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Thursday, February 13, 2020

The unheard Cobra successor

We all know the name Carroll Shelby, right? He is an American automotive designer, racer, businessman, and writer. Shelby is best known for his involvement with the figure of American muscle cars such as the AC Cobra and Mustang for the Ford Motor Company, which modified by him in the late 1960s and early 2000s. But among the many Shelby car creations, it turns out there is one that is very rarely known by the public.
One-off fully restored 1968 Shelby Lone Star on display at the at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance 2018 in Florida. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/31HrXSw)
That's the Shelby Lone Star. What about it? This car is almost unheard of, perhaps because only one unit was ever made, and the car has been kept in silence since the mid-1970s. But to appear again before the public it needed a full restoration.

Reportedly in the year 2108 ago, the car impressed the world's automotive enthusiasts, again after finished the restoration process and was revealed for the first time at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance 2018 in Florida.
A sketch of the Lone Star prototype. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2uoPRX7)
This is an amazing car, which was originally planned to be made from Cobra and GT40, but finally by accommodating design input from Shelby through his company Shelby American and assembled by John Wyer Automotive Engineering (JWAE) in Slough, England.
The Lone Star as delivered by John Wyer Automotive Engineering (JWAE) to Shelby American in 1967. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2uoPRX7)
So how does the story it comes? Well, the Lone Star was created in secrecy, intended to be a successor to the Cobra 427, and planned by Shelby American wore the name Cobra III in early 1965. But at that time Shelby American was already busy to manage the GT40 which became the winner of the Le Mans racing event and in the middle of the developing process of the Mustang racing car as well.

That is why Shelby turned to JWAE, which had previously been their partner in the GT40 project, and was also intended to get input into its design. It seems that the two companies are present in this car project with different perspectives, on the one hand, Shelby American likes the layout of conventional front engines that use the Ford V8 engine, due to this car is expected to be the successor of Cobra.
The 1968 Shelby Lone Star in the final stages of restoration. Note the air intake behind the door, added by Shelby American. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2uoPRX7)
While JWAE, which had previously been accustomed to the GT40 of Lola's design, proposed something very different. The proposal was submitted by Len Bailey, a JWAE's engineer that wanted to use the GT40 as the base for the new car, but made it more civilized for the public roads using.

For some reason, turn out Shelby has preferred the JWAE's proposals. So the Brit company then developed it further, by creating a mini model at the end of 1966 to be tested in the wind tunnel. After it was approved by Shelby in early 1967, then the company produce a full-size prototype.
Rearview of the Shelby Lone Star prototype. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2H85AMN)
The JWAE car rode on a 92.8-inch wheelbase, roughly splitting the difference between the Cobra’s 90-inch wheelbase and the GT40’s 95-inch wheelbase. An off-the-shelf 289, mated to a ZF-five speed transaxle, sat in a chassis that was a mix of Cobra and GT40 design, wrapped in an aluminum body created by Gomm Metalworking. Finished in August 1967, the car was shipped to Shelby American in California the following month.
It is not known exactly why Ford was not interested in using Lone Star even though previously they were successful with Cobra and Mustang cars. There are several possibilities, namely egress, which required climbing over the tall and wide driver and passenger sills that contained the car’s fuel supply, the high price of the projected car (about 2 times that of the Cobra 427), was simply too awkward for a production car and the change in regulations for the 1968 model year would no longer exempt low-volume manufacturers like Shelby, and others still blamed the Lone Star’s death on its window sticker. Who knows? *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | HEMMINGS | CONCEPTCARZ]
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