Sunday, January 10, 2010

The AC Shelby Cobra 427 Flip-Top.

Yes, that's its name. I'll start by stating that the Bolwell Mark 4 had no mortgage on bottom hinged doors and front and rear bodywork opening like this. ("clam shells" as the Seppos call them). It was built in 1964 for Carroll Shelby by Ken Miles and these 2 photos are publicity shots of this famous car from RM Auctions in America as they prepare for its upcoming auction sale.
Carroll Shelby as a racing driver actually won at LeMans for Aston Martin in 1959 and very soon after, his heart problems forced him to give up his driving career. At roughly the same time the John Tojeiro designed AC Ace was being taken out of production because Bristol ceased making their 2-litre 6 cylinder engine, the power unit for the Ace. These 2 events really assisted Shelby to realise his long held dream of building the world's fastest sportscar. When he read of the demise of the Ace he immediately contacted AC and his contacts at Ford, convincing AC to remain in production and getting Ford to supply a modified version of the 260 Fairlane engine and the Cobra was born. I'm sure it wasn't that simple but that's basically how it happened and they went on to racing successes in addition to making and selling an awesome production road car. As time went on and as Shelby worked hard to keep up with the competition in sportscar racing in the Americas and Europe he saw the need to ask Ken Miles to develop a more potent version of the Cobra and this car was it. Miles began with a 'standard' 289 Cobra chassis and fitted a NASCAR sourced 427. The chassis was strengthened to deal with the extra torque and was fitted with a one-off lightweight body where the nose and tail were made in a single piece. In its present form it produces a staggering 623 bhp on the dyno and it's being offered for sale this month in Arizona.
Now here's a couple of shots of a Mark 4 of slightly less bhp. Does anybody recognise it from the distant past? Tell me. To start with I'm not offering any clues.


Anonymous said...

Interesting machine, the Flip-Top, it was the 2nd big-block powered Cobra built, it was originally powered by a Nascar sourced Aluminium 390 big-block, which proved fragile in races. The machine was variously known as the 'Super Cobra' or 'The Turd'(by Shelby mechanics). The car was very fast in a straight line but Squirrily in corners due to the 289(sourced chassis) transverse leaf front spring.

david said...

mk4 was my first sold to Rob Joy