Dad Creates Awesome Shelby Cobra Toy Car with Mini 7HP Engine for His Son

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It's fair to say that, when it comes to toys, kids are spoilt for choice these days. Still, it's one thing to empty your pockets for an off-the-shelf product and another when you put your own sweat (and tears, and perhaps even a little bit of blood) into creating a unique object for your child.

One can only presume how happy Ernesto Freitas' young son must have felt after he first laid eyes on the red-colored Shelby Cobra roadster toy car that comes with a 7HP-strong 50cc petrol engine sporting an electric starter.

If the dad's name rings a bell to our older readers, it's because Freitas has been an active independent designer and engineer over the years. Among his other creations are the LusoMotors LM23 and the Ferrari Dino prototype.

While it would have certainly been way more cool to end the story at this point, in the email he sent us, the Portuguese designer mentions that he wants to place the Cobra into a small series production, offering it with either a battery- or a gasoline-fueled motor at a rather discouraging, for most readers, price of around €16,000 ($21,900).

But hey, if you're skilled with your hands, maybe you can draw inspiration from this build and create your own scale model toy car, in which case, we'll gladly show it off on these pages.

If you want to learn more details about the Cobra car, scroll down to read the email that Freitas sent our way.

By John Halas






[From Ernesto Freitas]

"When I decided to build this car was for two main reasons, one completely different from the other, but both complementary. I really wanted to give my son the best motoring experience possible, at the highest level, but also I wanted to prove myself that I could build a car from scratch, doing all the work myself, from the investigation, design, construction up to the assembly stage.

It was a time consuming but very rewarding process, giving me much pleasure and experiences that no other project could allow.

Once I decide to do the work, I chose to build a miniature of the famous Shelby Cobra, a car that has always fascinated me and met all the basic requirements I wanted: A charismatic car, a roadster and a sports car par excellence.

Over 1600 hours of work were consumed, nearly all of them spent at the evenings, after work and weekends.

All details were designed and 3D modelled before starting to cut and spend real money, allowing to source the correct parts and to decide the way the car design could go.

This car has tubular chassis, independent suspension at four wheels, rear wheel drive setup, with a front mounted 7HP 50cc petrol engine with electric start. The bodywork is made out of fiberglass and was also made completely from scratch.

Transmission is made through a chain up to the rear diff and uses a CVT with centrifugal clutch and a reverse box incorporated in the rear diff. I've used this setup to allow my kid to drive it with ease...

I wanted the car to look like a real sized car, so I've put a lot of effort to do that, using actual car parts and many details as much as possible, like the fully functional interior, opening doors and hood, for instance, leather seats and trim, fully working electrics, etc. .The car has two seats, allowing also a better driving experience.

Also, to add even more realism, the car is equipped with real tires and 10" rims.

In a 3/4 scale form, the car is a bit more then 3mt long, 1,3mt wide and weights around 250Kg.

Top speed is controlled up to 25mph, to keep it safe for all.

I’m in a plan to develop a “production” version of this “toy”, using a 289 Cobra bodywork design and many fantastic details to make it the best car you can possibly buy for your kid.

Two possible versions: A petrol powered unit and other fully electric, both RWD.

Prices would be on the range of 16.000,00 euros for a turn key car but will also provide kits in several stages of assembling."


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