Written by Eric Becker
In the transportation hierarchy of what could be labeled as “cool,” fighter jets sit unopposed, at the top. Svenska Aeroplan AB, better known to the motoring world as Saab, knew this. The now-defunct Swedish automaker crafted a successful marketing strategy highlighting their combat-geared steel birds and the lineage to their automobiles. This proved a bit of a stretch, as even the imaginative Saab automobiles bore no resemblance to the manufacturer’s 37 Viggen fighter plane.
But while fighter jets might take the top spot, sitting right below is something we at Barrett-Jackson know and love. Supercars – aircraft-inspired design, fast, loud and fun. There is no better example than the performance of the ultrafast, and esteemed, Shelby 427 Cobra. But how might a magnificent 427 Cobra and fighter jets have anything in common? The answer is Kirkham Motorsports.
Founded in 1994 by David Kirkham, Kirkham Motorsports grew out of Kirkham’s own love for the AC-based Cobra. Frustrated with the cost of sourcing replacement parts and maintaining his personal ’65 Cobra, Kirkham was struck by the similarities between the car’s construction and that of a Polish fighter jet his pilot brother-in-law had recently acquired. In true ’90s fashion, Kirkham faxed the Mielec, Poland, factory where the jet had been constructed and asked if they could produce parts for a Cobra. The answer was yes, and Kirkham began dividing his time between his Provo, Utah, home and the industrial center of southeastern Poland.
The Online Only July 2020 Auction features Lot #184, a stunning 2010 Kirkham 427 KMS/SC (the KMS standing for Kirkham Motorsports and the SC an unabashed nod to Shelby Cobra), boasting a fully handcrafted and polished aluminum body. In keeping with Shelby tradition, a CSX-numbered 427 FE “side oiler” engine sits under the striped hood. The 427 engine was stroked and now displaces 482ci, producing a stick-to-your-seat 570hp and 589 ft/lbs of torque. The power is routed through a TREMEC 5-speed manual transmission, and the entire build was kept light, barely cresting 2,000 pounds. Keeping the racer glued to the road are a set of Goodyear #2546 Eagle racing tires wrapped around knock-off wheels.
The 427 KMS/SC roars like a jet on take-off, compliments of polished stainless side pipes. Inside, you’ll find leather seats and wool carpeting, as well as a fresh-air ventilation system. This Kirkham is also equipped with both quick jacks and an on-board Halon fire system. Included in the sale are the dyno sheet from Shelby and a CSX Certificate of Authenticity.
If you feel the need – the need for speed – then this born-from-jets V8 monster is for you.