In the 1960s, the Shelby Cobra was rare. In the 21st century, the originals are even more rare than they were back then. A stunningly small number were made at all — about 650 small-block Cobras and about 350 big-block Cobras between 1962 and 1968. Similarly rare, the 1964 Mark II model saw a total of 538 built. To combat this rarity, car aficionados have tried to replicate the classic look by way of cobra replica kits, but what is a cobra kit anyway?
What is a Cobra Kit?
A cobra kit is essentially what it sounds like: a replica car kit to make your own version of the Shelby Cobra in your own garage, on your own time. A company will very literally send you all the pieces of the car and you simply put it together. Depending on your budget, you can get various bells and whistles for the car — the cheaper options may not come with headrests or tires whereas the more expensive versions give you everything you can imagine.
Why is the Cobra so Popular?
The Cobra is popular for a lot reasons. It was built as an answer to the American-born Corvette — a muscle car that could simply out-power anything else on the road. The car was lightweight, powerful (almost 400 horsepower), and Cobra Coupe reached a staggering 186 mph on a British highway in 1964. That garnered attention in the car industry worldwide, and the rarity of production helped keep it popular.
These days, the car is symbolic of the heyday of muscle cars and the early days of performance vehicles. They often sacrificed comfort for speed, leaving a driver feeling less than cozy behind the wheel. However, due to the “classic” status, it has become one of the most sought after cars in the world. Helping its legacy, a Shelby Cobra (the Americanized version of the same car) was the prize possession in the 2000 blockbuster film “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” which earned over $200 million at the worldwide box office. The result of this prominence is simply people wanting the car. Fans will make replicas, they’ll do repairs and parts-replacements, and come up with anything they can do to recreate the all-time classic look.
In short, it’s fine if you’re thinking “what is a Cobra kit?” but if you want to drive something that’s a mirror image of the classic Cobra, you may want to get acquainted. An untrained eye may not know the difference between a Cobra kit and the real thing, and a trained eye may be jealous that you had the wherewithal to build it yourself.