Behold: Superformance’s MKIII-R Cobra continuation car | Top Gear
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Wednesday 6th December

Behold: Superformance’s MKIII-R Cobra continuation car

Go for the one with a 7.0-litre V8, and become very, very happy indeed

  • Do I need a Car Enthusiast Beard to read this story?

    Nope, you just need a heart. This is Superformance’s follow-up to the wonderful MKIII we drove a while back. Hence, it is called the MKIII-R, and judging by how life-affirming the older car was, this promises to be excellent.

    Because, as we said then and as we’ll repeat once more now, life is better when there’s a 7.0-litre V8 in front of you.

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  • 7.0-litre V8?! That’s madness!

    Well, you can dial down the madness if you wish, but where’s the fun in that? All MKIII-Rs come as rolling chassis’, without the engine. So you can choose from a range of Ford V8s: 5.0-litre, 5.7, 7.0 and 7.5-litre. We can only attest to the 7.0-litre. Which is ace.

  • OK, that does sound appealing. Tell me more.

    Superformance is the only company licenced by Shelby to build these continuation Cobras to the spec Carroll built back in the 1960s.

    As with the MKIII, this R version gets a jig-welded ladder frame steel chassis; one that takes in the front and rear crumple zones, door hinges, steering column and windscreen points. Indeed, we’re told around two-thirds of the steel monocoque of this MKIII-R is interchangeable with an original GT40.

    From there, fibreglass panels are laid over it, with yet more steel tube reinforcements in all the openings. So, where a body point carries a load, in goes a steel bar or panel to strengthen it.

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  • Ah. A ladder-frame chassis.

    Well, quite. Modern conveniences come in the shape of fully independent front suspension with adjustable Bilstein coilovers – very fancy – along with independent rear suspension with, you guessed it, coilovers.

  • It looks… quite striking.

    That, dear friend, it most certainly does. You’ll spot the most obvious change over the regular MKIII car, which is the addition of those black mesh side and arch vents. Do they clutter up the side of the car, where the older MKIII looked cleaner without? That’s up to you. In any case, there’s no missing it.

    The whole thing is painted in a delightful Atlantic Blue, as you can see.

  • Inside looks… cosy.

    Correct. There’s a pair of custom French-stitched seats with a blue-accented thread, leather on the transmission tunnel, and lots of aesthetically pleasing dials and buttons.

  • You said transmission tunnel. Do I get to choose?

    Yep. From either a Tremec five-speed, or a Ford four-speed. You also get power steering, LED headlights, 18in wheels and, should the blue not be to your liking, you can have it in most colours you can think of. Probably.

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  • How much?

    Prices start from $79,900, though as mentioned, that comes without the engine. Which, you’ll agree, is probably an essential component for motivation. Unless someone has found a way to harness internal desire into actual four-wheeled motion, stick in a massive V8.

  • A Cobra will always be cool.

    Agreed. Here’s Superformance boss Lance Stander: “The MKIII-R is a piece of American history, and with a major motion picture release last year that highlighted the Cobra [that’ll be Le Mans ‘66], this vehicle’s popularity is at an all-time high. We took great care to ensure the Superformance MKIII-R lives up to the Cobra’s iconic legacy.”

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  • Give me one more picture please.

    Gladly. So, what’s the verdict? If you need a reminder on what the MKIII was like to drive, click thisaway.

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