By Dean Larson

Photos: Sellers, Craigslist

$35,000 isn’t a small chunk of change, but as far as Cobra roadsters go, you could easily spend two, to three times as much. There are more expensive Cobras, and cheaper ones, but $35K can be a sweet spot. For a good deal at this price point, seek non-donor cars in good working order with new crate small blocks or rebuilt Ford big blocks. You can afford to be a little choosey here, but the right deal may require patience.

We handpicked these three Cobras from Craigslist, and a few honorable mentions as well, to give you an idea of what $35,000 will get you in a secondhand replica roadster.

No. 3 Classic Roadsters C427

“VERY FAST… $35K or make reasonable offer. No! I won't take 25K.”

Buyers of generous proportions may find this Classic Roadsters C427 Cobra easy on the pocketbook, and easier to get into as well, given its lengthened wheelbase. It’s powered by a nicely dressed Ford 351 Windsor, which the owner estimates at 450 hp. A TREMEC five-speed transmission handles gearshifts, and the car has accumulated 20,000 miles since completion in the 1990s.

Finished in silver with contrasting black stripes and as-cast, Halibrand-style wheels, the Cobra makes a strong visual statement. The interior looks like a comfortable place to be, and the Nitrous Oxide Systems decal on the dashboard suggests that there’s some extra power available at the touch of a button. Now if we could only find where they put the button…

Check out the Classic Roadsters Cobra here on Los Angeles Craigslist.

No. 2 445 ci FE-Powered Roadster

“All new components, not built from a donor car. Registered in Nevada. Includes full documentation, list of utilized components and assembly manual.”

It’s pretty much a toss up between this roadster and our No. 1 selection, as each car has its benefits. But if big cubes are your thing, then this FE-powered Cobra is for you.

Headlining for this roadster is a Keith Craft-built 445 ci Ford FE, which has about 2,000 miles on it. We went over to the Craft Performance Engines website for some additional specs, and found a 390 FE-based 445 ci crate engine that makes a healthy 525 hp and 550 lb-ft. With 10:1 compression and a 6,200-rpm redline, this engine was roughly $13,000 when purchased new.

Despite all the added value of that sweet 390 mill, the owner did not identify what kit the car is based on. Some elements suggest Factory Five, but it’s hard to tell from these photos (and I’m sure one of our eagle-eyed readers will chime in here).

Otherwise, this Cobra is as crisp and clean-cut as you could ask of it, making it a solid value at just $36,500. It’s finished in Corvette Torch Red with black leather, and sports pin-drive Halibrand-style wheels. A genuine Ford TopLoader four-speed with a shatterproof bellhousing handles shifts, and a narrowed Ford 9-inch straight axle puts the power down.

I wouldn’t expect this one to last long, check it out here on Las Vegas Craigslist.

#1 Unique Motorcars 289 Roadster

“I have owned a lot of cars, and this one makes you remember why you like cars.”

A Cobra replica has to have the right look, and man does this roadster get it right. All I’m saying, is that if this car came to my local car show, the owner would definitely leave with some sort of trophy, and likely a sore throat from answering all the questions. This Unique Motorcars roadster exhibits perfect small-block Cobra styling, and is a great catch at $36,000.

It may look like a fresh build in the photographs, but this car has actually been lovingly driven since 1994, accumulating 14,000 miles. We’ll use the term lovingly, because there’s no sign of wear, tear or any use at all to show for the mileage. The chassis even looks fresh from the underside, which would almost make me suspicious, but it’s clear the car has been pampered and meticulously maintained.

To match the small-block Cobra bodywork, a ’65 date-coded 289 block resides under the hood, hopped up with ported and polished ’69 351 Windsor cylinder heads and solid lifters. With 10.3:1 compression and a four-speed TopLoader transmission, this Cobra surely provides an authentic experience behind the wheel. A shatterproof bellhousing adds a bit of safety for occupants, and a narrowed Jaguar 3.54 LSD sends power to the wheels.

I wouldn’t call the interior factory-fresh, but I’d call it charming any day of the week. The leather is worn in slightly, and the wood-rimmed wheel and FIA gearshift provide the appropriate feel. The aging Stewart-Warner gauges are not correct for the Cobra, but honestly, I wouldn’t change them. They’re classic in their own regard, and handsomely styled, overall appropriate for the car.

There’s a lot to like with this one, and it's clear that the car was painstakingly built as a faithful 289 replica and lovingly maintained over the years.

See the Unique Motorcars 289 here on Detroit Craigslist.

Honorable mentions

https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/cto/d/pontiac-1995-cobra-427-by-excalibur/6908910024.html

https://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/cto/d/mc-kinney-1965-shelby-cobra/6908441747.html

https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/cto/d/medinah-1965-shelby-cobra-replica/6909576918.html