Automobile

2004 Ford Shelby Cobra concept headlines Mecum’s Monterey 2021 auction

One of the stars of the 2004 edition of the Detroit Auto Show is looking for a new home. Created jointly with Carroll Shelby as a modern take on the Cobra, the Shelby Cobra concept will cross the auction block in August 2021.

Ford assigned an all-star team to the Cobra project (which was called Daisy internally), including famed designer J Mays. Fully functional and titled for street use, the design study is powered by a 6.4-liter V10 engine tuned to send 605 horsepower to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transaxle sourced from the Ford GT that was sold during the 2005 and 2006 model years. It’s one of three experimental engines built by Ford’s Advanced Powertrain division, according to Mecum, and it’s the only one in the wild; the others remain in the Blue Oval’s possession. 

Many of the underpinnings are also shared with the GT, including the front and rear suspension systems and some of the aluminum chassis bits. Brembo provided the cross-drilled brake rotors and the four-piston front calipers.

Some concepts are merely rolling displays built to showcase new ideas; not this one. It runs, it drives, it stops, and it was personally tested by Shelby for about 150 miles on the Irwindale Speedway in California. “It’s going to be a real ass-kicker,” he said enthusiastically after two days of testing. It could have been, but it was born at the wrong time.

Mecum explains Ford planned to put the Cobra into production (likely in limited numbers) in 2007, but those plans were shelved due to the looming recession. While Ford was the only major American carmaker that avoided a government bailout, steering clear of federal funds meant putting niche projects on hiatus, including the modern-day Cobra. Chris Theodore, the company’s former vice president of product development, purchased the one-of-a-kind concept at a charity auction as a non-runner (Ford couldn’t sell it as a turn-key car due to liability reasons) and had it recommissioned to factory specifications. It’s been in his possession since, and it’s been featured at several big-name events, including the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Jay Leno has taken it for a spin, too.

Daisy is scheduled to cross the auction block during Mecum’s Monterey 2021 sale, which starts on August 12. It’s listed in the Shelby Registry, and it will be sold with a big pile of documents, including a title, a letter of authenticity, a build book, and photographs taken during its development process.

No pre-auction estimate has been provided, but don’t expect to land a one-off concept as significant as this one for Nissan Versa money.


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