The SHELBY AMERICAN
Fall 2016 4
A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME?
SOMEBODY NEEDS A DOPE-SLAP
We have to park here for about an
hour while the batteries get charged.
You know, Billy, it wasn’t that long ago
that we used something other than
electricity to power cars. This was
back before you were born. It was a
liquid called gasoline and it was re-
fined from decomposed fossil deposits
found thousands of feet underground.
Over millions of years they liquified
and had to be pumped to the surface.
Then the liquid, called “crude oil,” was
shipped to large petroleum refining
centers, sometimes in giant oil tankers
a couple of football fields long.
It came out as gasoline, a highly
toxic, flammable and combustible
clear liquid that had to be stored
below the ground in large holding
tanks at “gas stations” which were in
every neighborhood – sometimes one
on each corner of the same intersec-
tion. All cars had fifteen or twenty-
five-gallon “gas tanks” that had to be
filled from gas pumps at these gas sta-
tions about once a week. And gasoline
wasn’t cheap. It was about $20 a gal-
lon and you could only go about 40
miles on each gallon of gas
If it was so dangerous, Dad, how
did they keep it from exploding or
catching fire while it was being
pumped into cars?
Believe it or not, fires at gas sta-
tions were pretty rare. People were
usually pretty careful and they didn’t
allow smoking near gas pumps
weighed about 450 pounds and put out
a little over 300 horsepower.
“What’s the electric motor in our
“It only weighs about 35 pounds,
so to go just as fast as the car origi-
nally went in the 1960s it only needs
to produce about 50 horsepower.
That’s about the same as our new leaf-
“Where does the electricity that
powers our Cobra come from? I know
that one end is the power cord that we
plug into the car to recharge it. What’s
on the other end?
“Large electric generating compa-
nies produce the power by burning
coal or natural gas and converting it
into electricity, Billy. It flows through
overhead wires and provides lights for
houses and electricity to charge bat-
teries. The batteries in the Cobra are
a brand new technology. The Cobra
takes four of them and each one
weighs about 5 pounds. They charge
up in about an hour and will provide
power for the car to go about 400 miles
before they need to be charged again.
And they never need to be replaced.”
“Don’t those power companies that
burn coal and natural gas emit pollu-
tants into the air just like the old gaso-
“Hey! Lookee here. What do you
know? We’re charged up already. Hop
in, Billy. Let’s go get an ice cream
Jim Sfetko photo.
What’s ‘smoking,’ Dad?
Oh, you wouldn’t understand,
Billy. A long time ago people used to
poison themselves by inhaling smoke
from burning leaves. Anyway, once in
a while a car would crash and the gas
tank would rupture and explode in a
huge fireball, but this happened
mostly in movies and on television
What happened to all those cars
that needed gasoline to run, Dad?
Well, Billy, the government out-
lawed them because they caused air
pollution. They were replaced with
cars powered by electricity and compa-
nies made retro-fit electric motors that
could replace gasoline engines in cars.
Like our Cobra, here. The old engine
In the last issue we provided an example of
how Cobra history is being diluted by inaccu-
racies printed in nonauthorative places which
are accepted as fact by those who don’t know
any better. Jay Talbott provided another ex-
ample: one of those Internet “click-bait” time-
wasters that provide a series of mildly
interesting nostalgic photos. This one was, “
things only ‘60s kids will understand
,” and it
showed images from the 1960s that someone
born after that time would have no knowledge
of. A 427 Cobra S/C was a car enthusiasts
swooned over – except the picture they
showed was a Cooper-Monaco “King Cobra.”
FORD COBRA 427 SC
If you were a car enthusiast you swooned over this powerhouse on wheels.
20 Things Only ‘60s Kids Will Understand