Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Spring 2020
						Unique 289 Cobra 14
Best Deal on a Cobra Today — 3/20

Unique Motorcars FIA Cobra for just $34,997

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Track & Field Motors

By virtue of their popularity and availability, Shelby Cobra replicas are some of the easiest vehicles to value in the hobby. The bulk of the market starts around $30,000 with Mustang donor builds and older kits, and upward of $50,000 to $60,000 gets you into nice factory builds like Superformance, and cars with high mechanical and cosmetic accuracy. If you’re checking all the boxes possible, don’t be surprised to see $80,000 and up, and bona fide Shelby cars get even more. But whatever the price range, I guarantee the right Cobra is out there, and for under $35,000, I’m thinking this 289 FIA replica from Unique Motorcars is the one.

With its eye-catching shade of light blue metallic with a yellow stripe, this Cobra caught my eye on eBay sometime last week. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe they were asking around $55,000-$60,000 for the car at the time, which seemed like too much. But the broker must have gotten the order to move the car now, as the price has been lowered to just $34,997 at Track and Field Motors in Safety Harbor, Florida, which seems like a screaming deal for what you’re getting here.

This Cobra kit was originally sold by Unique Motorcars (located in Gadsden, Alabama) as a 289 FIA model, and as such, it’s configured as a small-block with accentuated flares, Le Mans-style filler cap and FIA trunk dimples. The car was largely patterned after the 1964 team car CSX2260, finished in viking blue with a yellow stripe. The paint on this one might be a little lighter, and you could argue that this is actually princess blue, but either way, the car presents very well.

As far as its mechanical configuration, the Unique Cobra is based on rectangular tube chassis with Jaguar independent rear suspension and adjustable coilovers. The fiberglass bodywork features the telltale FIA touches, from the narrow hood scoop, fender flares and trunk dimples, and narrow rear fenders are used. The correct under-car exhaust is fitted, along with the FIA-type shifter and Stewart-Warner gauges.

The three-point roll bar was not installed in this car, but we’re okay with that for more than one reason. To start, there were original FIA Cobras raced over the years without the three-point bar, take CSX2345 for instance, and additionally, the three-point bar is not the safest for road use without a helmet.

Under the hood, lives a Ford 331 ci stroker small-block, and the previous owner estimated the output at 500 plus hp. We would like a bit more information to back that up, but we can see an Edelbrock performer rpm dual-plane, a remote oil filter system, a performance coil and (what looks like) a free-flowing exhaust system. Another mechanical bonus comes in the form of aftermarket Wilwood brakes.

I have just one complaint on this car for the money, and it’s not the odometer reading of more than 11,000 miles, as that leads me to believe the car is pretty well sorted out. The thing I’d pay extra attention to is the bit of corrosion evident under the hood. With this in mind, and the dealer’s location in Florida, it’s evident that this car spent some time in the salty sea air. Any serious buyers should conduct a thorough inspection of the chassis, suspension components and other mechanical features. Paint and coatings are one thing, but you'll want to be sure that there's no structural rust on any chassis members or suspension components.

Otherwise, this car seems ripe for the picking at $34,997 or less, and poised to offer fun driving and tinkering in the coming years. I’d drive the wheels off it every chance I got, and spend some weekend here and there cleaning up the corroded mechanical components. Another worthwhile project would be to add aluminum sheet metal on the footboxes and inner fenders for a more correct appearance, along with some sheet metal radiator cowling up front (see our Winter 2020 feature Cobra Cowling for more).

So what do you think, best deal on a Cobra today? We’d say so, and if you’ve got something better, get off your duff and go buy it!

See it here at Track & Field Motors.

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