By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

The last couple real Shelby Cobras I’ve seen in person were not perfect. Some paint missing here, a little corrosion there, and some definite fading in the interior. As blue-chip collectors, these cars probably deserve to be gone over with a fine-tooth comb, but I’ll admit, their little faults made them that much more interesting to me.

And I think it’s that same train of thought that leads me to an appreciation for the well aged and traveled Cobra reproduction. Everyone appreciates nice, shiny things, but I think we owe just as much admiration to the aging Cobras that are a little rough around the edges, as the brand new showroom specials.

Fe Era Cobra 12

A name you’ll see frequently amongst older replicas like this is ERA, and this 427 Cobra roadster on Craigslist shows exactly why the ERA Cobra is still held in such high regard today. Completed by ERA back in 1990, this Cobra replica is beginning to be a classic in its own regard, and I think that adds to its charm. There’s some corrosion under the hood, the seats are worn-in slightly and the Stewart-Warner gauges are a little cloudy from age, but these things enhance the experience some. In many ways, this ERA would feel more like driving an original than the newest exacting models offered by the manufacturers.

Alright, maybe that’s a stretch, but the sum of this Cobra’s parts, should equal one nostalgic driving experience. On tap at the press of the accelerator, is an original cast-iron block Ford FE 427. Depending on its original configuration, this engine should produce between 390 and 425 horsepower, and the hottest racing 427s made over 500 hp in period.

Putting all that power to the pavement is a period-correct Ford Toploader four-speed, and the commonly used Jaguar XJ6 differential. This tried-and-true rear end was the standard on Cobra replicas for many years, as its pretty well indestructible and offers independent, coil-spring suspension like the originals. Another advantage is the standard inboard disc brakes, a feature designed into the MkI Cobra that was quickly omitted for cost savings.

It’s taken 9,300 miles for this ERA Cobra to achieve its lightly worn-in appearance, and it’s clear the roadster has plenty more miles in its future. While that may not sound like many compared to the Chevrolet Traverse in your driveway, it’s definitely higher than the average Cobra for sale, and speaks to the quality of the build.

The ERA roadster is offered here on Houston Craigslist for $54,900.