Shelby Cobra Concept in New Film

"A car lover's paradise," is how rapper turned actor Ice Cube described the set of his new action thriller "XXX: State of the Union." Playing the part of special agent Darius Stone, Ice Cube drives some of the world's hottest rides in pursuit of bad guys out to assassinate the president of the United States.

The movie makes its worldwide premier on Friday, April 29 and is rated PG-13. Besides stars like Samuel L. Jackson, William DaFoe and Peter Strauss, the movie also features names like F-150, GTO, Ferrari, and Rolls Royce. But the film's producer says the most captivating vehicle in the lineup had to be the Shelby Cobra Concept Car used in the film's climactic chase scene.

"We were looking for a super, hot car for the big chase scene," said Arne Schmidt. "We looked high and low for the ultimate super car and finally honed in on the Ford Shelby Cobra prototype of which there was only one in existence."

The Shelby Cobra Concept was designed by Carroll Shelby (of Ford Mustang Cobra fame) for last year's North American International Auto Show. The movie production team obtained permission from Ford Motor Company to replicate the car from the original design plans and wound up making four versions.

"The 'XXX' producers were passionate in their plea to include the Shelby Cobra Concept in the movie," said J Mays, group vice president, Design and Chief Creative Officer. "Obviously, we weren't keen to offer up our one-of-a-kind full runners to take abuse on the film set. But the energy of this action flick is such a good match for this 605-horsepower roadster that we worked with the studio to share design data and product details and worked with them to build a handful of cars that you see in different parts of the movie.

Ice Cube and his cohorts also drive a Ford F-150; a stock truck that was transformed inside and out with the installation of raised wheels, custom tires, and elaborate video and audio equipment.

"This movie has the most tricked-out cars you can think of," said Xzibit, who plays the one of the film's outlaw chop shop owners. The rap star also hosts the MTV Network custom vehicle television series "Pimp My Ride."

"That Ford F-150 is off the hook," he said. "Everything on it is modified. It's exactly what you'd need if you ever had to go to war."

The car's designers worked with a stunt coordinator during the manufacturing stages to make sure the vehicles were as safe as possible.

"We always make safety our primary objective," said R.A. Rondell, the film's stunt coordinator. "We installed skid plates underneath all the vehicles to absorb any shock, as well as smaller fuel cells with five gallon tanks to minimize any chance of fire.

The actors also were put through high-speed training so they would feel comfortable moving the vehicles at increased speeds, Rondell added. For Ice Cube the experience was like going to work and getting to play with big beautiful toys. "That Cobra is off the chain," he said. "I would walk on the set some days and it was like a car lover's paradise. It was a blast, seeing all those cars and getting a chance to drive them and tear it up."

Dearborn, April 25, 2005
Source: Ford Mustang news from the Ford Motor Company

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