Long Live the Muscle Car
The Shelby Cobra is the undeniable King of Muscle Cars.
While, technically, not within the original definition of a Muscle Car, it does fit within the modern, less strict interpretation of "Muscle Car."
What makes it king isn't necessarily it's performance – there are a scant few production cars, that are faster, now. It's how it achieves its performance – with a focused intent never rivaled before, during, or after its production and a brutality unmatched in the history of production cars. Never has a production car thrown down a gauntlet at a driver and challenged them to survive taking the wheel like a Cobra. That is why the Cobra will continue to reign as the King of Muscle Cars. Plus, after fifty years, it can still be counted as one of the greatest performing production cars of all time. Seriously, that's just impressive. It's not like you can pull a prop fighter plane and put it out there amidst any modern fighter jet and say "have at." You can still do that with a Cobra.
What got me on to this topic wasn't a love of the Cobra at all, but a recent test of the all new Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Were you aware the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS – the base model – is damn near as fast as a 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C?
Right off the showroom floor.
Although I am a Mustang fan, the base model GT isn't even close, but the base model GT with the optional performance package is. And the base model 2016 Shelby GT-350 is a match for the Camaro. The base model 2014-2016 Chevrolet Corvette with the Z51 package is capable of beating most of the very best 1965 Cobra 427 S/C numbers ever recorded. The Viper in any of its iterations will flat out munch a Cobra – in every single way.
That isn't just impressive, that's awesome.
You can now waltz into your Chevrolet, Ford, or Dodge dealership, grab the keys to a stock showroom Muscle Car and go run with a Cobra.
Granted, even with that level of performance available, none of those cars will threaten to kill you just by turning the ignition key (FYI, the noise of the nasty 427 you hear when a Cobra fires, yeah, that's just like a rattler giving you a warning), it's almost unreal that you can just go buy a monster now.
While the Cobra will likely never be replaced – as far as I know, that's against the law at this point – the realm of mind warping, breathtaking performance is finally available to the masses.