With nearly 500 horsepower for just 2,500 pounds, the Cobra 427 was "awesome, spellbinding," said Car and Driver. "Snapping the throttle open at any speed jams the low setback into the small of your back. The car lunges, jostles, and belches thunder from the side pipes just below your ear."
Although the car was surprisingly docile in traffic, Car and Driver, like so many, found it "neither reassuring nor especially comfortable. It rode as if there were cement in the shocks. The steering was indecisive, the handling twitchy and abrupt." Creature comforts? Not here.
Changing times ended this fun in 1968 after only 356 cars, but others soon offered replica 427s ranging in quality from ghastly to grand. A revived A.C. Cars produced its own fine specimen starting in the late 1980s. But Shelby struck back at his imitators by having 43 brand-new "1965" Cobras built from leftover parts in the mid-1990s.
More "snake oil?" Maybe, but the Cobras were also the stuff of living legend and immortal performance. The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake -- and its $5.5 million auction price -- is proof of that.
For profiles, photos, and specifications of other Shelby cars, see:
- Shelbys were always the most charismatic Mustangs -- and with the 1967 Shelby GT 500, they finally got some muscle car power.
- Even with a 335-bhp 428-cid V-8, the Mustang-based 1968 Shelby Cobra GT 500-KR wasn't really King of the Road -- it just acted like it.
- The 2007 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 is the most powerful Mustang to ever roll off a factory production line.
- The Ford Shelby GR-1 is a throwback to the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, with one notable difference: It packs better than 600 horsepower.
For profiles and photos of other high-priced sports cars, check out:
- The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren blends Formula One racing technology with Mercedes engineering. To learn about this $500,000 sports car, read How the Mercedes SLR Works.
- With a price tag in the $1.2 million range, the Bugatti Veyron is considered by many to be the most dazzling production car on the planet. Read How the Bugatti Veyron Works to find out about this exquisite machine.