Unleashing the Dragon.
The 1960s were a revolutionary era for motor racing. Icons like Ferrari were leading the charge in international competitions, stamping their names in the annals of history. Enter the Shelby Cobra, a disruptive force on wheels, engineered to disturb the established order. If Ferrari was the "Goliath" in the world of motorsports, then the Shelby Cobra was "David," armed with a sling loaded with American horsepower. By 1965, this underdog ended Ferrari's reign over GT racing by seizing the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. But the Cobra wasn't content to just slay giants; it was built to conquer every form of motor racing, including the drag strip.
In 1963, a few adventurous souls within the ranks of Carroll Shelby's automotive kingdom felt the Cobra's untapped drag-racing potential. Approaching Shelby, they suggested a special "drag-racing package" designed for the Cobra's 289 cubic inch V8 engine. Their brainchild, an option that came with four levels of engine tuning, would render horsepower varying from 270 to a staggering 380.
Shelby, ever the innovator, gave the nod, and thus the Dragonsnake was hatched. Only five such Dragonsnakes, loaded with the factory-spec 289ci, ever emerged from Shelby's lair, but the influence of this car was so colossal that several Cobras were independently converted to Dragonsnake specifications by enthusiasts who couldn't resist the allure of this package.
Imagine a Cobra but donned in knight's armor, ready to duel. Each Dragonsnake was stripped of street legality but embellished with race-focused modifications. We're talking about chrome roll bars, revised rear fender flares that accommodated voluptuous drag slicks on American Racing wheels, and sliding side windows—this was not your average Sunday drive car. No more than ten Dragonsnakes have ever roared in this world, making them nothing less than mythical beasts in the automotive realm.
Bruce Larson, NHRA champion and proclaimed "NHRA's original triple-threat Pro driver," is the human epitome of the Dragonsnake's tenacity. Piloting a 289 Dragonsnake, Larson dazzled crowds and shattered records at several national events in 1963 and 1964. Although Larson eventually switched to Chevrolet, the Cobra's legacy in drag racing was set in stone, or perhaps, etched in drag-strip rubber.
Today, for a princely sum of $750,000, a few fortunate souls can own a continuation Dragonsnake, meticulously crafted by Legendary GT Continuation Cars in association with Shelby American. These new-age dragons come packed with a 364-ci V8 engine that spits fire to the tune of 500 horsepower, an aluminum block, and eight Weber carburetors. Decked out with all the bells and whistles—like a Tremec five-speed manual transmission and rack and pinion steering—these cars are as authentic as they come, complete with CSX numbers reserved in the SAAC registry.
So, why does a car, produced in such minuscule numbers over half a century ago, matter? Simply put, the Dragonsnake is an icon, a testament to the audacity of American engineering. It challenged the norms, broke records, and, in doing so, won a place in the hearts of car enthusiasts worldwide. Its rareness only adds to its mystique, making each sighting, or more realistically, each tale of its exploits, the stuff of automotive legend.
Thus, as continuation Dragonsnakes slither their way back onto the scene, one can't help but think of that original band of mavericks in 1963. They dared to ask, "What if?" And in answering that question, they birthed a dragon.
Stephen Becker has decades of experience with Ford, GM and Mopar vehicles. If you have one to sell, he has a great network of buyers and insider connections to convert your car into cash. Contact Stephen at 770-900-5532 or visit beckerautogroup.com