There is a quote about challenge that says, ‘The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.’ This is very true of this epic Shelby Cobra build. Nothing is impossible, it’s just that some things are harder to attain. However, nothing is too difficult for the team at Heasmans who took in this Shelby Cobra who assisted the owner in his challenge of getting the power to the ground as well as helping it get around corners with more confidence.
The engine is a Ford crate race motor, which on our inspection, looks like a 5.0L Coyote, given some extra pony points with a big VMP supercharger. Making about 1000HP at the rear wheels, this became a blessing and a curse for the little Cobra. Experiencing excessive rear squatting under load, the KYB gas shocks were just not enough for the task. At the front end, the suspension was being punished, as it would tip its nose in quite hard under braking from high speed.
As the shocks it came in with were quite low-resistance, we beefed up the suspension with custom made Bilstein B8 shocks. Originally Ford MK1 Escort items, they were pulled apart by our Bilstein technicians and redesigned to suit their new home. Going from a twin tube KYB, to a High Pressure Gas monotube Bilstein with a 46mm piston, and a bigger bore, they will provide much more dampening control and power, perfect for such a high torque motor.
The suspension pistons were changed to suit the new damper curve and shock travel and we had set up the car with settings similar to what you would find in a Targa race setup. This would allow the Cobra to perform outstandingly on different surfaces as well as different driving styles and racing formats. An already nimble chassis, the suspension was calibrated to enhance the raw feel of the Cobra.
The rear was set up also to not only handle well around the race course but to also be adequate to put the power down when it count. Previously, the Shelby would be unpredictable with the unequal dampening the gas shocks provided making the car squirm with the slightest increase of power and torque. Heasmans kept this in mind and made sure those beefy rear tyres were put to good use.
We also fitted new bushings and fittings to freshen up the handling, and this Cobra drove out of our workshop a totally different car to drive. With a million and one ways to customise a Cobra, it’s up to the owner to tweak and fine-tune to their needs and wants, which makes it quite the challenge to get perfect. We think this is one of the best driving examples of a Shelby Cobra we’ve ever seen, and now that we’ve overcome the challenge, it is indeed, very glorious.
Photography by SELECTNINE