Rare Car Network

Rare Car Network
Unique Classics, Replicas and Build Culture
						Unique Fia
Evoking an Era

Unique Motorcars 289 FIA build up for auction

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

In the world of replicas, everyone has different ideas of the right mix, and a 100 percent authentic car is not right for everyone. You have to take performance and practicality in mind, not to mention the pocketbook. For a lot of us, the right car is the one that has the look and feel of the genuine article, without going so deep that you wouldn’t want to drive it; something that evokes a different era of motoring, without provoking a divorce or bankruptcy. I don’t know how you define perfection, but if a car can make me feel like Dan Gurney back in 1963-’64, then I’m sold. With that in mind, I think this Unique Motorcars 289 FIA car on BringaTrailer.com could be the right mix.

Unique Motorcars has been building Cobra replicas since 1977, and their kit is a strong and respected player in the builder package category. Unique states that their most popular package is the deluxe pallet kit, and it’s not hard to see why. With this kit, you’re getting a four-wheel independent suspension chassis, Jag IRS and important bits like side pipes, a windshield, seats and more. This kit gets you a big leg up, since the chassis is finished and the body is already mounted, with the doors, hood and trunk lid fitted. The car featured here on BaT was apparently sold as a deluxe pallet kit in 2002, and subsequently finished in the style of the early 1960s 289 FIA racers. As such, it features smaller fenders, a three-post roll hoop, FIA-style wheels, unshrouded side pipes and a Le Mans style fuel filler. The fiberglass bodywork is finished in light blue paint (reminiscent of early princess blue) with vinyl racing decals installed. The number 99 roundels likely salute Dan Gurney, who piloted early 289 cars in 1963 and ’64. While it’s tough to find evidence of a Gurney-piloted number 99 machine in light blue, the combination used on this car is not likely to garner negative reviews.

But as we always say, the devil’s in the details, and there are plenty of tasteful additions to this car that make it so appealing. The interior features a whole compliment of Stewart-Warner gauges, all tilted and arranged as a racer might have done to get the best look at each one — and of course the speedometer is located on the extreme passenger side of the dash. Of course you have the Shelby American plaque, Carroll’s signature and various toggles, and the way the main ignition toggle is dressed up is particularly appealing visually. Additional points are awarded for the use of Raydyot-style mirrors, along with the electrical tape applied to the steering wheel spokes. That touch, along with the tapeline to indicate the center of the wheel is really pretty cool. While I’d hate to deface a beautiful wood-rimmed wheel with tape, I think it’s clear to imagine the old-school Shelby pilots doing this to improve its ergonomics for cheap.

The front bumper and screened off driving lights are also tasteful additions that remind us of the early racers. On the hood, you'll find an additional screen, used to deflect bugs away from the windshield, and a metal shield around the fuel filler would have protected the driver from fuel spills.

The builder selected a fairly sensible driveline for the Unique roadster, starting with a 302 Windsor engine. It was built by McBetts Racing Associates of New York, and features Edelbrock aluminum heads, an Edelbrock dual plane, a Holley four-barrel carburetor with a turkey pan and gray Cobra-style valve covers. Backing up the Windsor is a TopLoader-style Hurst Indy four-speed that sends power to the Jaguar limited-slip differential. From the seller’s driving video, the car appears to be a strong performer with a great V8 soundtrack.

As a complete package, this Cobra makes one heck of a visual statement with solid mechanicals to back it up. It has just 2,300 miles on the clock, and the seller notes recent maintenance and a tune up in 2020. The current high bid for the car is $39,500 with two days remaining in the auction, and I think the car stands a good chance of going up a lot further. Find the Unique roadster here on BringaTrailer.com.

Comments for: Evoking an Era

comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories You Might Like