By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

These days you can get a Cobra in whatever style suits you. Take the charming “slabside” roadster for instance. It’s a hoot to drive, with small-block Ford power, but nostalgic and elegant in appearance, and you can clearly trace its AC lineage at a glance. But at the other end of the spectrum, there’s this — an all-black, muscle-bound 427 roadster. The wide rubber and Halibrand wheels protrude from its large, flared fenders, and the hood scoop and 427 badges allude to the beast under the hood.

Built by Superformance in 2001, it’s pretty clear that roadster No. 851 was built with no expense spared. Where that’s most evident, is under the hood, where there’s a legitimate ’65 dated-coded 427 ci Side-Oiler V8 installed. Finished off with aluminum heads, a dry-sump oiling system and a pair of 600 cfm Holley carburetors, it’s clear this FE means business. But it turns out there’s another something special in this 427.

Side Oiler Cobra 1

Eagle-eyed readers might spot it from the photos, but for the rest of us, the seller spells it out clear — tunnel port intake. What that means, is that this engine has been fitted with Ford’s high-rpm, race-style intake and cylinder head porting, featuring huge, round ports. Basically, the design of these cylinder heads relocate the pushrods, which normally run alongside the intake ports and are the first restriction for increasing port size. Instead of alongside, the pushrods were placed in the center of the intake port, routed through thin-wall tubes. This allowed the engineers to go wild with the port design on the cylinder heads and intake, leading to high-flowing system that worked really well for high-rpm endurance racing and NASCAR.

Next to the mighty SOHC, a tunnel-port 427 Side-Oiler is just about as good as it gets, and in a Cobra roadster, it is as good as it gets! It would be no sweat for this engine to put down nearly 600 hp, assuring that you’ll get a double dose of ’60s-style thrills behind the wheel. Funnel that power through a TREMEC five-speed and 3.73 gears, and you’ve got one of the most potent vintage powerplants possible, and a car that will handle just about any threat.

With that many ponies in the stable, it’s a real treat that the builder chose to keep the Cobra as understated as possible. Jet black paint, a simple black interior and blacked out pipes and jack points let the Cobra fly under the radar, until you stab the loud pedal that is. A California black plate has even been fitted on the rear, and the owner has resisted the urge to include any callouts to the beastly V8 within.

But all that show and go comes at a price, and for this car, it’s $87,000. See it here on San Francisco Bay Area Craigslist.