Just don’t call it a Miata: Puritalia’s 427 is the Italian Shelby Cobra

The world is full of small companies building new sports cars, and it’s always hard to tell if any of them will succeed. Cribbing styling from one of the most legendary cars of all time certainly couldn’t hurt one’s chances.

First announced back in 2012, the Puritalia 427 is a modernized Italian interpretation of the Shelby Cobra in both style and substance.

With its wide oval grille and muscular fenders, fans of the original Cobra will instantly recognize the Puritalia 427. However, it’s kind of hard to tell if the 427 is genuinely attractive, or if the impressiveness of Puritalia’s dedication to retro design is actually masking its awkwardness.

Under the hood is a 5.0-liter Ford “Coyote” V8 similar to the one used in the Mustang GT. That’s not quite enough displacement to match the “427” name, but the engine does produce 445 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque out of the box.

Add the optional supercharger, and Puritalia will deliver 605 hp and 472 lb-ft. That’s all sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. No fancy dual-clutch automatics here.

There’s apparently still some development work to be done before the Puritalia 427. The company is aiming for a 2016 launch, and could import the car to the U.S.

While that launch may be about a year away, Puritalia already has the pricing figured out. It expects to sell the 427 for around 180,000 euros (about $220,000).

Only 427 examples will be made (get it), and the first 35 will be special Launch Edition models.

After that, Puritalia plans to build something a bit more modern.

Called the GTQ, Puritalia’s second model will feature a hybrid powertrain, with a mid-mounted V8 powering the rear wheels and an electric motor powering the fronts.

Puritalia hopes to have it in production by 2018, but given the fate of so many small carmakers, that’s far from a certainty.