Third Strike! Scott Fraser Captures Third FAST AutoCrosser of the Year Title
Goodguys AutoCrossers know all too well how lethal Bruce Cambern’s ’66 427 Shelby Cobra can be when Scott Fraser gets behind the wheel. And when the dust settled following the 2020 Duel in the Desert, Fraser had made his strike, securing the Goodguys 2020 FAST AutoCrosser of the Year title for a third year in a row.
Fraser conquered a field of 32 cone-carving drivers who successfully raced into the Duel in the Desert competition ladder. He qualified first for the Duel and defeated James Eaton, Robby Unser, and Eric Sheely before his final-round meeting with Brian Peters, someone Fraser has frequently raced against for 14 years in SCCA competition and Goodguys AutoCross. “He’s a tough competitor,” Fraser said of Peters, who was driving David Carroll’s LS-powered Datsun 240Z. Both racers saved their best runs for the final, but Fraser’s blistering 37.058-second lap was too much for Peters to top.
Of course, Cobras like Cambern’s sleek Silver Mink beauty have been lethal in racing since day one. They represent a potent combination of American ingenuity, do-it-yourself attitude, and competition prowess. Carroll Shelby was a racer with a hot rodder’s get-’er-done mentality who used the simple formula of stuffing big American V8 power into a light aluminum-bodied British roadster to take on the world’s best sports cars and win. The 427 Cobra immediately claimed the title of fastest American car and held it for decades, earning legendary status among both enthusiasts and collectors.
Bruce Cambern saw the Cobra’s appeal right away, ordering this car – serial number CSX3170 – in November 1965. In those days it wasn’t seen as an investment; it was a race car, and he competed in it regularly during the 1960s and ’70s. Lucky for us, it’s still racing – unlike most Cobras, which are now relegated strictly to display duty. Fraser has been racing the car in Goodguys competition for several years now and it’s always a thrill for spectators and other racers to see it in action.
The Cobra’s light weight short wheelbase makes it especially competitive on tight courses like you find at Goodguys AutoCross. But it still needs to overcome more than 50 years of development and engineering progress to compete with modern cars. Bruce is actually pretty blunt about that: “They’re terrible cars,” he says. “You gotta fix ’em.”
Cambern’s car has been extensively “fixed” and modified through the years, though its original Shelby equipment – engine, transmission, and rearend – is securely stored away. The frame is sleeved to increase stiffness and has custom-built front and rear suspensions, JRi shocks, and a Kirkham aluminum differential. A Bosch Motorsports ABS brake system controls the six-piston Baer calipers and 13-inch full-floating front disc brake rotors, along with Wilwood calipers clamping on the 12-inch rear rotors. Jongbloed 19×10.5- and 19×12-inch center-lock wheels wear Bridgestone Potenza rubber.
We love the fact that there’s still a traditional-style V8 under the Cobra’s hood – an all-aluminum 440c.i. FE-style Ford built by Kinetics Race Engines. It uses a Shelby block, Bryant Racing crank, CP-Carillo rods, Comp camshaft, Dailey dry sump oil system, and 15:1 Wiseco pistons, along with raised-port Blue Thunder heads massaged by ET Performance. The induction system consists of an Edelbrock Victor Jr. manifold outfitted with a Wilson throttle body, Bosch injectors, and FAST XFI controls. As we’ve reported in the past, the combination is good for 820hp at 8200rpm, power that is transferred through a McLeod clutch to a Jerico dog-ring four-speed transmission.
Race basic is the best way to describe the Cobra’s cockpit, with a vinyl-upholstered passenger seat, lightweight bucket driver’s seat, Smiths gauges in the original dash, fire extinguisher, and a Schroth safety harness. The steering wheel is a modern Momo piece; the shifter a vintage Toploader item.
In addition to the car’s inherent performance ability and race-focused upgrades, Fraser has the benefit of detailed data-logging equipment and software he can review after every run to see where he can improve. All of it – the car, the performance parts, and the technology – are valuable tools, but you can’t deny the importance of Fraser’s skilled driving to realize the car’s full potential. After capturing his third AutoCrosser of the Year title in a row, it’s easy to see that he knows how to handle this lethal snake.
Photos by John Jackson, Damon Lee, Steven Bunker & Terry Lysak