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						Roush Cobra A1
Nothing to Prove

Ten years owning a Superformance 427 Cobra

As told by Dave Little

Photos by Steve Temple

It seems like all of my automotive experiences have led to the Cobra that I own now. I have been a “motorhead” my entire life, leaning slightly toward sports cars but also having a keen interest in all performance cars and especially muscle cars of the 1960s. Early on, I owned a couple of Triumphs, an MGB, an Alfa GTV and an Alfa Spider Veloce. My first introduction to muscle and pony cars was a Barracuda Formula S with a 383 big-block and four-speed. I also owned a couple Mustang GTs at different times.

In the late 1970s, I went through the SCCA driver school and obtained a license to compete in regional and national road races. For 15 seasons, I raced in events at Laguna Seca, Sears Point and Willow Springs, all in California. I owned and drove production sports cars, Formula Fords, and finally ran two different Lolas in C Sports Racing and SP2. We did pretty well, with several top three finishes, a national win, plus a good number of top 10 finishes.

Along the way, I had the incredibly good fortune of meeting and marrying my wife, Yvonne. We have been married for 35 years, and I am happy to say she shares the same enthusiasm for cars as I do. I could not have done any of this “car stuff” over my adult life without her support and participation.

After we stopped racing in 1991, our interest turned to street cars, and we became active in show-n-shines with a restored ’67 Camaro that Yvonne found in the Bay Area.

We both had a lifelong interest in Cobras but knew owning the real thing was out of the question. Starting in 2006, we watched my brother build a Factory Five Racing Cobra kit over a two-year period. He built a beautiful car, but we quickly learned that neither of us had the patience or skills to build one properly. That is when we discovered the Superformance Cobra.

We purchased a Roush Tribute Edition in October 2008 from Dennis Peck’s Dynamic Auto West dealership. Full Throttle Performance of Reno, Nevada, did the engine and transmission installation for us. At the time, we were in the midst of relocating from Reno, Nevada back to the Bay Area, and we took delivery of the car there in December 2008.

I remember my first impressions driving the car. It felt very much like the TR6 I owned back in 1973, but with five times more power! It rode like a truck, had a brutal clutch, and required a lot of steering and braking effort. And we loved it immediately.

We became active in the Bay Area Cobra community and participated in many road events such as weekend trips to Monterey, Laguna Seca, the wine country and Mendocino. We also took frequent trips back to the Reno and Tahoe area for Hot August Nights and Snakes to the Lake at South Lake Tahoe.

Upon retiring a little over two years ago, we returned to Reno and now participate in a few car shows every year, and Hot August Nights of course. We have been lucky enough to win a number of awards, including a best of show this year and a couple of class wins and people’s choice awards. We still maintain our connections with the Bay Area Cobra clubs, though, and still participate in some events there.

The car goes into hibernation every winter but sees the light of day again every spring. We have over 16,000 miles on it, and we are not afraid to take it on extended road trips and weekend jaunts. It has proven to be reliable and has never failed us.

The car is great on the open road, but it is demanding if driven aggressively. With over 500 hp and a short wheelbase, it can bite you in a heartbeat. When stirring the gears in the close-ratio TREMEC TKO 600 five-speed, acceleration can only be described as brutal and exhilarating — there is absolutely nothing subtle about a Cobra. It’s not a car for inexperienced drivers, and you have to respect the car or you’ll be in over your head in an instant.

Stop-and-go traffic in hot weather can be a chore since the engine radiates so much heat, so we try to avoid that when we can. It’s the same story with rain. We have never had the top on, and we don’t intend to ever use it. We just avoid wet weather.

The car is also a major head-turner. You feel like you have a target on your back while driving because everyone wants to get close to see what kind of car it is. Also, you’re often challenged by people who want to race. We choose to ignore it so as not to embarrass anyone. We learned long ago that if you own a Cobra, you have nothing to prove to anyone.

People constantly ask, “Is it a kit?” We respond, “No, it is a factory-built replica manufactured in South Africa.” At that point, some walk away shaking their heads, while others want to know more about the car. We’re always pleased, however, when someone recognizes it as a Superformance.

Every once in a while, after a day of driving in very hot weather or heavy traffic, we will say to ourselves, “Enough is enough. Let’s sell it and move on to something more civilized.” But, then, the next time we climb into it, start it up, and thunder down the open road, we say, “Nope, not yet. Maybe in a few more years.” 

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Cobra Superformance