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Most people stick to a caterpillar cake and some party bags, but Shelby American’s celebrating the 1964 289 FIA Cobra’s birthday by building this, the CSX7000 289.

The observant among you may have noticed that it doesn’t look terribly… new. Because it’s not. This is a faithful replica of the 1964 World Manufacturers Championship car, and at 953kg, it’ll be the lightest official Cobra (from the very shop that Carroll built) ever made.

Each of the 50 limited editions will be painted “Viking Blue” with FIA stripes and roundels, feature a black FIA interior, get independent suspension, special billet anniversary badges, and original style knock-off wheels. But you don’t get an engine. Owners are left to their own devices to source a small-block Ford V8 and transmission but SA has supplied an exhaust system. Such generosity.

Prices start at £57,770 for a fiberglass model and £97,299 for an aluminum body. Which sounds like a lot. Because it is. But nowhere near as much as one the original five FIA roadsters. Only two remain, and one of them sold for $1.2m in 2010. And that makes it one of the most desirable Cobras in the company’s history.

See, the 289 was actually the baby-engined Cobra, and one of the company’s first. Carroll Shelby got in touch with British sportscar maker, AC Cars, asked if their lightweight roadster could be modded to accept a V8, then nabbed a pair of 4.3-litre units from Ford. 75 cars got the small engine till Carroll upgraded the remaining 51 MKI cars to the larger 4.7-litre V8. Which for Cobra types is the Holy Grail - they’re light enough to side-step ditch-finding understeer (see every Cobra built since), and have enough power to keep Jags and Astons honest.

Still. Think we’ll stick to the caterpillar cake…

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