V10-powered Ford Shelby Cobra concept up for bidding in November

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This is what Ford thinks the Cobra would have been had Shelby been starting this century | Larry Edsall photo
This is what Ford thinks the Cobra would have been had Shelby been starting this century | Larry Edsall photo

With J Mays as its design director, Ford Motor Company was into what Mays called “retrofuturism” in the early years of this century. There was a new Mustang that harkened to the late 1960s. There was the Ford GT, an update of the historic GT40s that won at Le Mans. There were all sorts of retro-inspired concept cars.

Among those concepts was the 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra, that joined the Mustang and GT in what Mays termed the “trilogy of Ford’s most legendary performance vehicles.”

That 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra will cross the auction block in early November at GAA Classic Cars auction at the Palace in Greensboro, North Carolina. The winning bidder will write his or her check to the Henry Ford Estate, a 501-C3 charity that will apply the money to the restoration of Fair Lane, the Dearborn, Michigan, estate of Henry and Clara Ford.

Concept car interior

Note: Because the concept did not go into production, for liability purposes, Ford will “render the car completely not driveable” before its delivery to its next owner, although the engine will remain functional.

That engine is something Carroll Shelby didn’t have available when he built the original Cobra, and which likely wouldn’t have fit within the engine compartment of the AC body he used to create the Ferrari-beating sports car. The engine is a specially created 6.4-liter V10 with an aluminum block and heads, featuring velocity stacks, a 10.8:1 compression ratio and pumping out 605 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque.

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Just as in Shelby’s Cobras, the engine is up front, the driven wheels in the back.

The concept weighs a little more than 3,000 pounds and has no roof, window glass or radio.

Cobra was displayed at recent Quail motorsports event in California

“That’s the formula,” Shelby said when the car was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “It’s a massive motor in a tiny, lightweight car.”

GAA’s brochure about the concept notes that because the Ford GT program was codenamed Petunia within Ford, the team working on the Cobra concept operated under the name “Daisy.”

“The Daisy name was a little tongue-in-cheek,” said Chris Theodore, who headed Ford’s advanced-product team. “It was a little bit of a tease. Everybody knew we were up to something, but they didn’t know what. I call it a fan dance — the most tantalizing secrets are the ones that you know are there, but can’t quite see.”

For complete details, visit the special GAA Shelby Cobra Concept website.

 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.