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Shelby Cobra 427R

Founded by former racing driver Carroll Shelby in 1962, Shelby American developed their first ‘Cobra’, a Ford V-8 powered car built by AC Cars in the UK to Shelby’s specifications, and raced the type for several years in the early 1960’s. In 1965 Shelby American won the World Manufacturers’ GT Championship, the only American manufacturer to win the prestigious series before or since then.

This replica Cobra 427 hit speeds of over 100 mph during its feature race against an aerobatic aircraft and helicopter at the Wings Over Wairarapa airshow.  Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

Bevan Wright is the owner of a Chevrolet-powered Almac* 1965 Shelby Cobra 427R replica. The vehicle, built in 1989 is seen here during the Wings Over Wairarapa airshow, at Hood Aerodrome (Masterton, New Zealand), where Bevan was involved in a feature race between the Cobra, a high performance aerobatic aircraft, and a helicopter.

The body is made out of kevlar which is incredibly lightweight (and bullet proof) and only has a small windshield on the driver's side and a removable one on the passenger side. Both the front and rear sections of the body can be removed for maintenance and repairs.

This Cobra is powered by a 7-litre Chevrolet LS7 V8 engine that features ported heads, a race cam, forged pistons, dry sump and a Hillborn fuel injection setup. The engine produces around 650 BHP with a compression ratio of 12.5:1.   Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

The engine in this car is matched to a 5 speed straight cut SAENZ racing gearbox with a sintered bronze Tilton triple plate clutch which came out of a NASCAR and a 9 inch Strange Engineering LSD. This results in the car being able to reach a top speed of 185 MPH, as seen in the video as the car screams down the runway at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton, New Zealand.

360° Video: Shelby Cobra 427R vs Plane and Chopper -- sit in with Bevan as he races two other awesome pieces of machinery in this 360° VR video.

A free-to-view interview with Bevan is also available on Historical Machines TV (, our premier advert-free video-on-demand streaming service. For less than the price of a cup of coffee per month you can access our ever-growing catalog of historical machinery videos at:

Cobra Practice Laps At Ruapuna Raceway (Christchurch, New Zealand) -- here's some additional older footage of another Cobra, in this case Gary Frost's example.

* Almac is a New Zealand-based kit car company founded in 1984 and located in Upper Hutt. Almac cars is a part of Almac Reinforced Plastics Ltd fibreglass product manufacturing a company founded in 1971 by Alex McDonald. McDonald's interest in kit cars started while he was living in England, having purchased a Jem Marsh Sirocco. The Cobra 427 kit car was shown at the 1984 National Hot Rod Show and 17 cars were sold that year. None were badged as Almac's, and some have been mistaken as genuine Cobra's. More than 250 of these Cobras have been produced and are still producing them using Almac made fibreglass bodies.

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