In its latest sweepstakes, OMAZE gets you Superformance MKIII-R, one of the greatest modern takes on an all-American icon, the legendary Shelby Cobra. This sweepstakes is funding the Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation, enabling the non-profit to carry through its projects which include research and youth education through various workshops.
Good deeds aside, let’s see what makes this car so special and why you’ll want to participate in these sweepstakes for a chance to get behind the wheel of one Superformance MKIII-R specified to your taste and take it to your local twisty road, track or a dragstrip.
About the Shelby Cobra
The Cobra legend started way back in 1962 when Carroll Shelby found the winning sports car formula when he fitted a 289 Ford V8 into the British AC Ace roadster. Prior to striking a deal that made him a legend, Shelby faced General Motors’ rejection twice. The Business savvy Texan then successfully turned to Ford, presenting the prospective sports car as a trackside competitor to the already established Corvette.
Needless to say, the Cobra became Shelby’s first signature product, a grassroots motorsports hero and through extensive aerodynamic modification, a Ferrari beater and a heroic Le Mans winner. The success it enjoyed throughout the 1960s made it an undisputed icon, and Shelby Cobra now stands among the most coveted American collector cars today.
Constant demand for raw fun cars and limited access to a total of 998 original Cobras turned enthusiasts to various replica manufacturers. A relatively simple production process granted that the Cobra could be not only replicated, but also improved, meaning that a number of companies did their own bid to create the perfect Cobra homage. One of them is Superformance and what makes them special is that it’s the one endorsed by Mr. Cobra himself, Carroll Shelby.
About Superformance MKIII-R
Founded in 1992 by Jim Price, Superformance established itself as the leading Cobra continuation manufacturer and due to the Shelby endorsement, their interpretation of the American legend is highly valued among enthusiasts worldwide.
Unveiled in 2020 as a rolling chassis and upgraded ever since, Superformance MKIII-R is the most special product coming from the California-based company. The distilled, trackday-oriented and tastefully modernized interpretation of the iconic roadster, it is the 1960s classic’s 21st century evolution. Instantly recognizable as a Cobra and different enough to be identified as a special kind of one, the Superformance MKIII-R is a continuation car like no other.
So, let’s find out what makes Superformance MKIII-R the ultimate contemporary take on an era-defining American classic.
Chassis, body and interior
Superformance MKIII-R is constructed around a heavy duty TIG welded ladder frame chassis with front and rear crumple zones, engineered to handle various grades of power both from the factory itself or as per owners’ own preferences. In Superformance MKIII-R’s case, the magic number is 600, but more on that later.
The steel-reinforced fiberglass body is bonded to the chassis and is unstressed. Optionally, the shell can also be ordered in aluminum. The weight varies between 2400 lb and 2660 lb, depending on the engine installed and the MKIII-R is on the lighter side, tipping the scales at 2,450 lb, just a bit over the original Cobra’s 2,355 lb.
As its name suggests, the Superformance MKIII-R visually relies on the Mark III Shelby Cobra, yet it is modernized for both aesthetic and functional purposes.
The MKIII-R’s body stays true to the original Cobra’s wheelbase and basic shape alike, yet Superformance aerodynamically enhanced its halo car for top results. Both front and rear flared scalloped fenders got air extracting vents with optional speed strakes, whereas the front and rear were treated too with the addition of a front splitter and a prominent rear diffuser.
The basic interior stays true to the original philosophy. With a three-spoke Moto-Lita steering wheel, French stitched leather seats and extended use of leather throughout, the cockpit oozes old timey sportiness with a few modern tweaks such as Superformance Electronic Gauges or optional carbon fiber dash treatment. Superformance MKIII cars are delivered without weather protection, but the company offers a tonneau cover, a soft top or a hard top as an optional extra.
Finally, Superformance MKIII-R can be finished in almost any exterior color imaginable with an optional blackout package, making each example unique and true to its owner’s personal tastes.
Engine and transmission
In its ultimate form, the Superformance MKIII-R makes full use of the 7.3-liter Ford Godzilla, a pushrod V8 introduced in 2020 for use in Super Duty trucks. The Godzilla was an engine of choice for its compact dimensions and tuning potential, meaning the highest factory output of 430 horsepower at 5,500 RPM and 475 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 RPM could be upped with minimal mods and with no need for any form of forced induction.
The Superformance-treated Godzilla V8 produces 600 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque and is mated to Tremec TKX 5-speed manual sending torque to the rear wheels via ZF limited slip differential, granting total immersion and thrills of a traditional American sports car with all the benefits of modern technology.
A MKIII Cobra trademark, side-mounted stainless steel exhausts are there to create audiovisual drama, giving the potent engine a soundtrack to match.
Suspension and handling
As with the rest of Superformance continuation cars, the secret behind MKIII-R’s sublime all-round performance is in its suspension. At the front, there are fully independent unequal length A-arms with adjustable Bilstein coils and telescopic shock absorbers. At the rear, the car sports independent unequal length A-arms, with fabricated hub carriers and coil over shock absorbers. A significant upgrade over the original Cobra’s traverse leaf spring suspension, this setup is one of many improvements Superformance carried out to make the car more drivable. For extra stability and control around the corners, custom sway bars are an optional extra as well.
Superformance MKIII-R sports rack and pinion setup and by default it doesn’t come with power steering, although it can be checked on an option list.
Brakes, wheels and tires
Stopping the MKIII-R are Wilwood steel vented disc brakes gripped by 4-piston calipers at the front and single-piston calipers at the back. Optionally, Superformance offers the so-called Wilwood Big Brake Upgrade with larger front rotors and 6-piston calipers, improving brake responsiveness, hence establishing more control over the 600-horsepower Godzilla V8.
In line with the original Cobra, the Superformance variant comes with Hailbrand-like alloys with knock-off hubs. By default, the wheels measure 15x8in front and 15x10in rear with 255/60 R15 and 275/60 R15 tires respectively, but the 600-horsepower MKIII-R has 18-inch wheels for added traction.
Why you’ll want the Superformance MKIII-R?
As Superformance itself calls it, the MKIII-R is a new generation of Cobra for a new generation of owners. Light and powerful, refined but still raw enough, it is everything a driver’s car needs to be. It is also more exciting and more immersive than most modern sports cars could ever hope to be.
Transcending the usual Cobra replica formula, Superformance MKIII-R is a daring attempt to breathe new life into a car that has been around since the 1960s, the golden era of American motoring, and it’s a very successful one for that matter. No alteration seems out of place and every single upgrade to the original concept serves its purpose well.
With 600 horsepower on tap, three pedals in the footwell and glorious V8 burble coming through its side-mounted exhausts, the Superformance MKIII-R guarantees nothing but sheer excitement with every mile driven.