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Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Fall 2019
						427 Shell Valley 11
Needs Finishing: 427 FE Shell Valley Roadster

Shell Valley Roadster project with 427 FE engine

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

You know your daily routine better than anyone. Wake up, go to work, go home and so on… The vicious cycle repeats itself day after day. But now imagine, if you will, a slick, black 427 Shelby Cobra spicing up that familiar routine. That would shake things up wouldn’t it? Leaving the office parking garage? It’ll never be the same. That morning commute? Now more energizing than several cups of coffee.

I’ll admit that it sounds a bit whimsical, but there’s no denying the positive impact felt by a double-dose injection of cubic inches in your daily commute — especially when it’s by way of a genuine 427 FE big-block. Picking up what I’m putting down? Then check out this FE-equipped Shell Valley Cobra on Ventura Craigslist.

The seller’s use of the phrase “in need of some TLC to make it really nice,” isn’t exactly accurate, as this early Shell Valley has yet to be completed and move under its own power, but the list of mechanical features makes this one worth considering. First on that list is, of course, the mighty 427 ci FE big block.

One of Ford’s only purpose-built racing engines of the period, the 427 ci FE is held in high regard to this day. The cast iron block featured a 4.23-inch bore with a 3.78-inch stroke, with a thicker deck and other casting improvements to hold up to high cylinder pressures and big horsepower numbers. 427 FEs originally oiled from the top, with oil directed to the cam and valvetrain before reaching the crank. To improve reliability under heavy loads and high rpm, Ford updated the block casting in 1965 with revised oiling that routed to the crank first, before the valvetrain and camshaft. Dubbed the 427 side-oiler, this FE big-block provided high profile wins from drag strips to the banked ovals of NASCAR, and over seas at Le Mans as well.

A side-oiler would sure be slick, but they’re expensive to buy and are really intended for high-rpm use, not street driving. Enter then, this 427 center-oiler with a Shell Valley Roadster wrapped around it. The mill was allegedly built by Mitech Racing Engines in California, and the company’s website does show information on Cobras and FE engines. For specs, the seller lists aluminum heads, an Isky cam, Holley carburetor and some sort of intake manifold. As always, interested parties should acquire all relevant documentation from the seller on new/rebuilt engines.

Backing the FE is a nice Ford TopLoader four-speed transmission with a Hurst Competition Plus shifter and McLeod clutch. The ad lists a “Winter Pro-Street” rear end, presumably a Winters Performance Products unit, which would also be a huge bonus.

As for other features, the Cobra seems to be fit with most of the interior and a set of knock-off wheels. I’m assuming the exterior is finished in polished gelcoat, but it could be painted. A set of sidepipes is seen in some of the photos as well, and a few other exterior items are fitted. With all this in mind, I’d say the Cobra is about 70 percent there, with much of the heavy lifting done.

At $35,000 asking, I’d say this Shell Valley build is pretty close to the right money. It’s unfinished, and the price reflects that, but the real-deal 427 ci engine and TopLoader are bonuses that should show in the price tag. If you’re a buyer, under $30,000 would be a good buy, assuming all else is right with the Roadster.

See it here on Ventura Craigslist.

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