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Mr. Embargo
3,745 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
At the time Carroll Shelby began his Cobra project in 1962, England’s AC Cars had a beautiful little open-top car that needed an engine. Ford had the industry’s best family of V-8 engines. Shelby saw the possibilities and brought the two together. The rest is history.

"The Ford engines turned out to be a great choice," Shelby said. He first tried the 260- and 289-cubic-inch Ford small block V-8 engines before settling on the massive 427 as the ultimate Cobra engine.

For the next chapter in the Cobra legend, the modern Ford team also had a few powertrain options. They included the supercharged
5.4-liter V-8 from the Ford GT, as well as turbocharged 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter mills. Outstanding engines, yes, but they didn’t pack the spiritual punch of Shelby’s overpowering Ford 427.

They needed something more, something that would capture the essence of that 427 in a modern roadster. They found it in a satellite Ford engineering operation devoted to developing new powertrain technologies away from the narrower demands of product development.

In an atmosphere that is part think-tank and part speed-shop, the Advanced Powertrain team develops technologies that frequently have as many applications on the race track as in consumer vehicles.

For approximately two years, they had been working on an all-aluminum V-10 targeted at ultimate, naturally aspirated performance. When they bolted this beast into a Mustang chassis for evaluation, it only took one drive to confirm its potential.

"The Ford Shelby Cobra concept just begged for this engine," said Graham Hoare, director, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "Although it’s not yet ready for production, we’ve reached a credible engineering level for such a serious concept car – and it has a modern soul that matches the famous 427."

Blending the Advanced Powertrain team’s work with elements from the 4.6-liter, 4-valve V-8 used in the 2004 Mustang Mach 1, the resultant Ford Shelby Cobra concept engine has 10 cylinders and is bored and stroked for a 6.4-liter displacement, or about 390 cubic inches. It produces 605 horsepower at 6,750 rpm and 501 foot-pounds of torque at 5,500 rpm without supercharging or turbocharging.

"In many ways, it’s not very exotic," said Hoare. "It uses the same basic castings and assembly techniques as our production modular engine family. The output, though, is phenomenal. If you can’t get in trouble with this kind of power, you’re not trying hard enough."

Kevin Byrd, the V-10 project leader, thinks of the Cobra V-10 as an all-star combination of current Ford engine technologies. "This engine is an amalgam of everything right about Ford engines. We took the best that the modular engine family has to offer, then added some tricks of our own. The V-10 is a culmination of 100 years of building engines," he said.

The double-overhead-cam cylinder heads and cylinders are fed by port fuel injection and racing-derived velocity stacks that are just visible within the hood scoop. For a low hood line, the throttles are a slide-plate design and the lubrication system is the dry-sump type, which relocates oil from underneath the engine to a remote tank. The engine proudly wears brushed aluminum "Powered By Ford" valve covers.

The rear-mounted six-speed transaxle is identical to the high-performance unit in the Ford GT, with an integral limited-slip differential to drive the rear wheels. Based on the engine’s 7,500-rpm redline and the drive ratios, this Ford Shelby Cobra concept has a theoretical top speed of more than 260 mph and would break 130 mph in third gear, although it’s electronically limited to 100 mph – for now.

Front-Mounted Engine and Torque Tube

One of the challenges of fitting a 10-cylinder engine into a compact roadster is leaving room for the driver’s legs and feet. With a conventional transmission mated to the back of the engine, the tradeoff between hood length and passenger room often makes for a cramped footwell and dramatically offset pedals – a flaw of the original Cobras and many modern sports cars.

Because the Ford Shelby Cobra concept was planned from the outset to be a production-feasible "runner," not just a pretty show car, the team had to address the legroom concern. They found that mounting the transmission at the rear of the car, connected to the front-mounted engine with a torque tube, let them use a very narrow "tunnel" between the seats.

Compared to a conventional driveshaft, which is typically mounted behind the transmission, a torque tube-style driveshaft spins considerably faster because it is running at engine speed. The spinning inner shaft is supported within a stationary outer tube that stabilizes the engine and transmission in bending and in torsion. The inner shaft taps crankshaft torque via a twin-disc, small-diameter clutch mounted at the rear of the engine.

Computer-aided design was essential in helping the first prototype come together smoothly. "Because they spin so much faster than driveshafts, these torque tubes can be a nightmare in terms of vibration," said Manfred Rumpel, manager, Advanced Product Creation. "Using our electronic tools, we optimized the location of the driveshaft support bearings, and it ran smoothly on the very first try. This type of modern engineering tool gives us a development advantage that pioneers like Carroll Shelby could only dream about."

Creating a New Chassis From Existing Parts

Although the AC Cars 260 roadster was the starting point for the original Cobra, the Ford Shelby Cobra concept team had no obvious existing architecture suitable for the project.

"We knew we wanted a front-engine car that had to be ultra-compact and lightweight, yet robust enough to handle 605 horsepower," said Theodore. "There was nothing that fit the bill on first glance."

But Rumpel’s team saw a creative solution.

"We were already planning to use the Ford GT suspension systems, and we asked ourselves how much more of the GT we could borrow," he said.

Quite a lot, as it turns out. Even though the GT is a mid-rear-engine car, and the proposed roadster was to have a front engine, a decision to mount the transmission at the rear made the connection.

"Once we really started looking into it, we had an epiphany," Theodore said. "The project took on a new sense of purpose when we really started leveraging the Ford GT engineering."

The team worked long hours with John Coletti, head of Ford’s Special Vehicle Team, to maximize the commonality. Fresh from completing the all-new Ford GT in just 15 months, Coletti understood what it took to build fast cars faster than ever. "It was a great team effort," Coletti said.

The bulk of the rear structure is made from slightly modified Ford GT components, including the massive, trellis-like cast aluminum suspension nodes, the rear rails and bumper beam, a major cross-member and the brackets used to mount the transmission.

The center portion of the space frame also has a high degree of GT commonality–major aluminum extrusions are based heavily on existing pieces. At the front of the roadster, the team incorporated the extruded main rails, steering rack cross-member, crash-management sections and the bumper beam.

"The concept car was even assembled using the prototype jigs the GT team no longer needed," said Rumpel. "This commonality and re-use goes hand-in-hand with our speed and cost efficiency."

Overall, the Ford Shelby Cobra concept is more than 2 feet shorter than the GT, with a wheelbase nearly 7 inches shorter. Even the track width has been reduced by more than an inch. That the concept car and the GT share any parts at all is a testimony to the flexibility of the space frame design and the creativity of the chassis team.

Ford GT Suspension, Steering and Brakes

To attach the massive 18- and 19-inch wheels and tires to the car, the team chose to use the Ford GT suspension system with a few modifications to accommodate the increased weight up front. Like engine technology and electronics, suspension design has come a long way in more than 40 years.

"The original leaf-sprung Cobras were awesome on the straightaway but didn’t make a name for themselves in the turns," said Rumpel.

Theodore was even more direct, "The original 427 was a beast."

The new Ford GT earns praise for its combination of agility, grip and easy-to-drive character, a reflection of its sophisticated suspension design and the expertise of its chassis engineers. The Ford Shelby Cobra concept applies the best of the GT suspension to a big-engine roadster.

A double-wishbone suspension design with unequal-length aluminum control arms, coil-over monotube shocks and stabilizer bars is used front and rear. The upper control arms are identical at all four wheels and are made with an advanced rheo-cast process that allows the complexity of form associated with casting, yet retaining the strength of forging. The metal, heated to just below its melting point, is the consistency of butter when it is injected into a mold at high pressure. Pressure is maintained as the part cures, preventing porosity in the final product for exceptional strength.

The steering rack also is borrowed from the Ford GT, with a few modifications. The steering column, like the Ford GT’s, draws on Ford engineering best-practices like the low friction, high stiffness and light weight that have made the Ford Focus steering column among the best in the industry. Braces between the front shock towers and below the isolated engine mounts improve torsional rigidity and aid steering response.

With more than 600 horsepower available at the throttle pedal, the brake pedal had to be equally potent. The team set braking distance targets comparable with today’s best sports cars, and turned to the Ford GT braking system for suitable components.

Brembo "monoblock" one-piece aluminum brake calipers with four pistons each grab cross-drilled, vented discs at all four wheels. The discs are a massive 14 inches in front and 13.2 inches in the rear, for fade-free stopping power. But the team stopped short of fitting the car with an antilock braking system, in keeping with its racing character. Brake balance is biased slightly to the front wheels to aid stability.

For packaging reasons, the team devised a novel offset actuation linkage for the brake booster and master cylinder, so the brake pedal can be placed in a normal position even though its hardware is off to the side of the engine bay.

The one-piece BBS wheels are wrapped by BF Goodrich Z-rated racing slicks, size 275/40R18 in front and 345/35R19 in the rear.

Mr. Embargo
3,745 Posts
Discussion Starter #2

The Ford Shelby Cobra concept, like the legendary 1960s original, features a utilitarian body tightly wrapped around a race-bred engine and chassis. Every surface and line has its roots in the car’s uncompromised performance.

"We let the powertrain, the space frame and the suspension dictate the architecture for the body," said Richard Hutting, chief designer. "The result was a very authentic, modern and desirable shape that does justice to the original Shelby Cobra, but doesn’t share a single dimension or proportion with it."

Through key design details – the dominant grille opening, vertical bumper bars, stacked lamps front and rear, side air extractors and, most importantly, the powerful bulge over each rear wheel – the historical connection to Shelby’s original creation is undeniable.

Surprising Package

While Ford Design is known for its modern interpretations of legendary vehicles – the Ford GT, Mustang and Thunderbird, to name just a few – it also leads the industry in innovative ways to carry people and cargo.

From the Model A to the first Mustang, to the world’s most versatile sport utility vehicles, Ford has a history of packaging efficiency, and the Ford Shelby Cobra concept is no exception.

A key engineering decision – to mount the concept’s six-speed manual transmission at the rear of the car – enabled designers to give the car almost 3 inches more legroom than similar competitors’ performance vehicles, while providing nearly perfect weight distribution.

"From a package perspective, the rear-mounted transmission and the small-diameter, twin-plate clutch made for a larger foot space than typically possible in such a small car with a large engine. This 10-cylinder, 605-horsepower, all-out sportscar has more legroom than in a Ford Crown Victoria sedan," Hutting said. "We also didn’t have to compromise the driving position by offsetting the pedals – an important consideration in a performance car."

Long Wheelbase, Short Overall Length

Performance elements help to define the exterior, as well. Because the engine sits rearward of the front wheels, the front overhang is extraordinarily short. An equally brief rear overhang gives the Cobra concept a 100-inch wheelbase – longer than that of a Dodge Viper, but with a head-to-tail measurement that is more than 20 inches shorter. In fact, the front and rear overhangs are both shorter than on the 1965 Shelby Cobra – the rear considerably so.

These proportions place the Ford Shelby Cobra concept into a league of its own among production-feasible vehicles, communicating rear-drive power and serious performance. The car's stance on the road is unmistakably purposeful, with only 4.5 inches of clearance between the carbon-fiber chin spoiler and the pavement. From the rear, powerfully bulging wheel arches embrace the massive 19-inch rear wheels, signifying that that’s where the power comes to the ground.

Clean, Unadorned Surface Language

Just as designers used the mechanical package to drive the Ford Shelby Cobra concept’s proportions and attitude, they drew from the car’s racing persona to create a clean, unembellished "wrapper" for the powertrain and chassis.

The front section of the body is a forward-tilting "clamshell." This simple design provides immediate, wide-open access to the powertrain and front suspension while defining the clean hood profile. Prominent design elements include the oversized grille opening for the radiator and the chin scoop below it for the oil cooler.

The headlamps and driving lamps at the front of the car are stacked vertically, as on the original Shelby Cobra.

"These lamps, combined with the vertical billet-aluminum bumper bars, the grille opening and the muscular fenders, are the way the front of the concept communicates ‘Cobra,’ " Hutting said.

In character with the Ford Shelby Cobra concept’s uncompromised performance, there are no windshield wipers, no side windows and no convertible top – it is a fair-weather-only racing machine.

The sides of the body are pure function. Just aft of each front wheel is a prominent rectangular air extractor – to cool the engine and the brakes – and a conventional forward-swinging door with a dramatically simple shut line that terminates at the rear fender. To emphasize the clean body sides, designers also omitted door handles.

The decision to forgo exterior door handles left the team with a quandary: How do you open the doors? They briefly looked at incorporating an electronic button but settled on the original, elegantly simple Cobra solution of placing the inside handle up high, where it can easily be reached from outside the car.

"It’s a race car," Hutting said. "The driver would rather reach inside to open the door than carry the weight of two more handles."

Aluminum A-pillars and dual roll hoops behind the low-back seats are modern touches that expose the advanced aluminum space frame while echoing the form and function of the classic chrome roll hoops used on some original Cobras.

Rearview Camera System for Clean Flanks

In keeping with its racing mission, the Ford Shelby Cobra concept does without side mirrors in favor of a higher-tech, lower-drag design. A trio of video cameras – mounted high in each A-pillar and at the center of the windshield frame – create real-time color images that are displayed on a digital version of the traditional center-mounted rear-view mirror. The images from each camera are stitched together on this liquid-crystal display to form a perfect 180-degree panorama of the competition.

A mere 27 inches of rear overhang (measured from the axle line to the bumper) and other rear design details further develop the themes of uncompromised performance and Cobra heritage.

Benefiting from four decades of aerodynamics research, the Ford Shelby Cobra concept departs from the original car by incorporating carbon-fiber "barge boards" to manage air extraction from the side vents, and a carbon-fiber diffuser in the rear to create downforce. These aerodynamic aids borrow heavily from wind tunnel lessons learned with the Ford GT and Formula 1 racing and were devised and tested with the aid of computational fluid dynamics software.

The rear transaxle cover is left exposed and becomes a design element that conveys mechanical strength.

Small, stacked round taillamps and vertical billet-aluminum bumper bars subtly trace their bloodlines back to the original Cobra.

"Even within the very modern framework of the short overhang and exposed underbody aero effects," Hutting said, "the rear of the car has Cobra cues to connect it to the legend."

A bright, Tungsten Silver metallic paint reinforces the car’s mechanical precision, while twin stripes in a lighter shade of silver run fore and aft over the hood and rear deck, in a nod to Shelby’s traditional race car stripes.

Seven-spoke BBS racing wheels were chosen for strength and light weight. Dramatically larger than the 15-inch wheels of the original Cobra, they measure 18 inches in front and 19 inches at the rear. The wheels wear lower profile rubber all around – with the massive 35-series rear tires measuring more than 13.5 inches wide.

"When you see those massive tires under their bulging fenders and those exposed aerodynamic aids, you know at a glance that this is a serious racing machine," Hutting said.

Purposeful Interior

Proving that a minimalist roadster also can be comfortable, the 605-horsepower Ford Shelby Cobra concept offers none of the traditional electric amenities, yet boasts more front-seat legroom than a Ford Crown Victoria sedan.

The rear-mounted transmission offers a huge advantage in interior packaging: The driver and passenger are positioned close together near the vehicle centerline and separated by a narrow driveline tunnel. The spacious foot wells are nearly rectangular, in marked contrast to vehicles where the transmission tunnel hump severely restricts the driver’s foot room on the right, or the front wheel intrudes on the left – or both. The Ford Shelby Cobra concept driving position is comfortable and ergonomic, with an adjustable steering column.

The carbon-fiber racing seats with five-point belts offer support for high-performance driving. Their low-back profile – a nod to traditional sports cars – is made possible because the roll hoops behind the seatbacks are padded to double as head restraints. This allowed designers to capture the old-school feeling of the original Cobra seats in a thoroughly modern execution.

The cockpit is trimmed in aluminum, with electric blue splashed on the seat trim and steering column. A full-width aluminum instrument panel spans the cockpit in one unbroken swath – a throwback to the true "dash boards" of yesteryear and a contrast with today’s driver-centric cockpits. Instruments include a 220-mph speedometer, 10,000-rpm tachometer and critical temperature and pressure readouts.

There is also a fuel pump switch, an under-hood fire-suppression system release and an emergency master kill switch to comply with racing rules.

What’s missing? "There’s no audio system at all," Hutting said. "The tuned exhaust makes its own music."

7,859 Posts
Ford Shelby Cobra Concept Tests Waters for Another Pricey Sports Car
DETROIT — At an invitation-only dinner held after the North American International Auto Show’s press preview had closed for the day, Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford made a grand entrance by driving into Cobo Convention Hall in the Ford Shelby Cobra Concept car. The concept was inspired by the 1960s-era Shelby Cobras, whose creator, Carroll Shelby, rode alongside Bill Ford in the passenger seat.

Shelby, now 81, has been a member of the “extended Ford family” since 1962, when he dropped a Ford powertrain into a British-built AC Cars roadster and created a legend. Shelby contributed in 1965 to the GT40 racecar that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and inspired today’s $139,000 Ford GT supercar, which in turn contributes components to the Cobra Concept. Were it not for the GT, which itself appeared first as a concept, the Shelby Cobra would seem like little more than an exercise. Ford surprised many by turning the GT into a real, if low-volume, product that goes on sale this year.

Like the 1965 Shelby Cobra that began the car’s definitive era, the Cobra Concept has a Ford 427 engine — in this case, an aluminum 6.4-liter V-10 that seems more appropriate here than it did in last year’s 427 Concept sedan. It generates 605 horsepower and 501 pounds-feet of torque in naturally aspirated form and mates to a six-speed-manual transmission. The 0-to-60-mph acceleration time is claimed to be less than 4 seconds, and ungoverned top speed is estimated at close to 200 mph.

The concept is not intended to be a mass-market product with all the comfort features. As J Mays, Ford Motor Co. group vice president of design, put it: “True to the originals, this Ford Shelby has no roof, no side glass, thank god no cupholders, not even a radio,” he said.

The car isn’t completely low-tech, however. The spare, aluminum-trimmed interior includes three LCD screens in lieu of rearview mirror glass but in the same familiar housing. Cameras in the A-pillars and center of the windshield frame capture a 180-degree view altogether and eliminate the wind drag of conventional side mirrors.

Though the Cobra Concept is a front-engine layout and the GT is rear-engine, many components are shared between the two. Chris Theodore, Ford Motor Co. vice president of Advanced Product Creation, said, “It didn’t come off a platform. It’s built basically with the same techniques and a lot of the parts from the Ford GT. The side rails — the rockers — are literally Ford GT rockers flipped over. There’s a lot of reuse in the brakes, the steering, the suspension, the transaxle, the gearshift. It’s even got an electronic parking brake off a Lincoln LS.”

Theodore said two things drove the use of GT elements. “First, it amazed us how well we could take Ford GT components, extrusions, this whole thing and reuse them. And the second thing is that it helps with the economies of scale: to make something like this real — if there’s the right response and consumer reaction — without having to invest in the engineering and development and design of all these parts. That’s a pretty big piece. It’s quite a dramatically different vehicle.”

Shelby was not just a spiritual leader on this project, Theodore said. “Carroll has been involved every step of the way.”

Standing among the GT, 2005 Mustang and Shelby Cobra Concept — which the company terms the Power Trilogy — Bill Ford said, “We usually think of sports cars as being more about the heart than about the head. But frankly, these cars make good business sense. The GT has become the pace car for the entire company. It’s taught us new lessons about accelerating product development, and brought incredible excitement to the brand.

“The question I’ve been asked all through today is, ‘Are you going to build a production version of this?’ The answer is we’ll see,” Ford said. “But if we get the same overwhelming reaction to the Cobra Concept as we did to the GT concept, I think anything’s possible.”

If the Shelby Cobra Concept became a reality, Theodore said, “We think it would cost less than the GT. It depends on the volume.”

Asked if there would be risk in fielding two expensive performance cars, Theodore said the market could support it. “We’ve got a boomer population that’s growing, becoming more affluent, and now they can start to think about fulfilling some of their fantasies,” he said. “Certainly this was my fantasy when I was a kid.”

Kids are one of the reasons Ford developed the GT and is considering additional “halo” cars, Theodore said. “When the kids see these things — I mean a kid’s not going to buy a $139,000 Ford GT — but the imagery it sets for them is stunning. They all know about the Ford GT. They’re all racing GTs on their PlayStation 2s. That’s all part of building the brand image. It’s not selling cars now, but it’s selling cars in the future.”


7,859 Posts
Car & Driver

Ford Shelby Cobra

First Ford resurrected the GT40. Now it’s thinking about bringing back the Shelby Cobra. Fine by us. Carroll Shelby, creator of the original Cobra, was a hands-on contributor to the concept, which borrows the GT’s suspension, steering, and aluminum spaceframe. Designed by Ford’s Design Center in Valencia, California, the Shelby Cobra boasts an overall length that is within millimeters of the original’s. Power comes from a 6.4-liter V-10 that pumps out 605 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque. Based on Ford’s modular architecture and featuring a dry-sump oil system, the 40-valve 10-cylinder beast is mated to a Ricardo six-speed manual transmission. Power is put to the pavement via sticky BFGoodrich racing slicks. Zero to 60 comes in well under four seconds. Behind the wheel, the driver is greeted with a 10,000-rpm tachometer and an aluminum dashboard and toggle switches. There is no stereo or cup holders. Why on earth would you need ‘em?


7,859 Posts
How Shelby Swapped Chickens For Muscle Cars

Auto Express

The history of iconic cars isn't exactly littered with ex-chicken farmers, so how did Carroll Shelby create one of the most legendary classics of them all? After disease wiped out his poultry and bankrupted Shelby aged 26, he turned his hand to driving. There, he found a natural talent, and went on to build his own MG TC-based racer.

He entered several competitions, often racing in his stripey farmer's boiler suit as he'd come straight from work. And those stripes appeared later on the Cobra 427. By 1954, Shelby was one of the world's most promising drivers, and set 70 land-speed records in an Austin-Healey. But a serious heart condition, diagnosed when he was 36, forced Shelby to give up racing - and he got involved in car development. In 1961, he mailed a proposal to AC Cars of Thames Ditton, Surrey, suggesting it fit a small-block Ford V8 into the Ace - and four years later, the Shelby Cobra 427 was born. Shelby has been involved with performance Fords ever since...


7,859 Posts
Details of Ford's New Shelby Cobra

Ford's Shelby Cobra concept signals a possible next step in the blue oval performance lineup

By: Brad Nevin | Ford Communications Network
Photos from AutoWeek

DETROIT – Huge engine, tiny car.

Those are the two founding principles of the Ford Shelby Cobra concept on display in Detroit at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.

It's the foundation motor racing legend Carroll Shelby used when he built the legendary Cobra with a 427-cubic-inch V-8 engine under the hood of a tiny British roadster in 1964. And it’s the formula Ford is using today to build a powerful, fully developed, production-feasible concept car.

Shorter than a Mazda Miata and weighing just more than 3,000 pounds, the Shelby Cobra concept has a 605-horsepower, all-aluminum V-10 engine mounted at the front of an advanced Ford GT-based aluminum chassis.

There is no roof, no side glass and no radio.

"That's the formula," says Shelby. "It's a massive motor in a tiny, lightweight car."

Loosely based on the 4.6-liter, 32-valve V-8 used in the 2004 Mustang Mach I, the Ford Shelby Cobra concept engine has 10 cylinders and is bored and stroked for a 6.4-liter displacement.

"In many ways, it's not very exotic," says Graham Hoare, director for Ford research and advanced engineering. "It uses the same basic castings and assembly techniques as our production modular engine family. The output, though, is phenomenal."

The Shelby Cobra concept's engine has 10 cylinders and is bored and stroked for a 6.4-liter displacement. With a front-mounted engine and a rear-mounted transmission, the Shelby Cobra concept has nearly perfect 50/50 weight distribution and a surprisingly roomy cockpit. Because the transmission is rear-mounted, there is no large center tunnel between the seats. This allows the driver and passenger to sit relatively close to one another, and there is as much front legroom as in a Crown Victoria. Instruments include a 220-mph speedometer, a 10,000-rpm tachometer and critical temperature and pressure readouts.

When a think tank in Dearborn set to designing and engineering the Shelby Cobra concept, they looked to another recently completed project at Ford for ideas – the Ford GT.

"We were planning to use the Ford GT suspension systems, and we asked ourselves how much more of the Ford GT could we borrow," says Manfred Rumpel, manager, advanced product development.

Quite a lot, they discovered.

Key design details include a predominant grille opening. The Shelby Cobra team worked closely with John Coletti, head of engineering for Ford's Special Vehicle Team, to maximize commonality with the Ford GT supercar. The bulk rear structure of the Shelby Cobra concept is made from slightly modified Ford GT components, including the massive cast-aluminum suspension nodes, the rear rails and bumper beam, a major cross member and the brackets used to mount the transmission to the car. The center portion of the space frame also has a high level of commonality with the Ford GT, as its major aluminum extrusions are based heavily on existing pieces.

Even though it shares many parts with the Ford GT, the Shelby Cobra concept is more than two feet shorter with a wheelbase that is nearly seven inches shorter. Comparatively small proportions like this gave designers the chance to create a body that is tightly wrapped around its engine and chassis.

"We let the powertrain, the space frame and the suspension dictate the architecture for the body," says Richard Hutting, chief designer. "And the result was a very modern and desirable shape that doesn't share a single dimension or proportion with the original Shelby Cobra."

Inside, the Shelby Cobra concept is trimmed mostly in aluminum, with electric blue splashed on the seat trim and steering column. A full-width aluminum instrument panel spans the cockpit in one unbroken swath. Key design details include a predominant grille opening, vertical bumper bars, the side air intake, a powerful bulge over each wheel and stacked lamps in the front and rear. Because the engine sits rearward of the front wheels, the concept's front overhang is short. An equally short rear overhang gives the Shelby Cobra concept a short 100-inch wheelbase. These proportions instantly communicate rear-wheel-drive power and serious performance. The stance of the car on the road is unmistakably powerful and sure-footed. More subtle design touches include no windshield wipers, no side windows and no convertible top.

Those wishing fair-weather, fast driving on open roads need only apply.

"When you're setting out to tell a story about an automobile in a fresh, contemporary way, you're not actually looking to create beauty – you're looking to create meaning," says J Mays, Ford Motor Company group vice president, design. "We have interpreted that ass-kicking Cobra attitude in a very modern way."

The Shelby Cobra concept was built in just five months at a relatively low cost by a select group of Ford enthusiasts in Dearborn, Mich. It's a fully developed and engineered racing roadster that represents the best modern racing technology Ford has to offer today. When parked next to the all-new Ford GT supercar and the redesigned 2005 Mustang coupe, the Shelby Cobra concept completes a trilogy of legendary Ford performance vehicles and signals what might be a next step for the blue oval.

Inside, the Shelby Cobra concept is trimmed mostly in aluminum, with electric blue splashed on the seat trim and steering column. A full-width aluminum instrument panel spans the cockpit in one unbroken swath.

The Shelby Cobra concept's engine has 10 cylinders and is bored and stroked for a 6.4-liter displacement.

7,859 Posts
Chicago Auto Show
Motor Trend

Ford Shelby Cobra

A legend reborn, and a legend celebration, the Ford Shelby Cobra is a fitting tribute the machine and man that made the name famous. Carroll Shelby conspired with the concept team to develop this show car, borrowing heavily from the Ford GT production car. For the Cobra, the mid-engine platform was reconfigured for a front-mid-engine application. Inspired by the Cobra 427, the team created a special 6.4-liter V-10 that produces 605 horsepower and 501 lb-ft of torque. In a 3000-pound car sized like a Miata/MX-5, that power translates to sub-four-second 0-60 mph times. The six-speed transmission is rear mounted to distribute weight and increase interior legroom. The cockpit is all business, with essential gauges, race-inspired seats, and toggle-switch controls, all surrounded by aluminum and carbon fiber materials. Likewise, the clean exterior carries the essential Cobra cues with a modern, machined appearance highlighted with 18-inch front, 19-inch rear wheels. Engineered to be production feasible, the Shelby Cobra business case is buoyed by shared componentry with the GT and knowledge that the Cobra knock-off market has thrived for decades.
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