My Car Quest

February 24, 2024

A Shelby Cobra Comes Back

For one guy at least…

by Wallace Wyss –

The 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept was built during the last hurrah of Shelby at Ford, when he had been brought back as a spokesman. No one had better credentials as far as creating exciting cars.

He had spied the A.C. Ace 2.6 in England in ’61 and arranged to have one fitted with a 221 cu. in. Ford V8. Later a 260 and that was the one the production Cobra came out with.

2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

Shelby stopped Cobra production in 1968 but built Shelby Mustangs until 1970 and then left Ford. There was a long estrangement but eventually he came back. When Ford decided to build a concept in 2004 based on the no-frills (frills being a roof, side windows, and radio). The goal was to show that Ford was thinking high performance. And what said high performance more than a small roadster with a huge engine in this case a 6.4-liter, DOHC, four-valve-per-cylinder, all-aluminum V-10 rated at 605 horsepower. The engine was so far back it was almost a mid-front engine car with a rear transaxle. Though it didn’t need them, as a design cue relating to the original racing Cobras, it boasts “velocity stack” intakes.

2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

It was built using a modified 2005 Ford GT aluminum frame and a similar suspension setup. It was a wise move because using as many Ford GT parts as they could would mean costs savings if it were green lighted. “It’s a dream come true,” Chris Theodore, a Ford vice president, told Automotive News. “It’s one of the last cars I worked on at Ford.”

Theodore left Ford. But in his heart, he still had a passion for the car. So when it came up for auction, his bid was the highest–$825,000.

2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

Wait a minute–do automakers sell concepts? Not normally. But they need to–they have hundreds. And when auctions do it for charity the car is a charitable write off for the buyer. But usually they just sit as a trophy in someone’s living room for “man cave.”

But Theodore didn’t get a car that was turn-key ready. Ford, obeying the law, had blocked some functions of the car and hobbled it in a way that would ordinarily reduce it to a bauble for some Ford dealer to tempt people into their showroom, the fate of other “dream cars” that were auctioned. But Theodore is an engineer. What has been taken apart can be put back together and he vowed to make it a running driving car again. The better to park along side a real Cobra he owns.

2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

Now how could you register it legally? I’m not sure. Maybe as an “assembled car”. You can create for instance a dune buggy from scratch, go to the DMV and as long as it passes smog and has safety belts and safety glass, it could be registered.

We have seen a You Tube video of Theodore taking a passenger for a ride in the car at a race track. We don’t know how it’s registered, but on behalf of all those who have ogled concepts at car shows and wished they could be put back on the road, we congratulate him.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: A fine artist Wyss has five oil paintings of Cobras and GT40s. For information write


2004 Ford Shelby Cobra Concept

A Shelby Cobra Comes Back
Article Name
A Shelby Cobra Comes Back
What has been taken apart can be put back together and Chris Theodore vowed to make this Cobra a running, driving car again.


  1. Wes Stewart says

    There’s a YouTube of Jay Leno driving this thing on the street. Some guys have all the fun.

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