major (36-column-inch) feature article by WSJ staff reporter
Daniel Michaels about Kirkham's Cobra connection in Poland appeared
in the Wall Street Journal European Edition on 20 March
1997, and in the Journal's North American Edition on 28 March,
Hot Rod That Came In From The Cold"
few excerpts for you from that article:
20 March 1997
a Car That Flies, Try a Shelby Cobra from a MiG Factory
American handcrafts replicas in Polish aircraft complex,
stirring up rivals in U.S.
David Kirkham yells over the roar of lathes and hammers. "This
isn't automotive machining," he says, running a finger
along the finely-honed metal. "These are aviation specifications.
That's what you get building cars in an aircraft factory."
car, the ultrafast Shelby 427 Cobra, is the stuff of auto legends.
The factory, PZL-WSK Mielec SA, has its own history: During the
Korean War, it turned out MiG-15 fighters for the communist north.
Today the unlikely combination forms one of the stranger defense-industry
conversions, mixing a pricey Western pastime with faded East
Bloc military might.
elements from his own and friends' original Cobras, Dave Kirkham
first commissioned the Mielec machinists to craft replica parts.
Collectors, hungry for high-quality (replacement) equipment,
heard about the project and snapped up everything Mr. Kirkham
offered. Today his operation crafts some 700 of the Cobra's 1,500-plus
components. Some even end up in cars from rival Shelby American,
sourced through middlemen.
(Carroll) Shelby, now 74 years old, turned out fewer than 350
of the two-seaters between 1965 and 1969. His handcrafted Cobras
paired a lightweight aluminum racecar body from Britain's AC
Cars Ltd. with a massive eight-cylinder, 500-plus-horsepower
engine from Ford Motor Co. It quickly became a sports-car icon,
blending graceful styling with a top speed above 200 miles per
hour--a bracing 320 kilometers per hour.
Dralle, a 30-year Cobra race driver in California who now rebuilds
engines for the Kirkhams' cars, says they're "identical
to or better than the original." Having pushed one to
187 miles per hour (about 300 kilometers an hour), he says the
Polish-built cars' progeny is appropriate: "It's like
flying a MiG on the ground."
For more product information and prices, contact us at:
West, 1680 North
Provo, Utah 84601 U.S.A.
or email us at sales@KM427.com
mention that you found us at our Cobra Country web site!
and Cobra are registered trademarks.
Kirkham Engineering is not connected to holders of these trademarks.
Copyright 19972013. Alle Rechte vorbehalten. All rights
reserved. ID-encrypted images. Protected under both U.S. Federal
copyright law and international treaties. No part of this work,
including text, images and computer code, may be reproduced or
copied in any form or by any meanselectronic, graphic,
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storage & retrieval systemswithout the express prior
written permission of Kirkham Motorsports and Crown Publishing
me to the AutoWeek
article 1 ("Polish Peace Dividend")
me to the AutoWeek
article 2 ("Poles Apart")
me to the Wall
excerpts ("The Hot Rod That Came in from the Cold")