Contemporary Classic: Shelby Cobra Kit Car – Sold?

by | Feb 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Sports Car Saturday

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March 31, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

February 15, 2023 Update – The seller replaced their original expiring listing with a fresh Craigslist ad. The pictures, description, and firm $53,000 asking price all remain the same.

In the world of replica cars, the Shelby Cobra is perhaps the most often imitated model we see come up for sale. The quality of the construction is a sliding scale, with the more expensive kits typically yielding better quality results, a classic case of getting what you paid for. The seller of this Shelby Cobra replica notes his car came from the “Contemporary Classics” line of replica supercars, which is a bit of a household name from the 1980s and still well-regarded today.  He notes his car is a driver with some cosmetic blemishes and missing carpet on the driver’s side, but I think this genuine patina makes the Cobra kit car look more like the real thing and less like a replica. We last spotted this Shelby Cobra replica in February 2023 on Craigslist on Long Island for $53,000. Comparing that price against the model guide shows us that while there is a wide range of prices for a replica like this, the seller has listed his car with a very fair number considering the average sale price of almost $58,000:

When we talk about cars and trucks that deliver the maximum smiles per dollar, it can be tempting to go straight to the top. A $50,000 or $70,000 muscle car may get the nod for delivering the thrills and excitement that make its high purchase price worth it. But there’s a lot to be said for trying to avoid the temptation to spend too much when a car that costs far less will deliver the same caliber of performance capabilities right out of the box. That’s why I like replicas like this Contemporary Classics Cobra so much, as it represents an excellent value at a price far, far less than the cost of the real thing. Plus, you can park it anywhere, and repairs are blissfully simple owing to its straightforward construction and Chevrolet-sourced drivetrain. If you have to paint it or swap in a new engine, it’s no big deal as the heritage of such replica cars is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and future owners won’t likely ding you for losing the window sticker.

The Seth Brunswick YouTube Channel features this point of view (“POV”) sunset drive in a similar Contemporary Classic Shelby Cobra replica:

As I mentioned above, the driver-quality appearance of this Cobra makes it seem even more like the real thing. A Shelby Cobra usually comes in two forms: a pristine car wiped clean with a diaper cloth every morning, a ratty track warrior with Carroll Shelby at the wheel, and a cigar hanging out of his mouth. The Cobra is an icon; when buying a kit car, some builders build the icon better. The seller is not wrong that Contemporary Classics was known for building a high-quality replica, so even with some of the cosmetic shortcomings, you can feel good knowing you bought a Shelby replica that was likely top of the market when it was new. The seller reports the suspension features Jaguar components and that the drivetrain is equipped with “….Edelbrock cam, lifters, etc., and an intake manifold with 750 CFM carburetor. Recently replaced and tuned. The exhaust is baffled. Behind it is a Keisler/Tremec 5 speed.” That’s a whole lot of fun for under $60,000.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“I decided to put my Contemporary Cobra replica up “for sale”.. to clarify, I mean for sale at 53,000 firm! It’s not on sale, and I will not entertain daydreamers and tire kickers. With that said, here are the details:
468 cubic inch Chevrolet motor. Edelbrock complete valve train, cam, lifters, etc..intake manifold with 750 CFM carb.. recently replaced and tuned. The exhaust is baffled.

Behind it is a Keisler/Tremec 5-speed. Jaguar suspension components. From the research I’ve done and the opinions of the two shops the car has been in (Grand performance and GT precision), the car is a very high-quality build.. most likely completely assembled at Contemporary’s facility in Mount Vernon. Most recently, the entire fuel system was replaced, and the cooling system was also serviced. As far as condition goes, this is a very good driver.. mechanically excellent but does have some scratches and scrapes.. no cracks in the fiberglass, but if you’re particular, this car is not for you. The Interior is missing driver-side carpeting.

Car is titled in New York state as a 1985 custom. It still retains its contemporary Vin plate. Due to its age and patina, it has been mistaken for the real thing countless times.. by actual Shelby owners. The only thing giving it away is the exposed lug nuts on the wheels and hood scoop not being riveted. If you’re unfamiliar with Contemporary Classics, research before asking any questions. If you are familiar with Contemporary, you know these cars have the correct proportions and stance.

Best value muscle car: The kit car was once scorned, but now a well-done replica makes for a compelling classic.


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