The Superformance MKII FIA – designed
to emulate the great Cobra 289 race cars from that nostalgic golden era of racing in the 1960s. The Superformance
MKII FIA is the first truly authentic race replica of the 289-powered FIA and USRRC racers. Unlike most competitors,
the MKII FIA is built on the successful Tojeiro-styled round tube chassis and features an authentic transverse leaf spring
suspension to give owners an exceptionally authentic driving experience. Through our exclusive agreement with Carroll
Shelby, the MKII FIA is a licensed Shelby.
- Show quality two-stage paint finishes.
- Hand laminated fiberglass body with reinforcing inserts.
- Heavy duty TIG welded 3" Tojeiro style frame chassis.
- Transverse leaf spring style suspension.
- Salisbury limited slip differential.
- Willwood® front and rear disc brakes with double master cylinders.
- Aluminum 6 pin drive FIA style wheels (Knock – off) with 15” tires.
- Original style shifter and hand brake lever.
- Aluminum interior, trunk and engine compartment.
- Sun Visors and wind wings.
- Original style latch-lock seat belts.
- Moto - Lita wooden steering wheel.
- Monza style filler.
- Aluminum hi-performance radiator, shroud and fan.
- Original style gauges (Stewart Warner) and switches.
- Stainless steel fuel tank. 14 gal.
- Stainless steel roll bar, chassis mounted.
- FIA spec dashboard.
- FIA spec trunk with dimples.
- Transverse nose stripe.
- Soft top and side curtains.
- Tonneau cover.
- Side and rear view mirrors.
- Leather seating surfaces (drivers and passanger adjusts).
- Ken Miles exhausts system side pipes (ceramic coating extra).
- Fuel cap wind deflector.
- Harrison expansion over flow tank.
- Differential oil cooler.
- Auxiliary Racing tank.
- Stainless steel quick lifts.
- Black cockpit carpets fitted.
- Door map pockets.
- Fuel transfer valve.
- White painted wheels.
- Oil cooler and braided lines.
- Side pipes and headers to accommodate Ford based V8 engine.
Design of the Superformance MKII FIA
Based on the FIA and USRRC endurance racers, the Superformance MKII FIA has many
unique features. Just as the originals saw modifications to the AC Ace platform
to improve them for racing, the Superformance MKII FIA gets a series of changes
to differentiate it from lesser Cobras.
To truly replicate the cornering feeling felt by the racers of the day, the
chassis had to be as close to the original as possible. Unlike other
manufacturers, the engineers of the Superformance MKII FIA have resisted the urge to make the ride “better” by fitting a
reinforced chassis or unequal length control arms with coil-over shocks.
Instead, only small functional changes were made for safety or practicality
purposes. In fact, the original AC drawings of the chassis, springs, shocks and
body dimensions were used to form the necessary jigs.
The 3” pipes have been tig and mig welded with computer assistance to guarantee
a safer and stronger chassis than the arc and gas welded originals. The chassis
is just about as close to the original as possible in this modern day. Building
the cars with a meticulous eye on authenticity took time, but in the end, we
feel that effort pays off in a superior driving experience for customers.
Just like with the chassis, the same rule applied with the suspension
development – it had to be period correct, or as close to it as possible. While
the original used a transverse leaf spring style suspension, that arrangement
requires different length springs to change camber settings. Because of that,
the decision was made to go with heim joints, just like some of the original
competition cars used. In fact, two options are offered here – The first being
rose joints and the second being adjustable rod ends with poly bushings for a
slightly less harsh ride.
Another change for safety was to add an additional pick-up point to the chassis
in order to increase the shear strength of the bolt passing through the lower
control arm rose joint or poly-bushed rod end. The original springs were made of
thinner steel than that available today, so the engineers milled the modern
units to the correct size and thickness. This insistence on authenticity means
that owners of a Superformance MKII FIA will have virtually the same driving
experience as those original racers from the '60s.
The Superformance MKII FIA bodywork replicates the European FIA regulated form
but is here produced in fiberglass. While every one of the FIA cars differed in
some small way from the others, one of the identifying characteristics were the
different colored stripes painted
across the fenders and hood of the Team Shelby cars.
The Superformance MKII FIA features the larger Le Mans type fuel filler placed
almost directly behind the passenger’s seat to enable easier pit refilling. Just
like the originals, cars may also be fitted with a small wind deflecting shield
to prevent fuel being sucked out and into the car at speed.
More fuel was required in the endurance-racing FIA cars, so a special long-range
fuel cell was fitted in the trunk. Because the FIA required there be enough room in the
trunk for a regulation size suitcase as well, two dimples had to be "engineered"
into the boot lid for it to close properly. Legend has it that the first dimples
were actually created when the aluminum trunk lid was slammed shut over the
luggage by a frustrated mechanic. The reserve fuel switchover valve has been
placed on the floor between the driver's legs just in front of his seat.
The hood of the Superformance MKII FIA also gets special treatment. The rivets that appear on the front
of the hood were there to prevent the aluminum from being torn off of its frame
at high speed. This was known to happen on the originals, due to the high
pressure build-up in the engine compartment. The fender air vents helped to
alleviate that problem and to remove excess heat from the engine compartment as
well. Fiberglass air scoops are also fitted in three locations to feed cold air
onto the front and rear brakes as well as into the cabin foot wells.
Because of the use of larger tires on the FIA cars, the rear and doors were
modified to accommodate them. Cut back doors and a more bulbous rear appeared,
and the front fenders were flared even further to cover the larger front tires
as well. Oil coolers for both the motor and differential have been fitted.
Rondel illuminating lights were fitted on the sides of some of the originals for
night racing and are available here as well. A roll bar has also been fitted
with a forward angled support tube brace bolted to the chassis in the
passenger’s foot well. No carpets were fitted and all other trim was also
The FIA dash was also altered by leveling the two shorter elements on either
side of the center stack. This allowed the steering column to be dropped to give
a more comfortable racing position as well as making enough space for the 3-3/8"
Stewart Warner tachometer to fit above it. In this position it was more visible
to the driver. The rest of the instruments were replaced by the larger 2-5/8"
gauges and arranged differently on the dash. The speedometer, for instance, has been relegated to the passenger side.
The bottom of the dash also features an upturned lip for strengthening, which
also helps cure cowl shake. Strangely the grab handle remained, possibly to meet
the FIA production regulations.
Under the hood of the originals resided a race 260 or 289 equipped with Webers.
Only the first 75 cars were fitted with the 260 before the switch to the 289.
The FIA cars also featured a Harrison radiator expansion tank (sourced from a
1963 Corvette) that was fitted above the transverse spring, and side exhausts
that exited at the rear of the doors.
History and Origins
The Shelby Cobras were based on an aging, but light and strong, British
roadster, the AC Ace. AC cars were at this stage trying to source different
motors with the Buick/Rover V8 being one of them. Initially the 260 cubic inch
small block Ford was adopted, and then after 75 cars were upgraded, the 289 was
fitted. Some significant body changes took place with this modification. Front
fender louvered side air vents were fitted and the nose altered to allow more
The chassis was also tweaked by Alan Turner at the AC cars factory. Heavier
gauge tubing with extra cross bracing was used and because the rear brakes had
been moved from inboard to outboard, the differential area could be modified and
strengthened as well. The first 126 frames used the same front suspension tower
as the Ace but when the change to rack and pinion steering took place, a
different type of front shock tower was used. This allowed for further
The change from worm and sector to rack and pinion transformed the handling of
these cars. At the same time the bottom control arm pick up points were able to
be repositioned. Originally the 3" tubing was all arc welded whilst the body
framework, consisting of ¾" and 1" steel tubing, was gas welded. 1 ½" tubing was
used to strengthen the scuttle area. Today we use state of the art technology
that has vastly improved on these methods, although hopefully none of the charm
has been lost.
The John Tojeiro designed 3” tubular rail and cross member ladder style chassis,
with front and rear suspension towers welded to it, started off life under a
Cliff Davis 2-liter special in 1953. The little red Ferrari 166 barchetta
look-a-like body placed on top of this chassis proved to be a formidable force
in the local club racing events... so much so that AC cars decided to buy the
design when it was offered to them.
The first Aces used a Weller-designed ohc engine and then later the more
efficient Bristol BMW based 2.0-liter unit. When Bristol stopped producing these
in 1961, AC tried various other options including the 2.6-liter Ford Zephyr
engine tuned by Ken Rudd. This motor was fitted for a short while and because of
the extra weight and horsepower, strengthening of the chassis and slight body
changes were done. The nose and hood line were changed, (lowered) improving
aerodynamics. From these changes the Ace 2.6 evolved.
It was at about this point that AC's owner, Charles Hurlock, was approached by
Carroll Shelby to use a Ford V8 in the Ace chassis. The result was the AC Cobra
in 1962. Production of the Ace ended that same year, but the AC – and later
Shelby – Cobra went on to win Le Mans and become the fastest "production" car in
the world. It also become one of the most recognizable and admired sports cars
of all time.