue?

10:27 AM  
Blogger H_Leighton said...

"Leaving it in the parking lot while you run in for a six pack"

With the cost of the car and the cost of insurance and the interest it will always cause with the boys in blue, I would never let a six pack near the car!

3:17 AM  
Blogger Bernard Piechal said...

super-sports car with ability to make it to 60 in less than four seconds with... automatic gearbox. Is it possible outside the States?

3:19 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

I think Max has it right. A 427 is about as close as you can get to riding around on a fire-breathing engine bareback. You probably get to 60 by mashing on the throttle and wrestling with torque steer and the back end hopping all over the place. After all, it's 800 horsepower in a car roughly the weight of a Volkswagon Beetle. It can't be easy to handle.

Of course Carroll Shelby won LeMans, among other thing, so I assume he knows how to drive....


6:53 AM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

P.S. Take a look at some of the videos on the Superformance site and notice how often the drivers spin out.


6:55 AM  

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