It's been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe has a Cobra that, because it's an imitation, might not sincerely flatten your wallet.
Okay, first things first- this car is not a kit car. While home-built Cobras outnumber the real deal by probably one hundred to one, series-manufactured cars meeting all DOT and EPA requirements are an anomaly. And they don't get more anomalous than this.
In the late ‘70s, the Canadian company Aurora decided to undertake a monumental task- building a replica 289 slabside that was legal to sell in all 50 U.S. states and Canada. That entailed splashing a real Cobra for the fiberglass body (laid up by C&C Yachts), securing a supply of Ford 302 engines and assorted drivetrain pieces. It also required creating a dual-plane tubular chassis which supported both the low-speed bumper crash and side-intrusion standards, and then crash-testing the cars to get certification.
As anyone who has attempted to sell a low-production car in the U.S. will attest, the onus of meeting federal pollution and safety regulations can bankrupt a business faster than having Bernie Madoff as your investment broker. That's part of the reason why Aurora only managed to build 157-170 cars over three years of production- the final cars going out the door incomplete as the asset liquidation auction shuttered the doors for good.
Before that happened, this Ferrari-red 1980 car made it out those same doors under its own power. And that power is provided by a Holman & Moody-modded Ford 302 crate motor that puts out 260-bhp. Backing that up is a B/W (I think) 4-speed and the world's shortest driveshaft. Suspension is independent all around, and features a Salisbury rear-end with in-board discs in back.
Unlike a kit, but very much like the original 289 MKII Cobras, these cars were hand-built - taking up to 450 man-hours to complete - and were sold and serviced through select Ford dealers. With an original price tag of more than $35,000, they fell in between the cost of building one in your garage (and going to bed itching from the fiberglass in your shorts), and buying one of the approximately 528 original Mark II Cobras in existence. Of course since then, real Cobra prices have skyrocketed, and even more kits have rumbled out of home-builders garages. With buying a kit-car there'll always be the question of the competency of the builder, as well as the stigma of driving someone else's project. You could always build one yourself, and wait, oh- five or ten years for it to be completed. Or, there's the option of getting one of the turn-key cars from Factory Five or other licensed builder. That'll set you back more than what this car costs.
The big issue with all of those options is that they're almost all the later MKIV 427 bodies, not the lithe and beautiful slabside cars. And while those brutish behemoths have their advocates, their almost too common these days. That's where the Aurora holds appeal- it's better thought-out than a kit- even having working A/C, and it's not the steroidal 427. This '80 edition most closely replicates the original MKII, with no external door handles, and a convertible top that you might want to enlist the services of a boy scout to erect. Despite those nods to authenticity, it features Smiths Gauges in an engine-turned dash panel, leather seats and leather-trimmed Wilton wool carpeting that would not have been found on the cars leaving Shelby's Southern California Shop. Being a product of the '80s it lacks any of the modern mechanical enhancements such as ABS or traction control, and it's set up to oversteer whenever you even look at the throttle, so it would take some care and education to drive.
And it would also take $29,000 for you to drive it. That remains significantly cheaper than a real Cobra, or even what it would probably cost to build one yourself. Perhaps there's a few dozen completed kits out there for sale that could be had for less, but isn't that like picking up a hooker on the Meth-side of town- you're likely to come away with more or less than you bargained for?
Given that pretty much everybody who bothers to click on that Jalopnik bookmark everyday would dearly love to have a Cobra in their herd, this would be one way to do so while still having a car you could drive nearly every day.
So, do you think $29,000 is too much to ask for a fake snake? Or, does that price make this Canuck Cobra the real deal?
BTW: ten points to whomever can guess the source for those tail lights.
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