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Watch this Cobra rebuild live at the Rand Show

Industry news
Johannesburg – Members of the Cobra Club will be rebuilding a Backdraft Cobra, starting from the bare chassis you see below, as part of the Route 66 motoring section at the 2017 Rand Show, on a Nasrec from 14-23 April.

This is an earlier model Cobra replica by Backdraft that’s been through a body off restoration by Cobra specialist Paul de Klerk of The Snake Pit.

“We’ll be arriving with a freshly painted chassis and body, all the suspension and trim and, of course, the engine," he said, “and we’ll be doing all the work in our own special 'workshop' in Hall 5, just as it would have happened when Carroll Shelby built the original Cobras from kits that were sent from AC Cars in England, back in the 1960s.”

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In 1962 Texas chicken farmer Carroll Shelby shoehorned a small-block Ford V8 into a cute little British sports car called the AC Ace and called the resulting evil-tempered creation the AC Cobra. He talked Ford and AC into supplying engines and cars, and began assembling Cobras in a garage in California.

In the early days, so the story goes, there was just one example in existence; each time Shelby lent it to a magazine for a road test, he would respray it a different colour, so that the publications and their readers would think the car was in full production!

The Cobra had a phenomenal power-to-weight ratio and soon began winning sports-car races. By the time production ended in 1968 little more than 1000 had been made, but the car’s cult status was assured, and tens of thousands of glass-fibre replicas have since been built all around the world.

The Rand Show car has BMW suspension, steering and brakes; its chassis and suspension components have been powder-coated in black, while the body colour is expected to be a dark metallic silver.

The engine, however, is something special: it’s a 5.7 litre Ford 351 V8, stretched to 408 cubic inches – almost seven litres! The big V8 will be on display alongside the car as the build progresses.

"The idea is that on the final weekend, we drop the motor in, fire her up and drive the car home when the show ends.”

IOL Motoring

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