Shelby Cobra 427
The Shelby Cobra competed in the FIA Speed World Challenge, a world endurance championship that differed from GT-class racing because there was no limitation on engine displacement.
To defeat their rival, Ferrari, in this series, the folks at Shelby American fitted a large displacement engine into their race car, which came in the form of the 7.0-liter 427ci “Side Oiler”, a pure purpose-built racing engine. Thus, the development of the Shelby Cobra 427 was under way, starting near the end of 1964. The first prototype was completed in the spring of 1965.
One problem that immediately arose during development was the strength of the chassis, or lack thereof. In comparison to the 345 HP produced by the 289 engine, the 427 Side Oiler’s 493 HP was simply too much power for the existing setup. Phil Remington, in charge of design at Shelby America, determined that the suspension was the car’s weakest link, so the side-mounted leaf suspension was abandoned in favor of a conventional double wishbone with coil dampers.
The Shelby Cobra 427 cleared its 100-unit minimum production requirement and acquired FIA homologation. The car first competed in the SCCA A-Production class at the opening of the 1966 season. In the end, 348 Shelby Cobra 427s were built with 88 of them being competition spec models or test cars. The 427 S/C is a road-going model with competition spec equipment. Only 31 of these examples were built.