Muscle cars have been around for the last 60 years or so in the United States. They are an iconic part of the American manufacturing lexicon and tribute to the industrial superiority of years past. One of the best and most popular muscle car in existence is the Shelby Cobra. The rarity and expensive nature of the car make even Shelby Cobra kit cars a prevalent alternative. If you're looking for an authentic Cobra, though, there are many different versions and types to choose from. Here are three of the main generations of Shelby Cobras throughout history.
1. First Models:
The first Shelby Cobra cars were built by Carroll Shelby from 1962-68. They were either 654 small-block or 350 big-block engine versions. Some Shelby cars weren't officially named Cobras, but rather GT350 and GT500 in 1965. They originally acquired the moniker because Shelby American, who produced the cars at that time, fitted each model with a Cobra emblem and option valve covers. These early generations were the very definition of muscle cars. They were not built for leisurely or performance driving necessarily, but actual racing. The original AC Cobras were designed to be "Corvette-Beaters," and weighed 500 pounds less than their Chevrolet counterparts. In one famous case an AC Cobra Coupe hit 186 mph in 1964 on a British motorway
2. Second Generation:
The Shelby Cobras ceased production for almost 40 years from 1970 till 2006 when Ford released the Shelby GT-H. It came in black and gold and was only available at Hertz rental car agencies. A total of 500 cars were built to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the GT350H. Ford has continued production of the classic car ever since releasing updated version virtually every year.
3. Third Generation:
Up until this year little changed in the Cobra. In 2015 though they launched the third generation Shelby GT. Based on the Ford Mustang GT it was an effort to give the classic car a more aggressive look. Rockers, splitters, a spoiler, and carbon fiber hood give this old school muscle car a modern edge. With 627 horse power it still stays true to its racing roots.
The Shelby Cobra has come a long way since Carroll Shelby first designed the originals back in the day. While some people detest the modern features and style of the newer models, others praise the ingenuity and creativity it takes to make an old car new. Today, there is even an ecoboost option available. Better for the environment, but certainly not what traditional lovers will be lining up to buy.