January 19, 2014, 4:00 AM
Of all the Cobras ever to slither out of Carroll Shelby's snakepit, the 289 FIA Cobras are arguably among the most significant, for they opened the door to the Cobras in international competition, ultimately resulting in a World Championship for the marque.
They were driven at the time by such now legendary drivers as Bob Bondurant, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill and Ken Miles, winning regularly in competition with Corvettes and Ferraris.
The 289 FIA Cobras were built specifically for, with modifications that included a new instrument panel, widened front and rear fenders, cut-back doors, new dampers, racing wheels featuring a pin-drive hub, oil cooler scoops and a competition spec 289 cubic-inch small block engine.
To honour the 50th anniversary of that car's introduction, Shelby American has announced the release of 50 limited edition continuation series (CSX7000) Shelby 289 FIA Cobras. (Shelby American is a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc.)
The continuation models, which made their debut this weekend at the annual Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, will be painted "Viking Blue" with FIA stripes and roundels.
They feature a black FIA interior, special billet anniversary badges, original style wheels and a variety of additional options.
Because complete new vehicles could not meet today's safety standards, the CSX7000 Continuation Shelby Cobra 289 FIA’s are component vehicles, built to order and delivered as rolling chassis without a drivetrain.
Installation of a suitable engine and transmission is left to the buyer or a professional aftermarket constructor.
"With a small block V8 pushing only 2,100 lbs., it’s the lightest Cobra ever built with an incredible power-to-weight ratio," said Vince LaViolette, senior designer and head of R&D at Shelby American.
According to the company, the Continuation Shelby Cobra 289 FIA vehicles retain the authentic look and suspension type of the originals but are upgraded to contemporary standards, with modern disc brakes, a stronger frame and the bodies available in either aluminum. Like the original, or fibreglass.
The 50th Anniversary Edition also features a complete exhaust for a small block Ford V-8, a special fitted car cover and optional detachable steering wheel.
Prices begin at $94,995 (US) for a fibreglass bodied car and $159,995 (US) with an aluminum body, excluding drive train. Orders can be placed through through a network of Shelby American Cobra dealers.
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