Raw Materials

Posted February 28, 2019

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

Everyone loves a nice paint job. Paint gives a vehicle uniform character, protects it from the elements and provides a medium to further differentiate your car from others like it. But there’s also something to be said about unfinished, raw metals.

The uninitiated may see an unpainted body and question “nice car, when are you going to paint it?” But we hardcore automotive enthusiasts see the beauty and craftsmanship in an unpainted surface. For one, it takes absolute perfection of skill and technique to get an unpainted part, especially body panels, right. There’s no filler to hide imperfections, so every weld, every seam and body line has to be perfected through welding, hammering and grinding. But beyond the difficulty in execution, an unpainted body allows you to see a completed car in a whole new light.

Without the conventional uniform character provided by paint, a raw body like this Kirkham Cobra inspires you to look deeper. Maybe you take on a new appreciation for the work involved in shaping that front fender flare, or the grille opening. Maybe the lack of paint makes it easier to see the Cobra as a collection of pieces, rather than a polished whole, making it easier to grasp the simplicity of this roadster. Stare long enough and you might just see the modern-day backdrop of these photos fade away, easily replaced by the inside of Shelby’s Venice, California, shop in the 1960s, with fabricators, mechanics and engineers bustling around it. Maybe that’s all a bit too whimsical, but you get my point. The raw aluminum body on this roadster brings the Cobra back to basics for me, and I’m positively smitten.

Metal musings aside, this is one badass FIA Cobra, but the seller hasn’t given us much information to work with, so we plugged the manufacturer VIN and California-issued ID number into the web to see what we could find.

We found a nice breakdown on the car on the Club Cobra forum, where it was listed for sale in October of 2008 for $109,900. There, it explains that this Cobra is powered by a period- 289 stroked to 347-ci, and built by Keith Craft with ported Brodix cylinder heads, a steel crank, and a competition cam. The mill was rated at 513 hp when installed. Backing up the 289 is a TREMEC TKO600 and an aluminum Salisbury-style rear axle.

Furthermore, the roadster is based on a traditional frame made from 4-inch stainless steel main tubes. The FIA-spec bodywork includes the appropriate fender flares, as well as the FIA-specified trunk extensions and interior details (swapping to correct Stewart-Warner gauges would worthwhile though). FIA-style knock-off wheels are fitted, and are finished in black for a sinister look. The brushed-aluminum bodywork shows well, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been refinished sometime recently. Current mileage isn’t listed in the ad, but the car showed 6,900 miles when it was listed in 2008, suggesting that this car has, indeed, been enjoyed.

Check out the ad here on eBay.

Comments for: Raw Materials

comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories You Might Like