Python (Ford prototype)
The Python is a relatively unknown car. It originally started in the mid-1960s when Ford's Vice President of Design, Eugene Bordinat, was designing a new body for Carroll Shelby to use as a replacement for the AC Cobra. With the help of McKinley Thompson (the first major African-American car designer at Ford), they designed two successors (one convertible and one coupe). The prototype, now called the Bordinat Cobra, was designed using a new plastic called Royalex, produced by United States Rubber Company (now known as Uniroyal).
Unfortunately, when Shelby and Ford parted ways the project was scraped along with the use of the new plastic.
Later in 1981, Alvin Kelly, who felt the need for a "pure, open air sports car", found one of the original Royalex Bordinat Cobra bodies and with the approval of Gene Bordinat and help of McKinley Thompson (consultant for Alvin Kelly) built four prototypes for this Python design. Alvin Kelly took the mold to Southern California, where the fourth prototype was perfected and put into production.
The Python was built using a reinforced Mustang frame that has a shortened wheel base in order to achieve 55:45 front:rear weight ratio. Because Alvin Kelly was going to market these cars through Ford dealers, the cars came equipped with standard Mustang equipment with the option of having any upgrades Ford offered for their Mustangs at that time. Consumers were also given the option of upgrading to a wooden dash and console.
Alvin Kelly moved his company to Fort Collins, Colorado shortly before production began. Although it is unknown how many cars were built in Southern California and how many were built in Fort Collins, Colorado, it is known that there were about 12 cars built before the company went under.
Kelly's Python was intended to reflect the old time style of the Bordinat Cobra while still incorporating a modern feel.
There have been seven of these cars identified.
- Adler, Dennis. "Once Upon A Time In Detroit". HI-Performance Kit Cars Magazine Retrieved 10 November 2013
- MacArthur, Dan. "Car Builder Hopes to Bite Into Market". Fort Collins Triangle Review Retrieved 10 November 2013.