Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Shelby Cobra Kit

Very few cars are as desirable and iconic as the Shelby AC Cobra, and the Shelby Cobra kit car is always among the most popular replica car kit models. Here’s why.

  • The AC Cobra has an amazing history. The car was built by Carroll Shelby, a Texan chicken-farmer become racing legend who was forced off the circuit as a driver by health considerations. He wanted to combine the compact and powerful American V-8 engine with a lightweight European body and create a killer racing car. Though he originally went to Chevrolet for his engine, they rejected him and Ford happily took up the mantle. The original AC Cobras became known as Corvette-Beaters”, and it was their light weight and powerful design that made this possible. While racing cars can weigh as much as 3,400 pounds, the Cobras were famous for weighing less than 2,500. Ford’s work in the Cobra led to the Mustang and Ford’s presence as a dominant force in racing for many years. The AC Cobra reached the amazing speed of 299 kmh on a British motorway one day in 1964, and since then never looked back.
  • Why do people want to own one, or at least a Shelby Cobra kit? There are a lot of reasons to want a Shelby Cobra kit. For some, its the power and torque at their control, which helps you focus and makes driving a pleasure. Some want them because they are rare: only 538 of the 1964 Mark II models were ever built. Some want them for the street only, while many want the chance to race them. Some value the history of the car and the respect it commands, while for others it’s the classic lines and character. Some people get their Shelby Cobra kit for nothing more than the pure fun that comes from driving such an amazing machine, especially if you put it together yourself.
  • What to know before you buy a Shelby Cobra kit. First, there are a lot of kit car options to choose from. They range from full-on replicas that mimic every detail nearly perfectly to fiberglass replicas that have an authentic look (and which you can build yourself). Pre-owned replicas might be the best choice for you if you don’t want to spend months putting the car together yourself. It’s also possible to buy a new replica and have someone put it together for you. Many websites sell the Shelby Cobra kit, and forums for car enthusiasts are often a great source of information.
  • How do I choose just the right Shelby Cobra kit? There are many Cobra kits available, and a few tips for making a smart decision about which one is for you.
    1. Don’t go crazy If you let your heart get too involved too quickly, you could end up buying a lemon, a kit too difficult for your to finish yourself, or something that in the end turns out to be too expensive for your needs. Keep yourself objective until you’ve considered all the possibilities.
    2. Do your homework You need to become a Cobra expert, learning all there is to know about the various kits and used cars on the market. What mechanical and technical skills do you need, or do you have access to a skilled mechanic who can help you? Have you thought about sourcing parts?
    3. Look at everything very carefully If you don’t live where you can easily strike out and see the cars in person, ask for pictures from every angle, inside and out. Don’t be afraid to demand receipts for everything on cars that are already put together. If the car was built by a professional kit crew, check with them that they really did the work and whether it’s still under warranty.

A Cobra could end up being one of the most rewarding purchases you ever make. Just be sure to do your homework, know what you’re getting into. Then you’ll have a car you can cherish for years to come.