2009 Cobra SC540
Ford USA produced the Shelby Concept Cobra and displayed the prototype at motor shows in USA during 2004. The car was fitted with a 6.8 litre, V10 motor and a rear mounted transaxle and suspension components from the Ford GT. Although the car was well received, possibly due to financial constraints at the time, production of the car did not proceed. The Concept Cobra provided the inspiration for producing a similar looking Cobra Concept Kit Car and it is named the SC540.
Founder and former owner of DRB, Denis Bedford, was smitten at first sight by the Shelby Cobra Concept when it appeared at the 2004 Detroit Motor Show. Using little more than photographs and a scale model as reference, Bedford set about shaping a car that would closely resemble the show-stopping roadster while accommodating easily acquired-components from a late-model Aussie V8 Falcon.
The 540 shape is distinctive and purposeful without being truly pretty. Low-angle views flatter its chunky lines, but behind the slab sides is a cabin way more spacious than was ever possible in original AC-derived Cobras. Even with standard Ford seats, sprawl-space and elbow room is excellent. In standard Ford form, the 5.4-litre Boss V8 generates a useful 290kW. With that quantity of kilowatts on tap and only 1350kg to shift, you’d think full-throttle getaways are bound to fill the mirrors with a haze of burning rubber but apart from a chirp before the selectable traction control kicks in, the 540 just squats and goes. 0-100km/h takes less than five seconds and it stops like you’ve driven into treacle thanks to ABS-aided, 325mm discs. The welded aluminium monocoque achieves five times the required standard in ‘beaming tests’ which measure torsional rigidity and front pillars play a major part in roll-over protection and are supplemented by integrated roll hoops mounted behind both seats.
A difference noted between the Concept and ‘Original’ Cobras of the 60’s is a complete absence of wind buffeting. Even with deflectors fitted, the older cars would funnel gales of offensive air into the passenger space. This one, with the electrically-operated windows up or down, feels more like an open-top Benz or BMW. Then there’s the ride. On the freeway the 540 lopes along in near silence, which is expected for a car that in this specification would cost around $100,000 to build in 2009… perfect for the Cobra lover that just wants a more comfortable experience. It seems there was only approx 30 of these kits ever made and this is the first of only what is said to be 13 that were made and registered… The Cobra SC540 is Vin’d 001 and will always be the known as the first one to be made and shows only 46,185 original k’s from its engine and drive line.
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