Shelby Cobra relives past racing glory with 50th anniversary FIA special edition

It’s rare for a car nameplate to stick around for 50 years, and even rarer for that nameplate to be attached to the same car.

The Shelby Cobra debuted in April 1962 at the New York Auto Show. Still five decades on, you can still buy a replica today from Shelby American, and even relive some of the Cobra’s past racing glory. For 2014, Shelby decided to up the nostalgia even more.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cobra’s entry in the FIA World Manufacturers Championship, one of the most prestigious sports car racing series of the period.

Shelby’s potent combination of a lightweight British AC Ace chassis and powerful Ford 289-cubic-inch V8 did battle with Aston Martins and Corvettes, among others, driven by legendary drivers like Phil Hill and Dan Gurney.

To commemorate the anniversary, Shelby American will build 50 CSX7000 Continuation Shelby Cobra 289 FIA replicas.

Each FIA-edition car is painted in the same Viking Blue as the original racers, with the same racing stripes and roundels. However, the new cars feature modern disc brakes, stronger frames, and bodies available in either fiberglass or aluminum.

What all that means is that these cars will be reproductions of the original 1964 FIA Cobras, but since they’re nearly identical to the originals – and because Shelby gets to decide what is and isn’t a “real” Cobra – they get the “continuation” designation for added credibility.

While the Cobra hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years, safety and emissions regulations have. Consequently, continuation Cobras are sold without the drivetrain; the buyer is responsible for putting the two together.

Securing one of the 50 FIA special edition Cobras will cost $94,995 for a fiberglass-bodied car, or $159,995 for an aluminum-bodied car, plus the cost of that drivetrain. Nostalgia doesn’t come cheap.

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