The Shelby Cobra's 198 mph speed record has been unbeaten for 50 years - until now.
If you want to buy an original Shelby Cobra, you need be obscenely rich. Remember when the first Shelby Cobra to leave the factory sold for over $13 million? Happily, there are more affordable alternatives. Tuning companies such as Superformance specialize in making authentic replicas of the iconic American sports car endorsed by Caroll Shelby himself. In 1967, Dick Smith broke the speed record for a street-legal Shelby Cobra achieving 198 mph at Daytona, a record which has never been beaten – until now.
50 years on, Superformance's latest Cobra replica, the MKIII, can be officially declared as the world's fastest road-legal Cobra after hitting 201.1 mph at the Mojave Air and Space Port. The record was achieved by the custom Cobra's owner Ted Taormina, who aptly named it "The Italian Job" in reference to the car's red, white and green paint job mimicking the Italian flag. "What Ted has accomplished in our Superfomance MkIII is incredible," said Superformance CEO Lance Stander. "Ted has been an adrenaline junky his whole life and has done speed runs in a number of exotic sports cars. To accomplish this in one of our road going Superformance Cobra's is especially significant."
A slew of modifications helped the Superformance MKIII achieve its record run. Under the hood lies a Shelby Engines 427 FE that generates over 690 horsepower and 710 ft-lb of torque. Aluminium panels were sealed on the underside to provide additional stability at high speed, while a front spoiler and bumper canards provided additional downforce. A rear diffuser also helped improve stability, and a custom spring and shock configuration minimized fore and aft motion. Despite the hefty modifications, the Superformance MKIII is still street-legal.