The Serpentine Saga begins: I had a marvelous conversation with an original Shelby (289) Cobra owner and competition driver at the track in Maple Grove, Pennsylvania in the 1980s. He had owned and driven and raced an original 4-cylinder/2.6L Austin-Healey 100… the original “Big Healey.” A few years later he traded it for his next “Big Healey,” A Healey 3000 model with its 2.9L inline six. He had always yearned for those sports cars to have a small-displacement V8 powerplant. He said his genie in effect came out of the bottle when the original AC (and Shelby) Cobras thundered onto the world stage in 1962. Fitted initially with a Ford small-block 260 cid V8, then with the next entry to Ford’s small-block lineup, (the 289 cid V8), it was about as close to a “Big Healey” with a V8 that he could wish for… a true British sports machine with a high-performance American small-block V8 powerplant. He purchased his first AC Cobra in 1964. It was the same year the those little 289 Cobras were thrashing Enzo’s Team drivers at FIA tracks all around the world, from Mille Miglia to Nürburgring to The Argentina GP to LeMans. CS
The photographs you see on this page as accurately as possible reflect the way you’d see this Lean, Mean, Green serpentine drivin’ machine in person. You see, my photographer friend Blake Johnson made every effort to carefully follow this site’s Expert Tips for photographing a Cobra with his Sony mirrorless digital camera.
It was indeed the small-block Cobras (289 slabsides, 289 USRRCs and 289 FIAs) and Peter Brock’s Daytona Coupes that wrenched the WMC (World Manufacturers Championship) from Enzo Ferrari’s grasp in 1965 (for the 1964 racing season). And it was the 289 Cobras that The Rip Chords [Phil Stewart, Arnie Marcus, Rich Rotkin and Bernie Bringas, all from southern California] made famous (indeed, Top 10) in the summer of 1963. And here’s ‘Hey Little Cobra’ just for you, in audio/visual form, courtesy of YouTube. The audio gets lively, so be sure to adjust your sound volume (and bypass any commercial you may encounter on YouTube. Enjoy!
hotlink: Hey Little Cobra
—Beneath the Green Bonnet—
289 HiPo-style powerplant
—In this exquisitely handcrafted cockpit—
(this is, after all, an E.R.A.)
—Chassis, Suspension, Brakes—
—Where your Luggage Meets the Road—
With just over 3,000 miles [4,800 km] logged, you’re assured lots of roadway adventures ahead.
Why wait for two years to build a new ERA when this one is ready for you to take out and punish today.
You’ll encounter no downside surprises… just spectacular driving adventures!
Serious inquiries only, please!