Ford Shelby Cobra Concept
At the time Carroll Shelby began his Cobra project in 1962, England’s AC Cars had a beautiful little open-top car that needed an engine. Ford had the industry’s best family of V-8 engines. Shelby saw the possibilities and brought the two together. The rest is history.
"The Ford engines turned out to be a great choice," Shelby said. He first tried the 260- and 289-cubic-inch Ford small block V-8 engines before settling on the massive 427 as the ultimate Cobra engine.
For the next chapter in the Cobra legend, the modern Ford team also had a few powertrain options. They included the supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 from the Ford GT, as well as turbocharged 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter mills. Outstanding engines, yes, but they didn’t pack the spiritual punch of Shelby’s overpowering Ford 427.
They needed something more, something that would capture the essence of that 427 in a modern roadster. They found it in a satellite Ford engineering operation devoted to developing new powertrain technologies away from the narrower demands of product development.
In an atmosphere that is part think-tank and part speed-shop, the Advanced Powertrain team develops technologies that frequently have as many applications on the race track as in consumer vehicles.
For approximately two years, they had been working on an all-aluminum V-10 targeted at ultimate, naturally aspirated performance. When they bolted this beast into a Mustang chassis for evaluation, it only took one drive to confirm its potential.
"The Ford Shelby Cobra concept just begged for this engine," said Graham Hoare, director, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "Although it’s not yet ready for production, we’ve reached a credible engineering level for such a serious concept car – and it has a modern soul that matches the famous 427."
Blending the Advanced Powertrain team’s work with elements from the 4.6-liter, 4-valve V-8 used in the 2004 Mustang Mach 1, the resultant Ford Shelby Cobra concept engine has 10 cylinders and is bored and stroked for a 6.4-liter displacement, or about 390 cubic inches. It produces 605 horsepower at 6,750 rpm and 501 foot-pounds of torque at 5,500 rpm without supercharging or turbocharging.
"In many ways, it’s not very exotic," said Hoare. "It uses the same basic castings and assembly techniques as our production modular engine family. The output, though, is phenomenal. If you can’t get in trouble with this kind of power, you’re not trying hard enough."
Kevin Byrd, the V-10 project leader, thinks of the Cobra V-10 as an all-star combination of current Ford engine technologies. "This engine is an amalgam of everything right about Ford engines. We took the best that the modular engine family has to offer, then added some tricks of our own.
The V-10 is a culmination of 100 years of building engines," he said. The double-overhead-cam cylinder heads and cylinders are fed by port fuel injection and racing-derived velocity stacks that are just visible within the hood scoop. For a low hood line, the throttles are a slide-plate design and the lubrication system is the dry-sump type, which relocates oil from underneath the engine to a remote tank. The engine proudly wears brushed aluminum "Powered By Ford" valve covers.
The rear-mounted six-speed transaxle is identical to the high-performance unit in the Ford GT, with an integral limited-slip differential to drive the rear wheels. Based on the engine’s 7,500-rpm redline and the drive ratios, this Ford Shelby Cobra concept has a theoretical top speed of more than 260 mph and would break 130 mph in third gear, although it’s electronically limited to 100 mph – for now.
Source: Ford press