When it comes to racing heritage, few names stick out as much as Shelby. The legendary Shelby vehicles set track records and demolished competition in its heyday. Well, those days are far from over as we’ve seen a resurgence of late-model trucks and cars coming out of the Shelby American factory packed with serious horsepower underhood. While Ford has a long list of vehicles to choose from, Shelby American decided to take a different approach and created a truly amazing work of art with its Cobra Cammer concept car revealed at the 2022 Carlisle Ford Nationals event.
“Carroll Shelby wanted to fit a massive Ford big-block engine into a Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe for Le Mans in 1964,” said Gary Patterson, president of Shelby American. “While many know that a one-off car was built with a 427 ‘wedge’ Ford engine, that was not Carroll Shelby’s initial vision. He hoped to pair the sleek aerodynamics of the Peter Brock designed body with the incredibly powerful aluminum single overhead cam version of the FE motor. Since it was impossible to obtain one of those rare engines in time for the race, Shelby American installed the NASCAR version. Our concept car was built to realize Carroll’s initial Cammer vision.”
When Carroll Shelby originally wanted to create this big-block beast as a secret weapon, he contracted John Ohlsen to lengthen the chassis of one of six coupes. The original 289 cubic-inch small-block engine was to be replaced by a much more stout single overhead cam (SOHC) V8 Ford engine that was based off of the Ford 427 cubic inch side-oiler block. This block had revised oiling and cross-bolted main bearing caps to handle the high rpm Carroll wished to see on track. The engine made 616-horsepower with a single four-barrel and 657 horsepower with a dual four-barrel pumping fuel into the thirsty big-block Ford.
Shelby American has recreated Carroll’s dream by utilizing the craftsmanship of Legendary GT for its Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe continuation. Each aluminum Coupe produced by Legendary GT incorporates safety and performance improvements without any sacrifice in structural integrity, as they are built from the original blueprints and measurements Carroll had.
This Cobra Cammer continuation of the big-block Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe follows the exact specs Carroll had given Ohlsen to produce the modified racecar. The newly unveiled coupe sports an aluminum body over a 3-inch lengthened chassis and a modified hood to fit over the 427 SOHC big-block engine. The big-block engine will be making 650-horsepower and be paired with a period-correct 4-speed manual transmission.
This concept is a tribute to the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, one of the most celebrated cars in automotive history. It answers the ‘what if’ question for everyone who shared Carroll’s dream. Gary Patterson
It’s rare that anyone would bring presents to their own birthday party, but again Shelby American does things differently. While the Carlisle Ford Nationals is celebrating Shelby American’s 60th anniversary, the crowd was able to enjoy the cake of seeing this beautiful continuation of Carroll’s dream in the flesh. Once again, we’re left awestruck trying to figure out how we can jump in the driver’s seat of a Shelby American vehicle.