America has had a fascination with the automobile every since its invention at the turn of the 20th Century. Car enthusiasts have always been intrigued by the way the are made, the way they operate, and how they can be made better than the ones before. Performance driving was an interest early on, with car makers challenging horse owners to races around tracks and on straightaways as a recreational activity.
Over the course of the 20th Century, amazing strides were made in the world of the automobile. Performance continued to reach heights unimaginable when new car models came out, time after time. Speed has been an issue since the beginning. Every new car model wanted to claim speed as one of its big features. If you could convince a car buyer that they could go from one place to another and get there more quickly, chances are you could sell more cars.
Car racing has always been its own world. Americans have tinkered with car models and rigged them to go faster since the Model T was a baby. Performance driving in racing conditions showed the bravery of the drivers as well as the creativity of the car builders. Testing and trying what kinds of modifications would make a car go faster with more stability in a race or on the road have led to the types of cars we have today.
Carroll Shelby was a significant car builder in the 1960s. His Cobras were cars designed and built to compete with and outperform the Chevrolet Corvette. In fact, the original Cobras were designed to beat the Corvettes in every way. They were referred to as Corvette Beaters and were designed to be lighter yet perform better than cars that can weigh up to 3,400 pounds. These early Cobras weighed in 500 pounds lighter than the Corvette, but famously reached a speed of 186 mph on a British speedway in 1964.
Today, many automobile enthusiasts enjoy building the Cobra themselves in garages of their own. An AC Cobra kit can be purchased by anyone looking for the type of muscle car that they dreamed of having when they were a kid, playing with the model toy cars. For those with a serious eye for detail and history can put together an authentic replication of a Shelby Cobra by purchasing and assembling original parts. This is the more expensive route, of course, but for many collectors and racing fans, this is more than worth the expense.
Performance driving can take many forms. Some love the thrill of building the car for the pleasure of doing it. Others love the challenge of getting a car ready to race. Amateur racing in the United States is bigger now than it ever has been. Car builders and car drivers love the challenge of making their car faster and more durable than the nest guy’s. No matter what the outcome, America is where it all began and where it will always remain.