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351 Screamer: Lidio Iacobelli is ready to make headlines again
Ok, admit it. At one time or another you've sat around dreaming about the ultimate Mustang you'd like to build. Heads, cam, blower, and nitrous included, of course. What seperates Mustang owners; however, is that some make their dream come true. Some owners have connections, some get sponsers, and most just spend lots of money to make it happen. Then once in a while, someone comes along that not only makes their dream happen, but helps to make ours happen as well. Lidio Iacobelli...
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[01/06/2004] Ford Celebrates Year of the Car By Developing Legendary 605 HP Shelby Cobra Concept Vehicle


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The new Ford Shelby Cobra concept marks the latest step in an exciting evolution of Ford concept vehicles, with an evocative design, bonafide performance credentials and – thanks to engineering as nimble and efficient as a sports car – a level of feasibility that is already close to production-level.

Like the 2002 Ford GT40 concept, the Ford Shelby Cobra draws on Ford’s emotional and performance roots in a thoroughly modern interpretation that reinforces the company’s product-led momentum. It takes its place with the 2005 Ford Mustang, Five Hundred sedan and Freestyle crossover in the "Year of the Car," the largest new-product barrage in Ford’s history.

"Our lineup of new 2005 cars is all about momentum," said Jim Padilla, executive vice president and president of the Americas, Ford Motor Company. "But the Ford Shelby Cobra concept is all about speed."

The Ford Shelby Cobra’s design reinforces this mission, with minimalist interior and exterior elements that emphasize its performance-oriented function. Cues like the massive grille opening, side vents, low-back seats and bulging wheel arches establish an emotional connection with Carroll Shelby’s original 1960s Cobras, but no dimensions or proportions are copied in this thoroughly modern two-seater.

The Ford Shelby Cobra concept team drew heavily on the Ford GT production car – especially the space frame and suspension – to maximize efficiencies. Although the cars have vastly different characters and different dimensions, smart engineering quickly adapted the rear-mid-engine Ford GT platform to this front-mid-engine application.

Inspired by the biggest, baddest Cobra of all – the renowned 427 – Ford engineers created a new aluminum-block V-10 to power the Ford Shelby Cobra concept. This 6.4-liter engine, adapted from Ford’s MOD family, delivers the rush of raw power associated with that big 1960s V-8 monster – with 605 horsepower and 501 foot-pounds of torque – without the aid of supercharging or turbocharging.

This combination of brute force and thorough engineering has created a rarity in the world of auto shows – a concept car that can actually do, rather than merely promise, zero to 60 in under four seconds, and would easily exceed 100 mph if not electronically limited. With show cars typically limited to a stately 15 mph or so, this fact points at the level of engineering packed into the Ford Shelby Cobra concept – and points to the authenticity that comes from working with Carroll Shelby once again.

"I''m sure the question on everyone’s mind at this point is, ‘Are you going to build a production version?’ The answer is, ‘We''ll see.’ If we get the same overwhelming reaction to the Cobra concept as we did to the GT concept, anything is possible," said J Mays, group vice president, Design.

A New Legend is Born

As the saying goes, too much power is almost enough. So thought Carroll Shelby when he shoe-horned a 427-cubic-inch Ford V-8 under the hood of a small British roadster, giving birth to the legendary 427 Cobra.

Four decades later, Ford’s Advanced Product Creation team – an in-house think-tank cum skunk works – explored the idea of applying Shelby’s famous formula to the latest components and architectures Ford has to offer. The result is the Ford Shelby Cobra concept, a radical new roadster, fully engineered for high-speed testing, completed in just five months by a small, tightly focused team of enthusiasts.

This production-feasible roadster has a 427-inspired 605-horsepower, all-aluminum V-10 engine mounted at the front of an advanced aluminum chassis modified from the rear-engine Ford GT.

It weighs slightly more than 3,000 pounds and is about as long as a Mazda Miata. There’s no roof, no side glass, not even a radio. "That’s the formula," said Carroll Shelby. "It’s a massive motor in a tiny, lightweight car."

Highly Evolved Engineering

The Ford Shelby Cobra concept is not just a huge engine with a pair of seats along for the ride. Owing to its front engine and rear transaxle layout, the roadster has nearly perfect weight distribution and a world-class supercar suspension for agility to match its alacrity.

What’s more, this ultimate roadster seats full-size adults without compromise. It actually has more front-seat legroom than a Ford Crown Victoria sedan. This key packaging achievement wouldn’t be necessary on a typical show car – but is absolutely essential to demonstrate production feasibility.

"We put together the mechanicals of a world-class supercar in a compact roadster package that can seat full-size adults," said Manfred Rumpel, manager, Advanced Product Creation. "And we did it in just five months on a budget smaller than that for many nonfunctional, nonengineered show cars."

The secret to the team’s success was Ford’s stepped-up efforts toward commonality, speed and the expertise of a team of engineers who had previously completed the all-new Ford GT in just 15 months.

"With the Ford GT, we now have a collection of supercar components," said Chris Theodore, vice president, Advanced Product Creation. "We also have a team of engineers who know how to work fast to get the job done.

"It can take a year to build a concept car that doesn’t even run or is speed-limited to 15 mph," Theodore said. "But in five months, we built one t

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