The Cobra/CoBra mystery.
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From: Louis Rugani
Date: Thursday, December 29, 2011 1:40 PM
Did Carroll Shelby Buy The Crosley "CoBra" Trademark For $1?
by Chris Demorro on December 27, 2011
There are a great many legends and myths associated with American automobiles. Two of these stories involved Ford and Crosley.
Carroll Shelby would go on to become a legend himself, and he came up with the
legendary "Cobra," a lightweight British sportscar with a powerful V8 under the hood.
The Cobra name itself has become synonymous with the car, but there has always been a question about where the name came from, and whether Shelby had to pay Crosley Motors, Inc. $1 to trademark the Cobra (or CoBra) name.
The editors at Hemmings Auto Blog looked into this question and came up with some theories.
In 1946 Crosley licensed a military engine designed by Lloyd M. Taylor that weighed just 133 pounds with all the accessories, including the flywheel. Built from copper-brazed steel stampings, the water-cooled overhead-camshaft engine was a great generator but a poor automobile engine, though with proper care it remained servicable, and several are still powering Crosleys today.
That engine was officially called the 'CoBra' (for "Copper Brazed"), but by 1949 it was replaced by the Crosley CIBA ('Cast Iron Block Assembly') engine due to the CoBras' rusting, electrolysis and overheating issues.
In early July of 1952 Crosley Motors ended production, and though the engine patent passed through several other companies, none ever bothered to trademark the CoBra name again. American trademark protection expires after 10 years and 6 month, so when Shelby went ahead with the Cobra name in 1962, he didn't have to pay anyone a penny, or so Hemmings says.
Does that mean that Shelby's own legendary account of dreaming of the name 'Cobra' is 100% true? Maybe, maybe not, but it's also true that Powel Crosley died just months before Shelby named his creation 'Cobra'. Could this death have awakened memories of the Cobra name? That's a story none of us will ever really know, but it does add to the legends, doesn't it?