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Old 04-20-2004, 06:43   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.More voluptuous: Ford sending Shelby Cobra concept back for design tuneup

More voluptuous: Ford sending Shelby Cobra concept back for design tuneup

By AMY WILSON | Automotive News


The Shelby Cobra is set to be restyled before Ford decides on its production.

Ford Motor Co. is sending its Shelby Cobra concept car back to the shop for a design tuneup.

The sports car, which debuted at the Detroit auto show this year, shares many parts with the Ford GT. It could readily be put into production, said Phil Martens, Ford group vice president of product creation.

But the concept's styling needs work, he said. "It doesn't grab my soul," Martens says. "It has to be as emotional as the GT."

J Mays, Ford group vice president of design, is putting an emotional charge into the Shelby Cobra. Some of the curves of the original 1960s Shelby Cobra will appear in the modern version, although Mays says the styling won't be retro.

"We're going to make it slightly more voluptuous," Mays said.

Executives haven't decided to produce the Shelby Cobra, even with a new look in the works. But its production would amortize the tooling and investment Ford has made in the GT, which is expected to have a limited run beginning this summer.

Some Ford officials have hinted that the Shelby Cobra could succeed the GT as a pricey halo vehicle. A production vehicle would not have the same lines as the Detroit show car.

Mays said he's glad that Ford designers opted for a more technical look for the car in the Detroit show. Ford worked closely with Cobra originator Carroll Shelby to develop the Detroit concept.

"We knew the road we were going down was going to be a little controversial," Mays said. "But we wanted to make sure we didn't roll old Carroll out onto the stage and have everyone go: 'Oh, hey, it's a replica.' "
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