Custom Shelby Cobra Packs Massive 444 CI Stroker Engine

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mustangforums.com 1965 Shelby Cobra Replica

One-off tribute to the classic Shelby Cobra features a massive engine, side pipes, and carbon fiber accents.

There are some pairings that just sound right. For instance, spaghetti and meatballs. There’s also rest and relaxation. A small car and big power is one of our favorites; this 1965 “Backdraft” Shelby Cobra GT4Four4 one-off from Vintage Motorsports (VMS) is a great example of the combo.

As a tribute to the Cobra, it sports many of the visual cues of the yesteryear car that inspired it. The compact curvaceous, muscular shape is there, albeit topped with a removable roof. Ditto for the knock-off-style wheels, side pipes, and manual transmission. Even the open-ring interior upholstery is a nod to a bygone era.

The Backdraft Cobra also has plenty of modern design and performance touches. Those Halibrand-style wheels are wrapped in Nitto rubber. Inside, the custom gauges sit inside of a carbon fiber dashboard. The Hurst shifter is topped by a knob made out of even more of the lightweight material.

mustangforums.com 1965 Shelby Cobra Replica

As well as it combines the past and present, the Backdraft Cobra does an even better job of combining its small outer dimensions with huge power under its hood. Vintage Motorsports shoehorned an absolutely monstrous, naturally aspirated 444-cubic-inch (7.3-liter) stroker motor with Cross Ram fuel injection into the engine bay; output is 600 horsepower. That giant is connected to headers, a Tremec six-speed manual gearbox, and a limited-slip rear end with 3.73 gears. A VMS Stage 2 suspension helps the Backdraft Cobra stick to the road; Wilwood brakes help keep it in one piece.

Look for this crazy-powerful creation to cross the auction block in Monterey later this week as part of Monterey Car Week. Mecum Auctions expects a bid between $115,000 and $125,000 will take this black and white beast home.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK-Forum.com and Ford-Trucks.com, Derek also contributes to other outlets. He started There Will Be Cars on Instagram and Facebook to get even more automotive content out to fellow enthusiasts.

Derek can be contacted at [email protected]

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