No Limits Magazine from the Auto History Preservation Society
We Bring Automotive History to Life!
- "Preserving the past for the Future". Resources for the Historian, Researcher, and the Enthusiast -
Wednesday September 24, 2014
The Cobra Story, '69 Super Bee 440-6, '36 Ford Ads, '69 Five Corvettes Test, '70 AMC Javelin Ads, '69 Pontiac RA V Exposed, & More!

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Some Notable Changes - The No Limits Newsletter will now be published on Wednesday only. It is still our intent to bring you information about the hobby and to keep you informed about what we're doing - just once a week. We are also transitioning from Brand Orientation for subscribers to a more general view of the hobby. Thus, new members will have a non-brand oriented home page when they sign up. Thanks for staying with us while we transition.
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Jerry Lester Gran Torino

Check Out Jerry & Sue Lesters'
1972 351 CJ Ford Gran Torino

Cro-Sal Olds 455

Oldsmobile's Twin Turbo
Can-Am Aluminum 455!

1959 Ramchargers High 7 Mighty

Ramchargers Stories - Part 04
The "High & Mighty"

1963 Pontiac 421 GP

Big Bad Boys - Muscle Cars
did not start with the 1964 GTO!

1963 Ford-Mercury 427

Ford's FE Big Block Story
Part 1 - 1958 through 1965

1972 44s W-30 Test

The Big Sleep: Performance in the
In-Between Years 1971-1982

1962 Max wedge 413

Chrysler's"RB" Wedge Development Through the Years

1970 Chevelle LS6

1970 - Screaming the loudest
before you die!


Hot Stuff from the Automotive History Preservation Society's Digital Library
The Cobra Story - a Focused View into the 1963-67 Car
There has been a lot of hoopla on the Internet this week "celebrating" the anniversary of the 427 Cobra. When you are talking Cobras, setting a date for the "Introduction" of a particular model is a little iffy as 'ole Shell just released the cars when they were ready - and sometimes with drew them for a while as "modifications" were made. This article is a solid view into the growth and development of the car. .

1963 Cobra Ad

The first Ads for the first Cobra were quite simple,
but the car was dramatically good looking as this shows.

The Cobra and Shell

The first Cobras (Mk I) were powered by a 260 CID Ford V8.
It was a Hi-Po 260, originally intended for the Mustang/Fairlane
but never installed - but it was available over the counter.
It made about 230-250 HP.

1965 427 Cobra

The famous 427 Cobras were an entirely new car, with new
chassis, new brakes, engine and transmission - even the
body was new - but Shelby made sure that it looked the same
as the old car - just more brutal.

1965 427 Cobra Test

Compare this picture to the shot at the top of the page.
This shows how brutally different the 427 was from the original.
Check out that acceleration chart. 118 MPH in the 1/4 mile in
12.2 seconds on those skinny tires. Yowza - this in 1965!


Cobras - the History and Development

by AHPS Staff -
reprint with permission only

Before Carroll Shelby came along, AC Cars had been using the smooth, refined Bristol straight-6 engine in its vehicles, including its AC Ace 2-seater roadster. This engine was a pre-WW design by BMW, which had be produced under license and then acquired by Bristol. However, by the 1960s the company knew the design was outdated. In 1961, Bristol decided to cease production of this engine and to move to Chrysler 313 cu. in. V8 engines. As a result, AC started using the 2.6 liter Ford Zephyr V6 in all of its cars.

In September 1961, Carroll Shelby sent AC a letter asking them if they would build a car modified to accept a V8 engine for him. Shelby contacted AC because he had previously had a positive experience with British-American hybrids, having raced an J-2 Allard which could be fitted with Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Chrysler V-8s and which proved quite successful. Shelby liked the AC because it was simple, light (an aluminum body was fitted, and it had a reputation for being sturdy. AC agreed, provided a suitable engine could be found.

Shelby first went to Chevrolet to see if they would provide him with engines, but they declined, not wanting to add competition to their Corvette, which, at the time was involved in a "back door" factory racing program. Shelby then contacted Ford who was looking for a way to come up with a car that could compete with the Corvette. And as a matter of chance, they happened to have a brand new thin-wall small block engine which would be perfect for the light-weight AC.

The engine Ford suggested was Ford's 260 cu. In. Hi-Po engine - a new lightweight, thin-wall cast small-block V8 tuned for high performance. (The engine would grow to 289 cu. in when it was fitted in the Mustang).

In January 1962, mechanics at AC Cars in Surrey, England fitted the prototype chassis, number CSX2000 with a 221 cu. in. Ford V8, which had the same exterior dimensions. After testing and modification, the engine and transmission were removed and the engineless chassis was air-freighted to Carroll Shelby in Los Angeles on February 2, 1962. There, it was fitted with a 260 engine and transmission in less than eight hours and taken out on test. It was named right after the successful drive, and later Carroll Shelby claimed the name "Cobra" came to him in a dream.

Production proved to be easy, since AC had already made most of the modifications needed for the small block V8 when they installed the 2.6 liter Ford Zephyr V6 engine, which, surprisingly was of similar size and weight. This included reworking the AC Ace's front suspension.

But the most important modification was the fitting of a stronger rear differential to handle the power of the Ford V8. AC chose a Salisbury 4HU unit with in-board disk brakes for the prototype. It was fitted to reduce unsprung weight. This unit was the same as used on the Jaguar E-Type, where it handled the power of modified Jag engines just fine. On the production versions, the inboard brakes were moved outboard to reduce cost.

The first 75 Cobra Mark Is (including the prototype) were fitted with the 260 cu. in engine. The remaining 51 Mark I models were fitted with the famous 289 cu. in. V8, making them Mark IIs. At the end of 1962, AC completed a major design change of the car's front end. They were able to fit the car with rack and pinion steering, while still using the somewhat archaic transverse leaf spring suspension.

The steering rack was borrowed from the MGB while the new steering column came from the VW Beetle. The new car, known as Mark II, went into production in early 1963. About 528 Mark II Cobras were produced from 1963 until the summer of 1965, however, the last US-bound Mark II was produced in November of 1964 . . .

To read the rest of the story - Click HERE

To read road tests of the Cobras - Click HERE

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1970 440 Six-Pack Super Bee Test
1969 Dodge Super Bee 440 Six Pack Road Test

The 440 B Block was one of MOPAR's biggest success stories - more so than even the Hemi. Why? Because it was fitted to so many different cars - and in Six-Pack form was with in a tenth of the bad boy Hemi on the street - where back in the 60s your cred counted. Besides, the Hemi cost about double and few could afford that ticket. And at 13.8 @ 104 MPH on street tires ain' t enough for you - well, then I guess you should have bought the Hemi . . .

Click Here to the 69 Dodge Super Bee Six-Pack test!

1936 Ford V8 Ads
  1936 Ford V8 Ads

We tend to take the 30s "Flathead" Fords for granted as an icon of motoring and hot rodding nowadays, but BITD, they were just a good car that was heavily advertised for its performance and, believe it or not, its economy! When you check out these ads, you will be impressed with a few things, but certainly the bright artwork stands out - making sure that the cars were shown in their best light. But the ad copy is a harbinger of how cars would be advertised post WW II -so take a gander.

To see the 1936 Ford Ads - Click HERE!

1969 Multiple Corvette Test
  1969 Corvette Road Test (All models - Multiple Cars)

OK, we all know that there were a lot of hot Corvettes prowling the streets and the track BITD, but in 1969 Car Life Magazine decided to take a copy of each available model and put them to the test - in one article! Five different models, five different engines, five different body styles - this was one hell of a test - and if you are a Corvette freak, you have to read this.

To see the Car Life multiple Corvette Test - click HERE!

1970 Javelin Ads
  1970 AMC Javelin Ads

American Motors was on a performance roll by 1970 and their cars were known to have plenty of get up and go. The Company advertised heavily, and one place where they knew they could be competitive was in the hot Trans-Am Series, that pitted pony cars from Ford, Chevy, Pontiac and even Mercury. They jumped in with both feet and early on in 1970 proved they could take the heat. Check out this smart juxtaposition of the Trans Am Javelin and a street car in this ad.

To see the 1970 Javelin Ad - click HERE

1969 Pontiac RA V Engine
  Pontiac Tunnel Port Ram Air V Exposed

There has been a lot of arguments made for why Pontiac went to all the effort to build an engine that was so sophisticated and high revving that its usefulness on the street was suspect. But all the factories were into some kind of racing effort and many of the engines developed were really to produce enough to allow them to compete in classes that required a "street" version. The RA V was really a means to allow Pontiac to compete in Trans Am, though by the time it was released, Pontiac had thrown in the towel (or was shoved out by Chevy as some say).

Click HERE to see the Pontiac Ram Air V8 Exposed!

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