A Shelby Cobra is a Shelby Cobra is a Shelby Cobra—except when it isn’t. Shelby managed to complete just over 1,000 original Cobras between 1961 and 1968; add another zero and triple, maybe quadruple, that to account for all the Cobra replicas shaking windows and terrorizing tire shops around the world. Carroll Shelby’s drawn-out fight with RepliCobra peddlers was perhaps his toughest and highest-profile battle since he brought the fight to Ferrari at Le Mans back in the mid-1960s.
Finally, after numerous lawsuits and chest-high columns of cease-and-desist letters, Shelby acquiesced and reached an agreement with a dossier of manufacturers including Superformance, Factory 5, Kirkham Motorsports, and even AC Cars, who held the rights to the AC Ace and AC Cobra shape to begin with. Eventually, limited production of official Shelby-licensed Cobras resumed in the late 1990s, when even Shelby himself got in on the RepliCobra fun.
Shelby, of course, wouldn’t be pleased with some slipshod fiberglass facsimile. In the late 1990s, the former Texan chicken farmer commissioned AC Cars to build a run of 14 CSX1000 Cobras, all shaped from hand-rolled aluminum like the originals. Ten of these CSX1000 cars were to be outfitted in “Ferrari’s Ass is Mine” specification per Shelby, recalling his famous pledge when the Shelby team lost the 1964 World Manufacturers Championship allegedly on a technicality. As sensationalized in the blockbuster film “Ford v. Ferrari,” Shelby returned with the financial and technical backing of Ford with the GT40, taking home the laurels in 1966 and 1967.
Only two of the ten planned FAM Cobras were built by AC, making the gorgeous FAM Cobra that’s headed to Mecum’s Glendale sale later this spring one of the rarest serialized RepliCobras to ever wear the official Shelby crest. As part of the jab toward that legendary Italian automaker, this FAM Cobra is coated in a gorgeous shade of Ferrari’s own Rosso Corsa red, accentuated by a Ferrari-aping tan interior.
As this is a 427 Cobra, there’s enough power under that curved front hood to kick-start the Hoover Dam’s generators. A Shelby-built 468-cid (7.6-liter) big-block V-8 churns out 550 hp, a whacky amount of gumption for such a light car and with so short a wheelbase. A Tremec five-speed manages all that spin, as does four-wheel independent suspension and a set of powerful Wilwood brakes. All in, it’s a tidy package; unsurprising, considering one of the previous owners was none other than late Fast and Furious superstar and all-around car nut Paul Walker.
For the Shelby diehard, this is a rare chance at a serious piece of the brand’s modern history, and one of the finest continuation Cobras ever to lay elevens onto tarmac. Register to bid on this Ferrari-baiting roadster before it crosses the auction block in March.