Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  6 / 150 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 6 / 150 Next Page
Page Background


Summer 2016 6

doesn’t matter at all. Some of the

carpet is coming up. Yeah, so what?

The idea of owning a car like

this is so freeing, so enjoyable, so

basic, that it puts collector car own-

ership in a whole new light. Drive

it, it’s fine. To the lake, to the ice

cream stand, to the mall to buy

socks. As you drive, instead of on-

lookers thinking, “

There’s another

rich guy showing off,

” people think,

How neat that he still loves to

drive that old beat up rat, a car he’s

probably owned forever.

” You own

it, it doesn’t own you, so have a ball

with it.

Food for thought.

Are the Cars & Coffee shows

being held all over the country a

relatively new phenomena? Appar-

ently it began in 2003 when a

handful of car enthusiasts brought

their cars to a community parking

lot at Crystal Cove Promenade in

Newport Beach, California on a

Saturday morning. Word quickly

spread and the get-togethers got

larger and larger, to the point

where they outgrew the parking lot

where it all began.

It was an informal, sponta-

neous gathering where no one was

in charge. And that was the rub:

the management of the property

became worried that it had become

too large and was creating prob-

lems for local merchants. But there

was no single leader or sponsor to

deal with. So the cars were no

longer welcome and were forced to

move to a larger parking area.

They found a large lot owned by

the Mazda Corporation and shared

with a Taco Bell in nearby Irvine.

Word spread quickly, mostly

via pictures sent on the Internet,

and soon Cars & Coffee “meets”

were popping up across the country

on Saturday mornings. This was

yet one more automotive trend that

began in Southern California.

Or was it?



Psychologists could have a field

day with the Cobra because it is an au-

tomotive Rorschach test. Any vehicle

that looks, even remotely, like the

iconic Cobra roadster brings immedi-

ate comparisons by some people. It’s

almost like they can’t help themselves.

Take this item in

Hemmings Daily


ternet newsletter (April 15, 2016 at 7

a.m.). Editor Daniel Strohl writes,

“What if Carroll Shelby had the ear

not of Henry Ford II but of his father,

Edsel Ford? And what if sports cars

became a phenomenon in the United

States not after World War II but be-


The “What If” analogy can be ex-

tended out to infinity, sometimes get-

ting to the point where it becomes

nonsensical. It’s a harmless pursuit, of

course, but does it accomplish any-

thing other than wasting time? We

doubt it. It’s indulgently called “bench

racing” in the automotive hobby. We

bear no ill will to Strohl, who is merely

trying to generate a story about this

car, but c’mon – does an MGA with

bulging front fenders and a roundish

grille really resemble a Cobra?

The car is a one-off custom created

by hot rodder Paul Normand of

Rochester, New Hampshire. Normand

claims he wasn’t really inspired by

Carroll Shelby’s sports car as he was

by another Ford-powered two-seater,

the Yankee Doodle Roadster built in

West Hollywood, California by Rudy

Stoessel in 1940. Normand started

with a 1956 MGA and added 1939

Ford front fenders. He mounted the

body on an aftermarket Cobra chassis

and fitted with Corvette independent

front suspension and a coil-over Chevy

S-10 rear axle. It is powered by a 221-

cubic-inch Ford flathead with dual car-

buretors backed by a three-speed


The car found a buyer almost as

soon as it was finished. Normand only

drove it to the end of his driveway and

back before a buyer scooped it up. “


never called it a Cobra

,” he said, “


the guy who bought it from me called

it that.

” No doubt his vision was tem-

porarily impaired by the stars in his

eyes; the word Cobra can do that.

The infatuation apparently didn’t

last long because the car went to the

Houston Classic Auction on April 23.

In the auction catalog it was listed as

a 1939 Ford V-8 “Cobra” Roadster. It’s

not surprising the Cobra name was in-

voked: how much attention would it

have attracted described as a 1956

MGA? It sold for $22K, something less

than the pre-auction estimate of $30K-


Rudy Stoessel’s Yankee Doodle Roadster.