When Italy’s own Horacio Pagani, former employee of Lamborghini, started his own car company in the early ’90s, he had hoped to design a supercar all his own. Though it’s not hard for lower-volume manufacturers like Pagani to manufacture the absolute best in terms of body and chassis construction, not to mention an almost over-attentive detail to interior, these same automakers do also understand that to develop an original engine and transmission costs nearly five times as much as it does to develop the car itself. Consequently, Lamborghini’s current Gallardo uses an Audi R8 chassis and drivetrain, while neighboring Pagani has chosen to go with the twin-turbo V12 that has made AMG-Mercedes into a Euro performance landmark.
With that said, what we have seen with both Lamborghini and Pagani, among several others, is a certain spirit of compromise; if our engine costs too much to build or is scarcely available, we’ll go with an equally-good alternative.
Swedish kit car builder, Magnus Jinstrand understands this “spirit” and encapsulates it through his Mercedes V12-powered Cobra. The reason that Jinstrand has gone with a Mercedes mill is because American motors, Fords included, are harder to find in Sweden’s junkyards, but that doesn’t mean that Jinstrand hasn’t been able to make this non-traditional setup work.
As a matter of fact, the Mercedes-powered Shelby still uses American suspension components to grab the track; a Corvette C4 suspension with adjustable sway bars is more than enough to handle the supercharged Benz mill’s 600, tarmac-tearing horsepower. And the source of this brake horsepower output is a Lysholm, 3300 supercharger, forcing a large volume of cold air into the S600-based motor.
Jinstrand says that he still has some overheating issues, but hopes to resolve those soon. His Cobra kit car also uses Brembo brakes to come to a stop, and a Porsche Cup style rear wing helps add to the car’s overall downforce. Jinstrand says that it was also tricky to fabricate the car’s front chin spoiler, but at the end it worked out for the best.
In the rodding world, there are a lot of unique, cross-continental creations that are crawling out of the wood work; Magnus Jinstrand’s V12-powered Shelby kit car is definitely one of them.