Keep the Dream of a 21st-Century Cobra Alive With This Shelby Series 1

The Series 1 was supposed to be Carroll Shelby's comeback car. It didn't turn out that way, but it sure is pretty.

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At the turn of the millennium, a time of true optimism, Carroll Shelby was working on staging a comeback. It'd be with this, the Shelby Series 1, a Cobra reinvented for the 21st century. The only car the Texas chicken farmer designed from the ground up, the Series 1 was largely a failure, but you can keep the dream alive with .

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As we wrote back in 2016, the Series 1 was a victim of Shelby's ambition. It was supposed to have a V-8 derived from Oldsmobile's Indy Racing League motor, but the production car ended up with a 4.0-liter 320-hp Aurora V-8 instead. The carbon-fiber bodywork was heavier than promised. Those who put down deposits were told the car would cost just under $100,000, but it ended up around $40,000 more expensive at the end of the day. With an optional supercharger, the Series 1 we tested for the December 2002 issue cost over $180,000—more than a Ferrari 360 Modena.

And if you've been near a GM product from the 1990s, you'll recognize a lot. Switchgear from a Pontiac Firebird? Yep. Door handles from a C5 Corvette? Sure thing, and the list goes on.

But all that said, the Series 1 sure is pretty, bringing the original Cobra to mind without being cloyingly retro. And we enjoyed the one we drove back in 2002, with Dennis Simanaitis describing it as "unforgettable."

The Series 1 was developed over the years, getting better with time, though production stopped in 2005 after Shelby American was bought by a company that subsequently went bankrupt for unrelated reasons. Just 249 were made, but Shelby American, still around today, —which it's calling the Series 2—with aluminum body panels for $350,000. Upgrading to a carbon body is an extra half-million.

That makes this 1999 car at $90,000 seem like a good deal. Especially considering it only has 2300 miles on the odometer. Buy it, and live the dream of a 21st-century Cobra, designed by the man himself.

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