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Posted by on in Roadsters
2015 Deep South Cobra Club- Reptile Roundup

The Deep South Cobra Club will be doing their annual Reptile Roundup in Lake Land, Florida this year. The event will be hosted round the Lake Mirror Classic Event from October 16th through to the 18th. Backdraft Racing will be sponsoring the Meet and Greet Party on October 16th. We will also have a display at the Lake Mirror Classic on October 17th.  For more information on the event please follow the link. 2015-REPTILE-ROUNDUP.pdf

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ac cobra kitThe Shelby Cobra is indeed a coveted car. In fact, from 1962 to 1968, Carroll Shelby only produced 1,002 Cobras in total: 654 small-block Cobras and around 350 big block Cobras.

Because of this, the muscle car's comparably small size (500 pounds lighter than a Corvette!) and award winning speeds, the Shelby Cobra has become one of the most expensive and most vied after cars of the 21st century.

So vied after, in fact, that people would go through great lengths to have one. Maybe they would even commit fraud.

One man did just that. Terry Lamont Speller, a doctor from Winterville, North Carolina, plead guilty to health care fraud as well as making monetary transactions with criminally derived property. 

According to an article posted on the Daily Reflector the doctor defrauded Medicaid, meaning he got Medicaid to believe he was performing services that he did not actually render.

Overall, Speller defrauded a total of $4 million from Medicaid. Among this fraudulent income, investigators discovered a check made out for Speller to purchase the much beloved and coveted performance driving vehicle, the Shelby Cobra.

Currently, Speller is in detainment, where he will remain until the final hearing in late 2015.

While one has to admire the man's moxie, he didn't necessarily have to commit health fraud to acquire his own custom roadster.

Instead, he could have just opted for authentic replication using an AC Cobra kit, affording him a great deal more financial leeway. AC Cobra kits allow individuals to recreate the classic sensibility of the Shelby Cobra in their own way; this means including original body features with modernized internal updates. But all in all, you still get the remarkable speed, comparable weight (other roadsters weigh up to 3,400 pounds!), and classic style that car lovers know and love.

So next time, let's all learn from Doctor Speller's mistakes, shall we? It's not like he'll be speeding away in his own AC Cobra anytime soon.

cobra car kitTo celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Daytona's win in the GT III class for the 1965 World Sportscar Championship season, the car company has announced that they will release 50 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe special edition models.

Half a century ago, that win was extremely significant, as it marked the first time an American car won the crown.

When Carroll Shelby originally designed the first AC Cobra, it was intended to be a "Corvette beater", with a significantly lower weight (a 500 pound difference) and much faster speed. Perhaps this is what enabled the Shelby Cobra Daytona to win; while most custom roadsters and racing cars weigh up to 3,400 pounds, the Shelby Cobra's light weight may have enabled it to zip ahead of its competition with ease.

The limited edition car boasts old school details, such as a wood rimmed steering wheel, leaf-springed suspension, and a black leather interior. To bring the old school model into the 21st century, engineers of the limited edition Shelby Cobra Daytona offer the model in both fiberglass and aluminum. This allows the car to have modern safety features without sacrificing the integrity of the original model.

With only 50 models of this special edition Shelby Cobra Daytona available, getting your hands on one of these high speed performance driving vehicles might be tricky.

But this is not news for Shelby Cobra models.

In fact, since their conception in 1964, Shelby Cobras have been muscle cars that were regularly in both high demand and short supply. In 1964, for example, only 538 models of the Mark II were ever created. And from 1962 to 1968, Shelby only built 654 small-block cobras and 350 big-block versions.

Because of their limited availability, these originals are hard to come by. Instead, many build their own authentic replication of the AC Cobra using a cobra car kits. Similar to the modern updates offered with the new Shelby Cobra Daytona editions, cobra car kits allow people to build Shelby Cobras with the aesthetic sensibility of the past while adding newer, more modern features that reflect the technology of the present.

So whether you're one of the lucky ones to zoom away in a limited edition Shelby Cobra Daytona or an authentic replication using a cobra car kit, it's guaranteed that you'll be riding in style.

Posted by on in Roadsters

 

The Whole Car

 

2011 BDR RT3

Words and photography by samuel cuthbert

 

It was a long, boring drive to reach Bologna from Switzerland. Highway driving in the Audi was smooth and quiet, but ultimately repetitive and dull. At least it gave me time to think about the car I was booked to shoot on arrival. It was a replica Shelby Cobra 427, but reportedly a very nice example indeed. I realized that I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about replica cars, and switched off the music to let myself think.

Being honest with myself, I admitted that I might hold something of a bias against replica vehicles. I’m always interested in authentic products when I spend my money, be it on a pair of shoes from a company that has been making the same design for decades, or eating at restaurants whose menus reflect the backgrounds of the chefs, rather than what sells best. Rightly or wrongly, if we were playing a word association game and replica was the prompt, “fake” would probably be the first word to pop into my head.

Since then, I’ve posed this idea to others to understand if this was a commonly held view, and while it differed slightly in the words chosen, the overwhelming majority agreed that original cars were “always better than a replica”. So why was I driving six hours that day to shoot this “fake” car? Well, a job is a job, but images in my mind of an American icon wearing foreign number plates in Italy’s “Motor Valley” sounded fun. I’m so glad that I went though, because the shoot really changed the way I thought about non-original cars, and certainly influenced the selection of cars that we publish here.

On arrival at the owner’s beautiful modern home mid-afternoon, we introduced ourselves and sat down to have a quick chat before the shoot began. Angelo told me a story of how his favorite toy as a child was a model car. He would come to discover that the blue roadster with white stripes he adored was based on a 1965 Shelby Cobra 427, and promised himself that he would try to own the real thing one day. Fast-forward a few decades and sadly, prices of original cars had hit stratospheric levels. Clearly, Angelo shared a dream that many others had aspired to realize, and supply and demand had been working against him for quite some time.

Disappointed but not defeated, he set out to find another way of experiencing the thrill of owning this roadster he had dreamt about parking in his own garage for so long. Clearly, the original is out of the question for all but the most well-heeled enthusiast – and even then, would those folks drive them anywhere near the limit? More likely the remaining original cars will be preserved by collectors in climate controlled garages around the world.

He considered his options and decided that buying a replica Cobra was the only way that he would ever know if the sensation of piloting a real life version of his favorite toy was as good as he had always imagined. Angelo found a number of options available, with big names in the sector like Superformance being considered, but in the end, it was Backdraft Racing that won his order. I got in touch with the owners of the company based down in Florida, as I was curious to see what they were all about.

I asked the blokes in charge what separated their company from the pack (there are a surprising number of firms building Cobra-like vehicles in the United States) and what they would say to folks who think that non-original cars are “lesser” vehicles. He explained that people come to their firm because they build the best car to drive, not the most authentic replica. They race their cars all the time, and the team knows what they are doing. Tony Martin runs the factory where the cars are built, and he knows a thing or two about developing cars and quality control of components. Having won many races in over his career, including the Daytona 24hr in 1984, he adds a lot of credibility to the company.

We as a company do not focus ourselves on building an authentic replica, as we are more concerned about the drivability of our cars. Our biggest selling point is a road test especially if the customer has driven one of our competitor’s cars. We build approximately 160 cars per year and ship them worldwide. We offer different spec cars for different countries to help meet local requirements for registration. We brand the cars with our own name, as we are proud of what we do. Essentially building a modern sports car with 60's styling. Like all automotive companies we believe racing improves the breed and we use this to test and develop our cars. This is not done to the same extent as we do by our competitors.

 Seemed like a pretty no-nonsense explanation, and when I read through the specs, I better understood why Angelo had decided to go with them. Just like this popular post, BDR’s recreation takes the Cobra’s classic styling and tweaks things in order to produce something unique to the brand, and then focuses on producing a roadster with better performing modern components under the bodywork. Choose the engine that excites you the most. Say the small block 427 for those wishing to recreate a muscle car feel, or a Ford Coyote 5.0 for those chasing something more modern. The suspension that is continually tuned and developed through their racing endeavors are all based on BMW components, so customers can be assured of easy parts support in the future. Given the modern performance, and the fact that a comparable Superformance car would likely be around $25,000 more than the RT3, I can definitely see the attraction in placing an order.

Angelo was certainly happy with his decision anyway, and after spending the afternoon studying the car through my lens, I couldn’t fault it. After the car ride there spent wondering how I would judge this non-original car, I’d been anxious to see if it felt cheap, fake, or just “off” in some way. It didn’t. It sent vibrations throughout his home when he turned the key, and sounded magnificent on the run, turning heads wherever we drove. With around 550hp pushing just 2400lbs, it was genuinely fast, and while the suspension was clearly developed to handle the demands of a track, it was certainly drivable on the street as well. It simply felt like a proper, substantial, well-sorted sports car, and I found myself struggling to remember why I had developed a grudge against replica or recreation vehicles.

I’ve decided that it was a combination of seeing poorly executed builds online, and talking to clients with hugely valuable collections of original cars. Generally speaking, people form their own point of view from their personal experiences, and those opinions of people they get along with or admire, and I was no different. With so many manufacturers building cars over time, I suppose I had more than enough to read and discover about “real” cars to bother investing much time in considering replicas. Speaking with the owners of rare original cars, I came to better understand the cost and effort required to preserve classic cars in original condition. They enter concours events around the world to share their cars with fans, and obsess over every detail in both the car’s build and historical record. For the most part, many collectors I dealt with considered themselves stewards of historic objects, and would never deviate from the car as it was first created. With that perspective, I could understand how they looked down on replicas as a cheap imitation at worst, and a flattering homage at best, and I’d adopted their views as my own.

I still hold great respect for those that value originality. Even if you start with an authentic car, it’s much, much harder to maintain a car with original components - repairing and reconditioning rather than replacing or repainting.  These wealthy collectors that buy the sort of cars we showcase here with our auction highlights are definitely true car fans. They are willing to spend more money than some of us spent on our homes to acquire and preserve a piece of automotive art. They could spend that money in thousands of ways that I couldn’t relate to, so I definitely respect that they feel so strongly about original cars – but I no longer share their dismissive attitude towards replicas.

I’ve realized now that dismissing all non-original cars as lesser cars was pretty ignorant of me, perhaps even arrogant. Why should the world be black and white, when the grey areas are so much fun to explore? Exceptional replicas and recreations of many cars do exist, and I feel like they deserve a spot on these pages so that they can be discovered and enjoyed here alongside the other remarkable cars we feature. Perhaps one day you’ll find yourself in Angelo’s position, where your dream car has appreciated beyond what you are capable or willing to spend. If that’s the case then I hope that you’d now have an open mind to at least consider the possibility of trying a replica of that model – you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Tagged in: Backdraftracing BDR RT3

cobra kitIf you have a need for speed, then you're going to want one of these incredible machines. Here are just a few of the fastest, meanest cars in the world.

Hennessey Venom GT
What's amazing about the Hennessey Venom GT isn't that it can hit 270 miles per hour, but that it get from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds. That's it. Of course, that's easy when it has a 7.0 liter LS7 Turbocharged V8 Twin Turbo V8 Engine producing 1244 hp. Naturally, such a speed machine doesn't come cheap. The Hennessey Venom GT is worth a whopping $1,000,000 and upwards. What's most insane, though, is that it was proven as the fastest car in the world, but couldn't reach its top speed because the NASA runway in Florida was only 3.22 miles long.

The Shelby Cobra
The Shelby Cobra is as fast and vicious as its namesake. The original AC cobras were designed to be "Corvette-Beaters," but weighed nearly 500-pounds less than Chevy's Corvette. This, however, came to be one of the things Cobras were known for. Some racing cars or roadsters can weigh upwards of 3,400 pounds, but Cobras weigh much, much less. This lightness is part of what makes them so fast. In 1964, an AC Cobra Coupe famous hit 186 miles per hour on a British roadway. Although originals (or even just their parts) are hard to come by, you can find an AC cobra kit car for sale. These Shelby Cobra kit cars make use of all the modern technology available today, but come with the classic 60s styling. What's not to love about these Cobra kits?

Lamborghini Aventador
The Lamborghini Aventador can hit 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds (2.9, technically), and tops out at 220 miles per hour thanks to its incredible 700 or so horsepower V12 engine.

Which of these speed demons is your favorite? Share in the comments.

cobra car kitSome of the most remarkable cars in the world are also some of the least well-known. The AC Shelby Cobra, a British sports car originally devised and pieced together by creator Caroll Shelby, contains an American motor, weighs 500 pounds less than comparable Corvettes, and reportedly packs a horsepower of about 400 (although the company advertised it as much less to fend off insurance companies' concerns). While undoubtedly remarkable, it is also extremely rare -- almost to the point of obscurity. Case in point: Shelby produced just 350 big-block Cobras and 654 small-block models between 1962 and 1986. A museum in Martinez, California, along with several auto enthusiasts, hopes to bring it out of obscurity and show off the exceptional AC Cobra.

The Cobra Experience In Martinez, California
"Inside the museum, which opened in November [2014], are perfectly preserved pieces of history, including a cobalt blue Dragonsnake (one of only six produced in 1964), a bright orange race car with wide rear wings, and a stretch of four Mustangs," Diablo Magazine writes. The museum is open to the public on the third Sunday of every month. Private tours are available upon request and can be scheduled most other times. The museum also opens its doors for special events, such as its annual car show. This year, the annual auto show will be on June 6. Attendees can enjoy snacks, ice cream, and beer while viewing 100 originals and replicas.

A Cobra Experience Of Your Own
Of course, it's not strictly necessary to go to a museum to see stunning AC Cobra replicas. In fact, consumers can purchase Cobra car kits and put together a replica of their own near their home. AC cobra kit car manufacturers sell parts and detailed instructions together, and consumers can go online for any additional tips and pointers during the process.

The AC Cobra is rare -- but with some effort, you can behold the one-of-a-kind vehicle with your own eyes. Visit The Cobra Experience in Martinez, California, or consider putting together a Cobra car kit for the most rewarding experience.

ac cobra replicaFor 40 years, Vermont man Sy Allen locked up an old car in his barn. When Allen opened up the barn doors to sell the car at auction in January 2015, classic car enthusiasts and connoisseurs couldn't quite believe what the Vermont man had been hiding all of this time. Allen unearthed a 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 in working condition. The Inquisitrdescribed the rare car as "well-preserved." The car remains pretty much in its original condition, other than a new paint job. (The car is now black, instead of its original color, red.) Experts estimated that the car would ultimately "sell for between $1 million and $1.4 million," Inquisitr continues.

Of course, the famous Cobras are extremely scarce -- with only 654 small-block and 350 big-block Cobras ever built. Similarly, manufacturers produced only 538 1964 Mark II car models. With the cars being such a rarity, how can car lovers celebrate their love for the rare Cobra models?

Build Your Very Own AC Cobra Replica
Shelby Cobras are renowned for their impressive horsepower of nearly 400. Experience it first-hand with your very own AC Cobra Replica. More manufacturers are selling complete AC Cobra kits and Shelby Cobra kit cars, enabling average consumers to recreate the famous car from the ground-up. The kits come with all necessary parts as well as instructions for putting the replicas together. Consumers can often go online for any additional help or advice during the process.

Celebrate Shelby Cobras Every Day
Another way to celebrate the Shelby name and rare Cobra vehicles is to purchase the commemorative Baume and Mercier Shelby Cobra watch. Each watch is specially crafted "with racing stripes on the watch dial and the iconic Shelby Cobra logo," according to an April 16 Forbes article.

Uncovering an old Shelby Cobra in a barn or at auction (and especially at a reasonable price) is unlikely. What consumers can do is celebrate the rare and beloved car with AC Cobra replicas and special edition watches dedicated to the classic roadster.

Posted by on in Roadsters
Warrior Cobra Drive Wants You!

This is a remarkable event to support SemperFifund.org and SpecialOps.org.  The father and son team are driving from Camp Pendleton, CA to Camp Lejune, NC, stopping at more than a dozen special events along the way.  Supported by hundreds of volunteers, this 20 day trip will conclude with the delivery of a 4ft x 8ft “Thank You” card signed by thousands of contributors to the commanding officer on July 4th.  The vehicle is a customized Shelby Cobra replica, graphically outfitted to honor these two excellent organizations that do so much to support the families of injured and KIA Marines and Special Ops members.  Please contribute and follow us.

To help support The Warrior Cobra drive please follow this link Warrior Cobra Drive Funding.

If you would like to follow their progress you can follow them on Facebook at Warrior Cobra Drive on Facebook

cobra kitThe organizers of this year's Detroit Auto Show plan to showcase something truly remarkable: an AC Cobra replica -- and not just any ol' replica of the limited edition vehicle, originally built by Carroll Shelby between 1962 and 1968. This year will be the first year to feature a Technology Showcase, and the first (and perhaps the only) show with a 3-D printed Cobra in the spotlight.

All Cobras are markedly rare. Shelby produced just 350 big-block Cobras and 654 small-block Cobras. Cobras' reputations were well-earned, with an incredible horsepower of up to 400 in models such as the Shelby Mustang GT 500 and a comparatively light weight. The vast majority of race cars weigh in at 3,400 or higher; Cobras, on the other hand, weigh much less. The 3-D printed model at the Detroit Auto Show, for example, weighs just 1,400 pounds. Lonnie Love, a manufacturing researcher, hopes the Cobra will demonstrate the potential for faster and more efficient large-scale manufacturing methods.

What Does This Mean For Consumers?

Unfortunately, at this point, not much. As it stands, even the most basic 3-D printers cost $1,000 to $7,000 -- and most of these standard models aren't capable of printing something as large and complex as a roadster. In other words, this may be an option for manufacturers, with considerable time and fine-tuning. It's not likely to be a realistic option for everyday consumers, especially not anytime soon.

What Can They Do?

There is some good news. While it is impractical for the average Joe (or Jane) to 3-D print a Cobra replica, there are other options. Various companies sell complete Cobra kits, providing you with all of the necessary parts to build your own race car. Consumers can purchase AC Cobra kits and a variety of other, Shelby Cobra kit cars, for example. Kits come with instructions and diagrams, and customers can refer to the manufacturer or go online for more information.

The Detroit Auto Show will feature one of the first and only 3-D printed Cobra models. Make your own replica at home by purchasing a complete Cobra car kit.

Posted by on in Roadsters

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After 9 months of development we are finally able to show our new fast back hardtop. This is our MK3 Lemans style top and it is uniquely styled to fit the BDR roadster. The new MK3 Lemans removable top will be available in carbon fiber and in fiberglass. It will retrofit onto all BDR RT3 models. The main focus of the design was to keep the roof simple. To do this we decided to do away with the original hatch used on the Lemans Top in the 60's. This helps us save weight and it allows the top to be removed and installed easier. The removal of rear hatch also gives easy access to the trunk while the top is on the car.  The top is attached to the car in seven different locations and it takes approximately 5 minutes to install or remove from the vehicle.

For customers wanting the top to resemble the original Lemans styled top from the 60's we will be offering a rear hatch for it. This will add some weight and complexity in removing the top but it will more closely resemble the tops from the 60's. We are currently finalizing the side window design which will also be supplied as removable units. With the addition of the removable top to a BDR roadster we intend to lengthen the driving season for our customers.

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