Story by Howard Walker - Photography courtesy of Ford (Carroll Shelby images), Howard Walker (all others)

You can feel the ghost of Ol’ Shel still swirling around the cockpit. Listen closely and you might just hear his belly laughs amid the tortured screams of fricasseeing rubber from one of his smoky burnouts.

Or his “Aw, shucks” at the ground-shaking thunder of the big V10 as he spins the tach needle to the 7500 rpm redline in search of sub-4-second zero-to-60s.

Back in late 2003 and still feisty at age 80, Carroll Hall Shelby was doing what he loved most: hammering a Cobra around a race track. But instead of some big-block 427, there he was piloting a brand-new iteration, the Ford-built Shelby Cobra concept that weeks later would be one of the headliners at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show.

This was the car pitched to follow the just-launched Ford GT: a hip-high, 605-horsepower two-seater code-named Daisy. It borrowed many of the GT’s greasy bits to create a modern-day version of one of the most iconic sports cars ever made.

It was in 2003, at California’s Irwindale Speedway, that Shelby slid his 6-foot-2 frame behind the wheel of the concept and proceeded to do epic burnouts for a film crew while hammering around the short, half-mile banked oval at fairly insane velocities. The man was having fun in the car he’d helped create.

Sadly, despite universal pleas for Ford to build it, the modern-day Cobra never made it into production. And after its rapturous Detroit reveal and a few months of being schlepped around the auto show circuit, the Cobra Concept was mothballed and relegated to some “Raiders of the Lost Ark”-like storage facility, released for only the occasional static show appearance.

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GLK New Reader
6/3/19 6:16 p.m.

Not every iconic car needs to be reimagined. This AC Cobra rendition reminds me when the Italians created a new Lamborghini Miura concept. Proving some originals are as good as it gets. Cars are industrial art. Updating them is like trying to modernize a famous work of art. At best it’s not offensive. At worst it’s kitsch folly. This Cobra is the automotive equivalent of a ceramic Buddha with a clock in its belly.

Donatello New Reader
6/3/19 8:37 p.m.

I don't hate the looks as much as GLK. It looks better than anything in my own garage, lol. And goes faster. And costs about 825 times as much as what I paid for my last car. 

Mr Theodore: please bring this car to the next drivers school where I will be instructing ;)

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