Mighty mean Cobra
Take that, Chevy Camaro fans. And you, over there, wearing that Dodge Challenger cap – go sit in the corner like a good boy, and behave. Before you even think about becoming real, consider what you’re up against: a real live Cobra in the spirit of the finest tradition of Cobras, the kind of pony car with so much muscle that it oughta be called a Clydesdale. Ford, not content to sit back in rack in sale after sale of its successful new Mustang and Mustang GT, debuted at the 2006 North American International Auto Show a soft top 2007 Ford Shelby Cobra to go along with the Ford Shelby Cobra coupe when it rolls out to dealer lots later this year. Pricing was not available, but according to Ford, you can expect to land a Shelby Cobra starting in the mid $40,000 range and going up – likely rather quickly. Like the coupe, the convertible will have a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that generates 475 horsepower and an estimated 475 lb. ft. of torque. The Cobra comes with a six-speed manual transmission, front Brembo disc brakes, and rear discs. It is, of course, a rear-wheel drive beast. Other similarities are in the suspension setup, where the both coupe and convertible get a retuned MacPherson strut independent front and solid axle rear system with a Panhard rod. Ford says that the suspension has been validated on the track, courtesy of the Mustang FR500C, which recently won the championship in the Grand-Am Cup Series. Wheels are 18 inches, and are fitted with P255/45ZR high-performance tires. Also like the coupe, the convertible will carry the traditional Shelby rocker stripe, and will feature Cobras just about everywhere – including, for the first time, one on the front grille. The interior has been tweaked to appeal to driving enthusiasts, with the speedometer and tachometer swapped, and a new choice of color scheme: Charcoal Black of Charcoal Black and Crimson Red. Differences between coupe and convertible, besides open air in one, seem to be limited to weight: in building the Cobra convertible, the Shelby/SVT collaboration added more than 125 lbs. of weight, mostly from structural reinforcements. We’ll see if there’s a performance difference later on during the year.
Photos by Ron Perry