Several manufacturers offer Cobra replicas in what is known as turnkey or “turnkey-minus” form. These replicas are all built, painted, wired, have completed interiors, and only require careful installation of an engine and transmission and final fitment of the necessary wiring. These replica Cobras are for enthusiasts who aren’t inclined to build a car of their own, or perhaps don’t wish to take the time to construct a Cobra. They’d rather buy the turnkey, have the engine and transmission installed by a professional, and then drive it as soon as possible.
For the past 15 years Superformance has distributed complete rolling-chassis (turnkey replicas) and continuation vehicles in the United States. Hi-Tech Automotive is one of the largest specialty car production facilities in the world. Both located in South Africa, the two companies have enjoyed a long-standing and successful builder/distributor relationship, distributing more than 4,000 rolling-chassis turnkeys worldwide.
Carroll Shelby endorses and licenses the Daytona Coupe, GT40, and Cobra replicas that Superformance/Hi-Tech builds and distributes. He states that the Superformance machines aren’t true Shelbys, but that they are “well-built and as close to correct as possible.” The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe is sold through Shelby Distribution USA.
Superformance/Hi-Tech Automotive creates several coupes, in addition to the Cobra replicas. The Ford GT40 replica, Cobra Daytona Coupe, Perana Z-one (a Zagato-bodied supercar), and Corvette Grand Sport Coupe replica (under license with General Motors) are all road-worthy coupes with an abundance of street or track credibility.
For more information, including pricing, visit the Superformance Web site, where there is detailed information on all the rolling chassis vehicles, as well as a list of dealers.
Superformance’s latest Cobra replica offering is the MKII. It comes in two variants: the MKII FIA and the MKII USRRC. Both of these cars are careful emulations of the 289- powered FIA and USRRC race cars that achieved so many victories, fame, and fortune for Shelby American and privateers in the 1960s. Superformance has an exclusive agreement with Carroll Shelby for the MKII FIA, making it the latest Shelby-licensed product in the Superformance corral of road burners.
Superformance/Hi-Tech Automotive has provided the Cobra 427SC replica for more than 15 years. Called the MKIII, it comes in three versions: the MKIII, the MKIII Roadster, and the MKIII-R Edition.
Visit the Shelby American Web site to learn about the Shelby American versions of the MKIII.
The Backdraft Racing Mark I Roadster has been a sensation and instant hit since development first started in December 2000 and shown as a finished turnkey by October 2001. Since 2003 the cars have been built in a 53,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in South Africa. The Backdraft Racing Cobra replicas are produced in left- and right-hand drive versions, and are available for worldwide distribution. There are four dealerships in the United States and three more dealers internationally.
For more information on any of the Backdraft kits, or to find a dealer, visit the company’s Web site.
The Backdraft Roadster is a refined, high-quality sports car that has been developed over many years. This turnkey car offers comfort, quality of construction, a comfortable ride, and exhilarating performance, all in an economically priced package.
The B in this model designation stands for Black Label, which indicates that the RT3B is fitted with styling components influenced by and used by the world’s best supercars.
If you guessed that the TD stands for touchdown, you’re not entirely wrong. Rather, Backdraft Racing uses the TD designation to stand for the company’s Track Day terrorizer. Features such as a full roll cage that still accommodates a passenger, more suspension adjustments for fine tuning at the racetrack, a full aero package, and weight reduction make a veritable ultra-competitive race car for trackday action. If track time is what you’re seeking, the BDR TD may be just your ticket to commanding your local race car circuit.
One day in 1995 the Kirkham Motorsports legacy began with the following words scribbled on a piece of paper and sent via fax to Poland, “Can you guys build an aluminumbodied car?” Less than a day later brothers David and Thomas Kirkham received the faxed reply that they had hoped for, “No problem.”
What started the idea for the Kirkham brothers was the fact that a relative had purchased and imported a Polish MIG fighter jet at the same time that they were restoring an original Shelby Cobra CSX3104. Seeing the fighter jet up close and personal, the brothers realized many similarities between the aluminum jet and their aluminum roadster.They found the manufacturer’s name on the MIG and decided to send the fateful fax.
With a toy model Cobra, an English-Polish dictionary, and a large enough dream to make even Steven Spielberg blush, David Kirkham flew to Warsaw one week after receiving the “No problem” fax. He met with MIG fabricators and toured the idle factories that had produced Cold War aircraft and fighter jets for more than 60 years. Wouldn’t any car enthusiast in the same situation as David be thinking the same thing, “If those craftsmen can build supersonic aluminum fighter jets, couldn’t they can create some aluminum-bodied roadsters that replicate the Cobra?”
He left Poland with build contracts in hand and, with his brother, launched a component-car company that is held in high regard by every automotive enthusiast who knows kit cars. More than 15 years later, Kirkham Motorsports is going strong.
The Kirkham’s Web site has detailed information on all six turnkey Cobra replicas:
- 427 KMS/SC: A beautiful re-creation of the Shelby Cobra 427SC
- 427 KMS/Lemans: This is aKMS/ SC with a Le Mans-style hard top
- 427 KMS/Street: The fender flares are smaller, there is no hood scoop, and the tubular exhaust system runs under the car and exits the rear. There are no side pipes.
- 289 KMS/FIA: A faithful rendition of the Shelby 289 FIA race cars that helped team Shelby American win the World Championship in 1965 in FIA racing
- 289 KMS/Lemans: See the Kirkham Motorsports Web site for more information
- 289 KMS/Street: An accurate re-creation of the original 289 Cobra street car, also called the “slab-side.”
Unique Motorcars can build a 427- or 289-body-style turnkey car ($40,495) with the following standard features:
- Solid-color paint scheme (some dark colors cost more)
- Custom coil-over front suspension
- Jaguar-style independent rear suspension
- Black-painted exhaust system
- Black competition Quickjack pads
- Chrome valve covers and air cleaner
- 3-inch lap belts
- Le Mans fuel filler cap, tires, and reproduction wheels
You add the engine and transmission, and you’re ready for the road. Or Unique Motorcars can install the engine and transmission. Optional accessories are listed with the corresponding pricing on the Web site.
Shelby American, Inc.
With the creation of that first Shelby Cobra 260 in 1962, Shelby American, Inc. came to life. Today, this company creates Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500 Mustangs and also distributes the following continuation cars: 50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra, Shelby Cobra 427 S/C, Shelby Cobra 289 FIA, Shelby Cobra 289 Street, Shelby GT40, and Shelby Daytona Coupe. These cars aren’t designated as replicas; they are all turnkeys needing just engines and transmissions to make them sing.
For more information on all of the Shelby American machines, visit the company’s Web site.