Members of the Cobra Club of South Africa, in conjunction with Gauteng’s foremost Cobra specialist, The Snake Pit, will be doing a complete Cobra rebuild, starting with a bare chassis, at this year’s Route 66 motoring extravaganza at the Rand Show 2017.
Motoring journalist and television personality Stuart Johnston, who has organised the Classic Car and Motorcycle display at the Rand Show for the past five years, gets low-down on the build, which takes place along the recreated Route 66 in the Rand Show’s Hall 5.
The Backdraft Cobra that will be built up by The Snake Pit and the Cobra Club is one of the world’s finest examples of a replica Cobra, with many thousands of these SA-built cars being exported to the US and Europe.
“Interest in Cobras has never been higher, and this is really going to blow Rand Show visitors’ minds,” says CEO of The Snake Pit, Paul de Klerk, who has been involved in rebuilding and maintaining Cobra replicas for well over a decade.
“We will arrive with a freshly painted chassis and body, all the suspension and interior bits and, of course, an engine,” he explains. And from there, the magic will begin, with Rand Show visitors getting a front-row seat.
“We will be doing all the work in our own special ‘workshop’ in Hall 5, just as it would have happened when the great Carroll Shelby built the original Cobras from kits, sent over from AC Cars in England back in the 1960s.”
The car that De Klerk and the Cobra Club will be assembling is an earlier model Backdraft that has undergone a body-off restoration. The chassis and suspension components have been powder-coated in black, while the body colour is expected to be a dark metallic silver. The car uses BMW suspension, steering and braking components.
“We have a special motor for our Route 66 project,” said De Klerk. “It’s a Ford 351 V8, stretched to 408 cubic inches of displacement, which means it comes in at just a little under 7,0-litres!”
The team will display the engine alongside the car as the build progresses during show weekend days. “The idea is that on the final weekend, we drop the motor in, fire her up and drive the car home when the show ends on April 23.”
In addition to the build-up project, The Snake Pit will be showing off many new Backdraft Cobras in Hall 5.
A SLICE OF HISTORY
The Cobra story in sports car history is a fascinating one. The Cobra was created by Texan Carroll Shelby in 1962, by inserting a small-block Ford V8 into a British sports car called the AC Ace. Shelby talked both Ford and AC into supplying him engines and cars, and the AC Cobra Ford began winning races in America and Europe.
Just over 1 000 genuine AC Cobras were built between 1962 and 1968, but since then tens of thousands of these cars have been replicated by builders all over the globe, using fibreglass bodies.
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) March 31, 2017