As Told by Robert H. and Joyce A. Brown

First of all, thank you for recent issue. I’ve read it from cover to cover and enjoyed reading the comparison of the 2014 Corvette to owning a Cobra. Also the Annual Cobra Guide and the Reptile Roundup review which I attended this year with our Backdraft Racing Cobra build #32.

I think it is worthwhile to explain how it came about that I am the owner of this particular Cobra. I grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C. and was always into fast cars and muscle cars. There were some pretty amazing cars in town, one in particular was owned by the late Zach Reynolds, heir to the R.J. Reynolds tobacco fortune. Zach was into anything fast. He owned CSX3038, one of the very few original 427 S/Cs produced. That 427 S/C Cobra stuck in my memory for the next 40 years and continues to.

My wife knew that a Cobra was one of my favorite cars. One Sunday morning she saw that a Backdraft Cobra with very low mileage was for sale in the nearby community of Tequesta, Florida. She asked if I wanted to drive down and take a look at it. My reply, “What are you trying to do, frustrate me?” Her reply, “It doesn’t cost anything to look at it.”

We went, I saw, I rode, I desired. She asked, “Do you like it?  Never mind, I see it in your face.” She then asked, “What would you offer?” I told her, and that was it. I forgot about it—well not really.

Long story short, my wife of 40 years decided that I needed to have that car. She worked the owner and got him to agree to the price that I said I would pay. We’ve both worked our whole lives, and she gave him a deposit. On Christmas Day 2005, we were invited to a very good friend’s house two doors down for Christmas breakfast. After eating the neighbor asked if I would take a look in her garage because of a squeak in the garage-door track. I said “Sure”, went in turned on the light and there sat #32 with a huge ribbon on the roll bar with a Christmas card from my wife Joyce.

One of the questions I am often asked at the many car shows we go to when the people hear the story is, “Does your wife have any sisters?” I still have that ribbon and the Christmas card, and like the Cobra will keep them.

So here is the lowdown on the Cobra. Over the years I had Backdraft Racing personalize our Cobra by adding the following: In order to honor the original Carroll Shelby 427 S/C, I wanted our replica looking as much like an “original” as possible. With the help of Finish Line I was able to purchase the proper emblems and badging for the bonnet and boot.

#32 already had, as original, the proper AC clutch and brake pedals and reverse-mounted shifter. Next I replaced the five -bolt Halibrand replicas with true pin-drive wheels with the safety wire. I chose 17 inch because the 15 inch does not offer speed-rated tires. I had the exhaust heat shields removed and the side exhaust ceramic coated like the headers. We removed the quick jacks (many people don’t know what they are) and replaced them with the push bumpers in the front and the full horizontal rear street Cobra bumpers to give the car a more finished look. In addition, we added a street Cobra glove box. To protect Backdraft’s great titanium finish, we had them add the front and rear 3M Invisalign protection.

The Cobra came with a 408 Stroker rated at 530 horsepower. It was a beautiful engine to look at, but was problematic. On January 2011, we had Speed Fanatix (engine division of Backdraft Racing) replace it with a Roush 427R dyno’d at 517 lb/ft of torque and 547 hp. All I can say is wow, as do most of those who see and hear it.  Fantastic!

When we replaced the engine, we also had Backdraft drop in a new TKO 600 transmission and Metrix Motorsports 3:44 Posi rearend and a driveline safety hoop.  The E-36 suspension from BMW works so well, the car tracks and rides very smooth for cruising. The disc brakes are both ventilated and cross drilled using Hawk pads. It stops as well as it goes.

As far as the staff at Backdraft Racing Inc. goes, Reg Dodd, President of North American Distribution, Frank Dodd (his father), Craig Harper, Sales Mgr., David Zeeman, “Chief Wrench” and the other personnel are all fantastic! A great product, turnkey-minus Cobra, and a beautiful new dealership and showroom. Anyone interested in satisfying their personal Cobra dream should check them out.

Well that is my/our story. The gift of a lifetime, a dream realized, and a Christmas where I experienced an “out of body sensation” of me looking at me looking at the car of my dreams.