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427 FIA Cobra – a modern day classic


The AC Cobra is one of the most iconic cars ever made with genuine Carroll Shelby built examples fetching insane amounts of money at auctions.


The appeal of the instantly recognisable shape and the rarity of genuine cars are the reasons why the Cobra kit market is booming.


Though considerably more affordable than their genuine counterparts, these replica ICVs (Individually Constructed Vehicle) are still held in high regard within the classic car comunity. Each replica is built to order and it’s not uncommon to see owners adding their own personal touches to each car.

Martin Upenieks is one of those happy owners and his car is this beautifully crafted 427 FIA Cobra replica pictured here.


It’s not hard to notice Martin’s desire to keep the car as period-faithful as possible.
“I really wanted the car to look and sound like a mid 1960s car.”


Both exterior and interior of the car reflect this philosophy. Despite being visually striking, Martin’s Cobra is tastefully understated with an enviable attention to detail.


While the car’s exterior doesn’t give anything away, hidden underneath all that classic body work are some modern upgrades.


“This car was always meant to be driven” said Martin, “and I don’t mean just short trips around the block, I wanted to be able to do a 1000km drive comfortably and without having to fight the car for control.”


The 306ci carbureted V8 engine was upgraded to EFI using Haltech’s Elite 750 ECU.

“I really wanted all the reliability, tuneability and all the other good things that come with EFI but at the same time I still wanted the engine to look and sound as authentic as possible.”


Looking into the engine bay you can see how this goal was achieved. The EFI components have been toned down to blend into the background while the polished throttle bodies get all the spotlight.


The fuel rail has been painted black and all the sensors have been hidden inside the distributor shaft. The whole setup makes a lazy 270hp at the wheels and with the car weighing a little over 1000kg it makes for an enjoyable and manageable driving experience.


“Because I really like driving this car I wasn’t keen on having an angry, big horsepower V8. I’m very happy with the way it drives and handles now and I certainly love the sound from the side exhausts!”

The suspension and brakes are also modern, Jaguar-sourced items with trick adjustable coil-over shocks front and back.


Martin’s Cobra oozes classic charisma and charm and coupled with a simple EFI upgrade it now has the performance and reliability often lacking in classics.

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