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ROAD TEST:   Ford Falcon GT Cobra

by Stephen Walker

10th April, 2008

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One name above all others conjures up an impressive array of images. That name is "Cobra". Of course, there are numerous types of Cobras.

The original automotive Cobra name came along in a dream by one Carroll Shelby of USA in February 1962. In fact, he jotted down the word "Cobra" during a brief break in his sleep. The following morning he knew this name was the name he wanted for his new car which was under development at the time. Prior to this, Shelby was working with AC Cars of England. The successful racing car driver was planning to build his own sports cars, using a yet to be determined American engine in the UK sourced two seater. AC Cars were interested in developing the idea with Shelby, subject to Shelby sourcing a suitable American engine. And that's where the Ford connection came in. Ford was preparing to introduce a new small block V8 engine. Hence, Shelby built the Cobra in 1962. At the time, it became the world's fastest production car. From there, the Cobra name made its way onto various Ford products in USA and, eventually, Australia.

ROAD TEST (copyright image)

Elvis Festival

Today, the Cobra is a limited edition run of the regular BFII series Ford Falcon GT. Some 500 individually numbered Cobra models were produced. There were 400 sedans and 100 utilities. Prices at the time of the introduction, back in October 2007, were $65,110 (RRP) for the sedan (Cobra ute $61,200 RRP).

You can read about the special edition Falcon GT Cobra and Cobra Ute here.

Our drive opportunity commenced, last week, in Adelaide (South Australia) and concluded 1,176 kms later in Melbourne (Victoria).

Before you even get underway in a Cobra you do notice something. Seemingly, almost everyone is watching! The Ford Falcon GT Cobra has an aura that makes the car an attention grabber, whether you like it or not. That is part of what I'll call the Cobra magic. It has the ability to hold folks in a spellbound condition. Such is the esteem in which the Cobra is viewed.

On the road, the Falcon GT Cobra mesmerises the driver with the traditional Falcon GT qualities, such as the roadholding, the steering, the handling, the braking, the roomy interior and the get up and go which is controlled by the driver's right foot. (copyright image)

Stephen Walker with the Cobra.

The Cobra isn't the fastest car around. In fact, on the sub-standard roads of western Victoria I couldn't get the car over 100 km/h. Although lesser cars seemed to be able to easily overtake the bright white delight. However, I can confirm that putting the foot down produced the usual aural features of a V8. That just added to the pleasure of driving the Cobra. On the odd occasion that an overtaking manoeuvre presented itself, I found there was a problem. When you put your foot down in the Cobra, an overtaking manoeuvre is fully completed just after it was commenced. Therefore, overtaking is a dud, because there is nothing to the experience. It's over just as it's commenced!

Having said that though, I do need to point out that the non-stop (other than a meal and fuel stop) run from Adelaide to Melbourne was not at all tiring. However, you do notice that the ride is firm, but pleasantly so. The road known as the Princes Highway isn't smooth by the way. In fact, because of my observation skills, I believe the Princes Highway is in need of replacement. But I am certainly pleased I experienced it.

On the inside, the Ford Falcon GT Cobra is a homely environment. The seating is comfy without being luxurious. The lumbar support, the steering wheel controls, the user-friendly cruise control and the various storage compartments, together with the big boot make the Cobra a good vehicle for travelling.

The BFII Falcons will be replaced by the new FG series models next month.

Time has served the BFII well. It was an improvement over the BF, which was an improvement over the AUIII. (copyright image)

So any refinement offered by the FG series will be welcomed, but given the acceptance of the current range of products from Ford Performance Vehicles I suspect the nation will be eager to see what FPV have coming next!

The Ford Falcon GT, in BFII guise, is a superb automotive experience. That's, both, on the driveway and on the road. Yet the Cobra edition adds so much more to the final BFII experience.

By making a Cobra from the Falcon GT has proven to be a superb marketing move by FPV. Some 500 examples of the BFII model have been moved just by adding some fancy treatment to a model which had reached the end of its 'career'.

The Cobra is every bit as interesting to Aussie motoring enthusiasts today, as the original was to Carroll Shelby way back in 1962.

In fact, the success of this superb package almost guarantees that we'll see more Cobras from time to time. And, given the appeal of this car on the road, an encore edition will be eagerly anticipated from this day onwards!

Where does the queue begin?


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