Robnell Cobra: Our Shed

By: Andrew Stedwell, Photography by: Andrew Stedwell

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Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra
Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra
Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra
Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra
Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra Robnell Cobra

Our shed: Head bean-counter Andrew Stedwell lives his matchbox-car dream

Robnell Cobra: Our Shed
Our cars: Robnell Cobra


Robnell Cobra

It was love at first sight. Actually, it’s love every time I look at one. My eyes never tire of the lines of an AC Cobra – the low-slung body and muscular posture, the elegant nose and fat rear-end, separated by the open cockpit. Not to mention the hair-raising performance and the sound of a worked V8 with 4.0-inch sidepipes!

As a kid in a Superman T-shirt, the Cobra was the most treasured in my Matchbox collection. I dreamt that one day I’d own one.

But I thought my Matchbox dreams would never come true. As an 18-year-old, I sat in the driver’s seat of a green Robnell Cobra SC302. Excitement turned to ecstasy when my mate’s dad threw me the keys and told me to take it for a spin. Unfortunately, I couldn’t lift my leg to change the clutch as I’m six-foot-three. Not a car for anyone above six foot, I thought!

Nevertheless, over the years I kept a look out for Robnells in the pages of Unique Cars. I even managed to drive a silver Robnell press car, albeit very uncomfortably.

Two years ago I stumbled across a burgundy Robnell Cobra from the Northern Territory. The description read: "will suit tall driver". I couldn’t book the flight quickly enough and the rest is history.

There were only 67 Robnell Cobras ever built – mine is build number 19. Strangely enough, the one I was thrown the keys to all those years ago was build number 18.

My car has just 19,000km on the clock, yet I recently had it overhauled by Plus Four Automotive in Dandenong. It was a non-factory built car and runs a 6.3-litre stroked Cleveland with a Motec computer, Porsche fuel injection, working four-inch sidepipes, Truetrac limited-slip differential and a four-speed Top Loader gearbox.

So far it has proved extremely reliable, and with over 300hp at the rear wheels and weighing in at just over a tonne, it has ‘enough’ performance to match its aggressive looks.

Robnell Cobras have a reputation as superbly built replicas that are becoming collectable. A recent 7.0-litre version sold for $105,000 at Shannon’s late last year.

It’s not a daily driver, but for taking my son Jesse for a blast across to the beach or up the mountains on a sunny weekend, I can’t think of a better car.

Jesse certainly thinks so. Perhaps it’s even worthy of his Matchbox dreams…


> Watch the video of the Robnell Cobra here



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