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Shelby Cammer Cobra: Stuffing a Massive 427 V8 Into America’s Icon

The concept Cobra is finished in polished aluminum and boasts 650 hp under the hood.
Silver Shelby in front of black curtains
Shelby American/Andrew Welsh

When Carroll Shelby was asked to choose his favorite car is, he’d often respond, “the next one.” The latest concept from his namesake company, Shelby American, is now complete and if the man himself were here he’d surely be pleased with it.

Unveiled yesterday at the Carlisle Ford Nationals presented by Meguiar’s in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the Cammer Cobra celebrates Shelby American’s 60th anniversary.  Under the clamshell hood, a 427 single overhead cam V8 roars with 650 horsepower and a period-correct four-speed manual gearbox drives the wheels.

As the black cover fell away at the unveiling, a unique finish revealed itself.

“That’s not a wrap, folks,” said Scott Black from TimePiece PR, speaking for Shelby American. “That is genuine polished aluminum.”

Dubbed the “Cammer Cobra,” the continuation Shelby Daytona Coupe was built on Carroll Shelby’s dream for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  

Carroll Shelby wanted to fit a massive Ford big block engine into a Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe for Le Mans in 1964,” said Gary Patterson, president of Shelby American. “While many know that a one-off car was built with a 427 ‘wedge’ Ford engine, that was not Carroll Shelby’s initial vision. He hoped to pair the sleek aerodynamics of the Peter Brock designed body with the incredibly powerful aluminum single overhead cam version of the FE motor. Since it was impossible to obtain one of those rare engines in time for the race, Shelby American installed the NASCAR version. Our concept car was built to realize Carroll’s initial Cammer vision.”

Shelby Cammer Cobra

For the 1964 Le Mans race, Carroll Shelby asked a fabricator to lengthen the chassis of one of the six Daytona Coupes so he could replace the 289 Ford engine with the 427. Unfortunately, the plans for his “secret weapon” fell through when he couldn’t get the motor in time.

This concept finishes the job Carroll hoped for back in 1964. The giant big block is accommodated by three extra inches on the chassis and a modified hood, and it likely sounds like a freight train when it fires up. If you’re anywhere near Carlisle, Pennsylvania this weekend, go check it out.

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