SUPER PERFORMANCE AT SUPERFORMANCE
The Motor Press Guild pays a visit to Irvine’s Superformance
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Jun 11, 2016
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story by Glenn Oyoung
Pictures by Albert Wong
On Tuesday, June 7th, the Motor Press Guild (MPG) held its monthly luncheon at Superformance in Irvine, California. After an introduction by our very own editor Doug Stokes, Superformance CEO Lance Stander gave a colorful overview to the assembled journalists. Everyone had the best seat in the house because the presentation was done inside Superformance’s showroom, and we were invited to hear it “drive-in” style, sitting inside one of the many beautiful MKIII Shelby Cobra replicas.
For over 20 years, Superformance has created classic “replicars” that pay homage to yesteryear’s racecars melding classic designs with modern engineering. Like many of the other journalists invited, I was flabbergasted when I walked into the showroom. A room full of Cobras, Daytonas, GT40s, Caterham Sevens, and a Corvette Grand Sport equals sensory overload for any car nut – particularly those who love the swanky golden era of motorsports (1960’s & 70’s) as much as I do.
After an overview of Superformance’s roots in South Africa, it’s eventual designation as first a Shelby and then a GM Official Licensee, and the role that the Low Volume Manufacturer’s Act and SEMA have in protecting the replica car market – Stander turned over the keys to three of his MKIII Cobras over to us.
Before taking the wheel to a Cobra, I was able to ride shotgun in a Superformance customer’s 11-year old Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, based on the legendary car that won the World Manufacturer’s Championship in 1965. As a disciple of the Bob Bondurant School and a Shelby buff, the Daytona is one of my all-time favorites. I could not wipe the smile off my face as I peppered the owner with questions. In between “Are you serious!?!” and “Wow, really?!?” I learned that this particular Daytona has seen about 40,000 miles of relatively trouble-free driving and racing at Willow, Fontana, and more. My favorite aspects of the Daytona besides the stunning exterior styling – the backfiring when downshifting (because racecar!) and pulling g’s.
Next up, I was able to get some seat time in one of the MKIII Cobras. Entering the car is an exercise in priorities. Getting in without burning yourself on the bulging side exhaust is paramount, and once you’ve slid into the cockpit you can’t help but realize how much manlier men were back in the day. After putting the car through its paces on some of Irvine’s long stretches I can some the Cobra up into one word: VISCERAL. I’ve never felt more on a knife’s edge in a car, even doing just 50 mph. Everything about the Cobra screams USA! USA! USA!
Thanks to MPG and Superformance for an amazing experience. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Tuesday afternoon. Time to save up for Gulf-liveried widebody GT40!