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#1 Mike!
2019 Shelby GT350
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On my recent visit to the Saratoga Springs Invitational auto show last week-end, I was allowed to drive a vintage 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra!! Talk about a life's dream! It is from a private collection of gorgeous vintage cars that I was privileged to view. Took the car out through the rolling hills of up-state New York for about a thirty mile run! Impressions: It is a beast! No power steering or power brakes, side pipes that were incredibly loud and gave you a constant aural crescendo experience of the lumpy cam and popping piston explosions! The clutch was surprisingly easy; better than my past 03 Terminator! Very easy to modulate. The backwards appearing shifter was a little long in throws, but precise and easy to hit the gears. Typical of the day. Getting in and out was a challenge and the aluminum doors felt like paper machete! Once underway, I found that the steering lightened up and it was fantastically on center. It provided very quick and precise responses to inputs from me. The steering wheel is so different then ours! Thin and large, but it's size helped to turn at slower speeds. This thing has TORQUE! It really pulls well from the lower RPM's and once up in the higher RPM's, it just deafens and scares you, all at the same time! You could drive this beast in 30 degree weather and be toasty warm. The 427 sends torrents of heat into the foot-wells and you could melt your Bucky Beavers to the pedals! Clutch pedal and brake pedal are a little more left then normal and close together! Took some getting used to, but I acclimated!
The car is very neutral in corners and you can really push it to your personal limits. As I was driving a million $ plus time machine, I didn't want to swap ends so I kept it in the line. Even so, you could kick the tail out a little and stay in the groove using only the gas and counter steer inputs. Once warmed, the brakes were great, albeit, it took substantial leg effort to reach their potential. When finished with my drive, I felt like I'd wrestled with a bear! I have a confirmed respect for the guys who raced these things in the day. It must have been exhausting beyond belief! One real and shocking surprise was my seat of the pants meter told me it wasn't as fast (acceleration) as my stock 2013! The refinement differences between the two cars is just incredible; understanding they both have/had different missions. Getting into the 13 Shelby to drive back to the Lodge felt so good! In it's time, this monster must have been truely incredible, but technology has just moved so far ahead. Our current cars are simply keepers! It was a real experience to drive something this raw and purposeful and appreciating what those great designers like Remington and Brock accomplished. If you live long enough, sometimes God gives you a little gift. This was one of those times!
 

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Moderator/Admin Dude!
2020 Rapid Red/black 2011 Kona Blue/white
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Great experience Mike! I enjoyed reading your story since I've never even sat in a Shelby Cobra (real or replica). Big engine in a small car is both good and bad.
 

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Mike...where are the pictures?!?!?!
 

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Great story! Good for you. I can only imagine what that would be like...
I gotta ask, did you know someone? How did the chance to drive the car come about?
 

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I remember reading about those cars and the lack of power assists, no power brakes or power steering. But one I read about had a 500 hp engine and the car was very light so it was really fast. Owned by a relative of the Ferrari family though the guy lives in the states. I know if I had one I would want the power assists for the car and it had better feel stronger than my Shelby.

I would love to drive one of those cars. Oh yes, I would want it quiet. I guess I wouldn't mind a noisy car if the noise equated to more power but too often it is just more noise.
 

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that is such a great story Mike- I am madd jealous! was at a small car show last week and there were 2 of them- I spent 75% of my time just drooling over them since you really hardly ever see them...wow what I would not give to drive one some day...I never got to speak with either owner, but at the end of the show, the owner of one of them (about 6' tall and had to weigh easily well over 300lbs) gets into his with a massive bag of McDonald's food, he plops it on the passenger seat and sits there eating! I could not believe my eyes! I could not get my camera out quickly enough since he literally inhaled two burgers and a massive clump of french fries within what seemed like 15-20 seconds, then he blasts out of the parking lot...

I have to ask- how did you swing taking that thing out?
 

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Moderator/Admin Dude!
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I'm thinking the owner is sexually attracted to older/greying white guys.
 

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maybe looked something like this ya mean??---> :pinklove::banana_hitit:



I'm thinking the owner is sexually attracted to older/greying white guys.
 

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Nice write up! Definitely magazine worthy. I got to ride in a real 289 Cobra about 30 years ago and hard to imagine what a 427 must be like. The 289 seemed like the fastest thing I had ever been in but that feeling is greatly amplified when you feel like you are sitting in something the size of a shoebox and your butt is only a few inches off the ground. I was in Oklahoma on business and called fellow SAAC member Jim Wicks who picked me up and gave me a ride I'll never forget. We like to say these new Shelbys are beasts but the old ones were truly the beasts back when men were men. I can just see Ken Miles broad sliding one around a corner wearing just a t-shirt with a pack of Marlboros rolled up in his sleeve.
 

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I can just see Ken Miles broad sliding one around a corner wearing just a t-shirt with a pack of Marlboros rolled up in his sleeve. <<<------- puts a killer image in my mind! great line
 

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#1 Mike!
2019 Shelby GT350
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Great story! Good for you. I can only imagine what that would be like...
I gotta ask, did you know someone? How did the chance to drive the car come about?
My German friend of 45 years & I had met a guy (Vito should love that phrase) last year, that was at the show. This year he invited us to his building where his private collection of cars were kept. He did not want to be named and likes to keep a low profile, which I will honor. He knew of my obvious love for Shelbys and their history, so we spent the afternoon looking at his substantial collection, I drove the Cobra, and then we all had dinner together. Very warm and personable gentlemen and he provided a pretty impressive gift for an old broke-down homicide investigator! He was pleased with the way I drove it and that, in and of itself, was a real compliment. I'm really in his debt.
 

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#1 Mike!
2019 Shelby GT350
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Discussion Starter #16
I can just see Ken Miles broad sliding one around a corner wearing just a t-shirt with a pack of Marlboros rolled up in his sleeve. <<<------- puts a killer image in my mind! great line
Me too. Remembering the film footage of ken sliding the 289 around the track during the early testing days of the AC Cobra. Classic! Funny, I was thinking of him when I was driving it and wondering how such a skinny little Brit could man handle that thing with such grace and control.
 

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#1 Mike!
2019 Shelby GT350
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9,103 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I remember reading about those cars and the lack of power assists, no power brakes or power steering. But one I read about had a 500 hp engine and the car was very light so it was really fast. Owned by a relative of the Ferrari family though the guy lives in the states. I know if I had one I would want the power assists for the car and it had better feel stronger than my Shelby.

I would love to drive one of those cars. Oh yes, I would want it quiet. I guess I wouldn't mind a noisy car if the noise equated to more power but too often it is just more noise.
You're right Bil, it's not a DD! It really beats you up from the noise, vibration, and stiff suspension, but God, it's fun for a short time!
 

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Moderator/Admin Dude!
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Time to teach an old dawg a new trick:

The little button between QUOTE and QUICK is the multi quote option where you insert your replies between the multiple quotes. Handy tool.
 

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What a great experience!!! So glad you were able to have the opportunity and share it with us! I read a few threads in regard to the Cobras and most say the same thing as you about it being a workout to drive one. I hope all of can be fortunate enough to experience it first hand.

Thanks again!
 

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Sliding a 289 around the track? Did the early Cobras have Goodyear F1s?

Seriously, I bet you never forget that day! I wouldn't!

Good for you!
 
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