Top 15 Hot Rods From The Movies: #12 Cobra Mercury

The 1986 film “Cobra” was a lousy movie but showed that a car could be the best actor in a movie by stealing all the scenes. Photos from www.imcdb.org

The 1986 action movie “Cobra” featured a cast of B-movie celebs like Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen. Rising above the subpar cast and screenplay was a virtually unknown in Hollywood, the 1950 Mercury built by Dean Bryant.

Bryant is known as the car builder for the stars, and was commissioned to build four of the Mercury sleds, one for normal driving conditions and interior shots, and three stunt cars. Stallone ended up owning the non-stunt Mercury, which was stolen from his garage in 1994. Fortunately, the car was recovered and Stallone was reunited with the Merc 17 years later.

The movie was as horrible as it sounds but the Merc stole every scene that it was in. The modified classic was captured driving backwards down the highway at California highway speeds, demolishing other cars by driving over them BigFoot-Style, and launching off of parking garages.

An action movie hero was born with the release of this movie.

The highly modified Mercury Monterey tank was seemingly unstoppable and certainly way ahead of it’s time. Using Nitrous for boosts of speed decades before the Fast and Furious franchise was even thought of.

The acting in the movie was so bad that the film received widespread criticism by every reviewer and seemed to be destined for early video release. Car fans loved the Merc however and the movie debuted in the number one spot, holding it for a couple of weeks, becoming a financial success.

For many movie-goers, this was their first exposure to a real lead sled.

Stallone’s car supposedly had a SBC with 400 Turbohydramatic transmission, a monster Holley carburetor, four wheel disc brakes and the cup holder as seen in the movie.

The sole surviving stunt car was outfitted with a full roll cage and Recaro race seats. The car was raced in the Carrera PanAmericana VII in the late 80’s, and also attempted to break the Land Speed Record for supercharged flat head V8’s with it in 1989. Sadly it fell 3mph short. It has been seen on eBay offered for sale a few times since August of 2002. 

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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