Swap Insanity: Shelby Cobra Kit Car Receives Twin Turbo LS1


“Looks can be deceiving” is the first thought that pops into our heads.

Fast, valuable, and good looking; what more could you possibly ask for in a car? The original Shelby Cobra is world renowned for its good looks and ahead-of-its-time ingenuity. If you somehow manage to get your hands on one of the originals, you’re guaranteed to be a rich man. Because the originals are so expensive, the Cobras have been replicated as kit cars so that the unattainable can be had by the average enthusiast. With that said, this particular Cobra is far from average.

Even though replicas are not original pieces of history, there are definitely benefits to owning them. For one, obviously you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get behind the wheel. Original Cobras in good shape can go for as much as a million dollars… yeah that’s six zeros. Secondly, you won’t have to worry about tearing up an invaluable piece of Americana if bitten by the mod bug, which is inevitable for most of us.


With a replica, every aspect of the car can be tailored to your own personal liking as well. When Stephen Covington, the owner of East Texas Muscle Cars, bought his AC Cobra replica, he certainly had some extensive mods in mind. Before any of the fun stuff could be done, the rod had to be assembled. Every aspect of the dream had to be put together piece by piece. After many years of waiting, Steve started working on his Cobra that he’d dreamed of having ever since he was 11 years old. Even though he had to sell his 1,100 horsepower 5th gen Camaro to get it, he was finally working toward completing one of his dream cars.

After many meticulous hours of assembly, all of the pieces were together and it was time to figure out just how the now engine-less roller was going to be powered. After pondering over the possibilities, Steve came to the conclusion that the car would receive an LS1 with Eagle rods and Wiseco pistons, featuring forced induction via twin turbos. To complete the power plant is an ETMC 2 cam and PRC 2.5 heads. The power then goes through a T56 transmission with a twin disc clutch to get to the wheels.


All of that punch fits perfectly, even in such a small package.

Even though the current setup makes nearly 1,000 horsepower, it is still a bit modest for its owner. The plan is to soon swap in the LS3 from the ETMC race car to take the place of the LS1. Meanwhile, the donor drag car that originally housed the LS3 will be receiving special attention via LSX block and twin turbo setup as well, which is expected to land somewhere in the 2,000 horsepower range.

Not only does this ride have the power to go, but it also was complemented by the impressive weight, or lack thereof. The coupe weighed in at 2,500 pounds, which might as well be a feather when compared to that 5th Gen Camaro. When you put it in perspective, this car encompasses everything a true muscle car should be: lots of power without the frills. This is surely one “bad to the bone” ride.

About the author

Jesse Kleiber

Jesse is currently a Senior at the University of Delaware and has been a car freak his entire life, probably due to his dad being a mechanic. If he's not at school or writing about cars, he's probably under the hood or behind the wheel of his '00 Corvette.
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