Built for FIA Homologation to race internationally, the 427 should have been called 390 after the aluminium race V8 Shelby wanted to install, but when those were committed to NASCAR he went with the 7-litre alternative.
To manhandle the iron block (competition and S/C cars had alloy heads) he got AC to bulk up the chassis: main tubes grew to 4in diameter the width spread and those leaf springs finally went in the skip, replaced by coils and wishbones carrying massive Hallibrand alloys, 11.5in at the rear which meant spreading the rear wings by a huge 7in. Brake cooling ducts, chin oil cooler and wing filler for the 42-gallon tank shouted its racing plans, but the FIA wouldn’t listen when only 51 had been built in time, 49 short of a ‘production’ model. That put the 427 back in the GT40’s class clearly pointless. So opportunist Shelby, having only sold 16 competition versions for SCCA racing at home, tacked on a few legalising details, called the result S/C for Semi-Competition, and sold them as “the world’s fastest production car”. Most of the 31 S/C cars saw track action sooner or later, including C5X3006, ordered by a US racer and by mid-66 taken over by the Chequered Flag team in London who turned it RHD, painted it white with black bonnet and went racing.
Its greatest event was at Brands Hatch in June 1966, when David Piper and Bob Bondurant triumphed in the rain-soaked Ilford 500 ahead, ironically, of a GT40. It was the only international-level win for a 427. Under different owners 3006 raced into the ’70s before being later returned to LHD and its original blue, but during the Noughties was restored to the form of its Brands victory and now belongs to Henry Pearman of Eagle Racing, a prime example of the archetypal 7-litre Cobra.
Matters of moment, August 1988
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