You need to be different to stand out in a crowd today. So when motoring enthusiast Hendrik Ehlers chauffeured Namibia’s ‘Rock Chick’ Savannah Collins to her swan song matric farewell function last week in a jet black and chrome drop top Cobra Replica complete with oversized perforated side exhaust pipes – she made an entrance.
The sound of its throaty 5.8 litre V8 engine reaching top revs could be heard way down the street on arrival. And when the Cobra launched into some daring doughnut maneuvers accompanied by screeching tyres and smoke trails - it turned every head in the car park.
The car was built in 1971 and imported by its owner Ehlers to Namibia in 2001. And according to him, other than any other Cobra Replica in Namibia it is built from exactly the same components as the original classic AC Cobra. This 41 year old black ‘beast’ is also unofficially one of the fastest accelerating cars on Namibian roads today.
He said that while other Cobra ‘kit cars replicas’ driving around have a mix of Chev engines or other engines, with automatic gearboxes and parts from BMW and Toyota’s - this beauty is a pure original racing breed.
There is no sound system other than two massive side pipes that let off a roar, and the 5.8 liter Ford Cleveland Plus V8 engine driven by a four-speed manual gear box, produces over 360 hp factory standard. But with a Holly carburetor and Edelbrock air intake fitted, it tops 400 hp turning the 1,070 kg lightweight into a rocket.
The only time it ever was clocked was with two passengers reaching 100mp/h (160.9 km/h) in 8.1 seconds, and it was tested at the Tony Rust Race Track where it left its rivals in a trail of dust.
"In the early years I had a lot of problems with the engine, but since Klingenberg Motors services the car, it runs as smooth and powerful as ever before," said a proud Ehlers.
“It is a real treat to drive, but it takes skill to handle, because if you are not careful, it lunges forward within a fraction of a second like a bolting stallion.”