Not your typical hybrid

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Car manufacturers often try to recreate some of the most iconic cars from years past. Whether they succeed in giving us a worthy successor or not is an entirely different story. One thing is certain – with an ever-increasing amount of regulations it’s getting more and more difficult to capture the spirit of the original car.

Knight International – a company best known for selling rare hypercars, has decided to have a go at it by making the Knight Vision R. Although it looks just like a heavily-modified 1960s Cobra, under the “skin” things are very different.

Drivetrain & Performance

2021 Knight Vision R Hybrid Exterior
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From a purist’s perspective, this is where things are quite controversial. Aesthetically, the Vision R looks like a tribute to the original 1960s Shelby Cobra. But maybe looking at it as a spiritual successor to the Cobra isn’t entirely correct, even if it shares its aesthetics.

Yes, it has a hybrid powertrain, but the non-hybrid part of it still hints back to the classic muscle era.

It consists of a 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 with 760 horsepower.

It’s still a Ford engine, more specifically the “Predator” unit we find in the 2020 Shelby GT500 and sends its power to the rear wheels. The rest comes from two electric motors with a combined power output of 350 horsepower, which go to the front wheels, so the Knight Vision R is effectively all-wheel-drive.

Despite the hybrid powertrain and battery pack, the car weighs less than 2,000 pounds (907 kg) while producing 1,110 horsepower combined.
2021 Knight Vision R Hybrid Exterior
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This should make for some epic numbers with regards to acceleration. The 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) sprint is expected to be less than 2.5 seconds. At the same time, because there is not much weight to lug around and all four wheels are being driven, cornering speeds should be equally insane.

2021 Knight Vision R Hybrid specifications
Powertrain 5.2-liter supercharged V-8 + two electric motors
Gas power 760 HP
Electric power 350 HP
Combined output 1,110 HP
Weight 2,000 lbs
0 to 60 mph 2.5 seconds

Exterior

2021 Knight Vision R Hybrid Exterior
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We already covered the fact that the Knight Vision R looks like a Shelby Cobra with a wide body kit. In the front, you get a lot of vents, all of which functional. A carbon-fiber front splitter spans the entire front end. Two enormous side vents channel the air which exits from additional openings over the front wheel arches. The front hood is dominated by a massive air grabber, which feeds the powerful supercharged V-8.

On the side, you get single-piece carbon wheels with a center lock and big vents on the rear wheel arches. Just like on most Cobras and Vipers, it has side-exit exhausts. In the back, you get a massive carbon-fiber diffuser. Unlike the original from the 1960s, safety has been on the manufacturer’s mind. Modern roll-over protection has been added, making the driving experience just that much less frightening. Most probably, you’d still need to keep a pair of spare pants in the glovebox, just in case.

Interior

2021 Knight Vision R Hybrid Exterior
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Details about what the cabin would be like are scarce. All we know for sure is that there will be a lot of carbon fiber, including the Recaro bucket seats, and a fully digital instrument cluster, accompanied by a multimedia system. Despite the digital aspect of the interior, the general layout is expected to be heavily influenced by the original Cobra. The purchase of the car is complete with a carbon-fiber helmet, which comes as standard.

Price

2021 Knight Vision R Hybrid Exterior
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Knight International promised to build 500 cars. Each of them will cost $ 500,000. It may sound strange but at this performance level, the Knight Vision R is kind of a bargain. The closest car in terms of power is the Ferrari SF90 which starts from $ 507,000 and can go up to $ 625,000, while having “only” 986 horsepower despite being a hybrid too.

The original Cobra

1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
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shelby cobra

The 1960s Shelby Cobra is one of the most recognizable classic cars, not only in the US but in the world. It was infamous for killing its drivers if they got careless and speed limits were put in place because of it. It may have been notoriously difficult to drive, but in the right hands, it was a proper track weapon. The tip of the iceberg is the Cobra 427 SC with 485 horsepower and 480 pound-feet (651 Nm). At the same time, it had a curb weight of just over 2,500 pounds (1,130 kg), most of which was at the front, because of the big 7.0-liter V8 racing engine.

Power went only to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual. All this translated into staggering for the 1960s 0 to 60 mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h), although some claim it could do more. In the right hands, the quarter-mile was covered in just 12.0 seconds. If you are not necessarily a collector, the new hybrid reincarnation would probably make more sense, as it’s bound to be quicker and costs three times less than the $ 1,500,000 price tag of the original Cobra 427. Despite twice the power of the original, it would be easier to drive too.

Conclusion

2021 Knight Vision R Hybrid Exterior
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When it comes to reimagining epic cars from the past, manufacturers are forced to play a dangerous game. On one hand, they need to make a car that would cover all modern-day regulations and on the other, they need to capture the soul of its predecessor. A tall order indeed. The Knight Vision R looks like a Shelby Cobra from days old, but will not necessarily drive like it, because of all the new tech. But look at the Dodge Viper. It managed to capture the soul of the Cobra, despite having a bit more tech. The Knight Vision R Hybrid might come from the future when compared to the Cobra, but it brings nostalgia with it.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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