1965 289 MKII Shelby “Slab Side” Cobra 340HP: Exploring an Iconic Muscle Car

The 289 MKII Shelby “Slab Side” Cobra is a legendary car that holds a special place in automotive history. This iconic vehicle, manufactured by Superformance, pays homage to the original AC Cobras produced by Carroll Shelby in the 1960s. With its classic design, powerful engine, and rich heritage, the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra continues to captivate enthusiasts and car lovers alike. In this article, we will explore the history, features, and driving experience of this remarkable automobile.

The Origin of the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra

The story of the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra begins with Carroll Shelby, a legendary figure in the automotive industry. In the early 1960s, Shelby sought to create his own sports car by combining a lightweight chassis with a powerful American V8 engine. His search led him to AC Cars, a British manufacturer known for their small and nimble sports cars.

Shelby’s vision was to take the AC Ace, a charming British sports car, and transform it into a high-performance machine capable of taking on the best cars of its time. With the help of Ford and their renowned small-block V8 engine, Shelby was able to turn his dream into a reality.

Design and Features

The 289 MKII Shelby Cobra features a distinct design that embodies the spirit of classic sports cars. Its sleek and aerodynamic body, characterized by its flat sides, gives it the nickname “Slab Side.” Unlike its larger sibling, the 427 Cobra, the 289 MKII retains a more compact and British-inspired appearance.

One of the notable design elements of the 289 MKII Cobra is its wire wheels, which add a touch of elegance and complement the overall vintage aesthetic. The car also boasts a beautiful British Racing Green paint job, further emphasizing its heritage and connection to the original AC Cobras.

Performance and Power

Under the hood, the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra packs a punch. Equipped with a Ford-sourced 302 cubic-inch V8 engine, it delivers an impressive 340 horsepower. Considering the car’s lightweight construction, weighing around 2,400 pounds, this power-to-weight ratio ensures thrilling acceleration and exhilarating driving experiences.

The suspension system of the 289 MKII Cobra consists of old-school transverse leaf springs both at the front and rear. While it may offer a slightly bouncy ride, it contributes to the car’s exceptional cornering abilities. Combined with its 5-speed manual transmission, the Cobra provides precise and engaging handling on the road.

Driving Experience

Slipping behind the wheel of the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra is like stepping back in time. The simplicity of the cockpit, adorned with original Stewart-Warner gauges, takes you back to the golden age of motorsports. Despite its compact dimensions, the car offers a surprisingly roomy interior, providing a comfortable driving experience.

With its powerful engine and well-tuned suspension, the 289 MKII Cobra offers an engaging and dynamic driving experience. The car’s agility, coupled with its responsive steering, allows for confident maneuvering on both highways and winding roads. The engine’s distinctive growl and the wind in your hair complete the driving experience, creating a true adrenaline-fueled adventure on four wheels.

The open-top design of the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra adds to the overall experience. As you accelerate, the wind rushes through the cockpit, heightening the sensation of speed and freedom. Every twist and turn of the road is felt, making you feel intimately connected to the car and the road beneath you.

It’s worth noting that the 289 MKII Cobra demands respect and skill from its driver. With its raw power and nimble handling, it requires a certain level of experience to truly unlock its potential. However, for those who can harness its capabilities, the rewards are unparalleled.

Legacy and Popularity

The 289 MKII Shelby Cobra has left an indelible mark on the automotive world. Its combination of classic design and impressive performance has made it a highly sought-after collector’s car. Original AC Cobras, including the 289 models, have reached astronomical prices at auctions, reflecting their significance and desirability.

Superformance, a company renowned for their commitment to recreating iconic cars with meticulous attention to detail, offers enthusiasts the opportunity to own a modern-day version of the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra. Their dedication to authenticity and craftsmanship has earned them a loyal following of enthusiasts who appreciate the timeless appeal of these legendary machines.

The popularity of the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra extends beyond the realm of collectors. It has become an icon in popular culture, making appearances in movies, music videos, and other forms of media. Its timeless design and association with the golden era of automotive history have solidified its place as a symbol of power, speed, and classic style.


The 289 MKII Shelby “Slab Side” Cobra is a true automotive legend. It carries the legacy of the original AC Cobras and the vision of Carroll Shelby, capturing the essence of a bygone era. With its timeless design, powerful engine, and exhilarating driving experience, it continues to captivate car enthusiasts and leave an enduring impression on all who have the privilege of getting behind the wheel.

Whether you’re a collector, a vintage car enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates automotive excellence, the 289 MKII Shelby Cobra stands as a testament to the artistry and engineering prowess of its time. It represents the fusion of American muscle and British elegance, creating a masterpiece that will forever hold a special place in automotive history.

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