If you want your child to gain an appreciation for custom automotive bodywork, the Toyota Camette concept was designed with you in mind. But if you want your child to develop a connoisseur-like appreciation of classic cars, you might want to step up to the new child-size Shelby Cobra 427.

A Shelby that you don't have to worry so much about your child denting, the Cobra "ride on" delivers a retro-stylish way for your child to drive around the neighborhood cul-de-sac. It's the product of a collaboration between Carroll Shelby Licensing and Hong Kong toy manufacturer National Products Limited, which also builds toy versions of Mercedes, Hummer and Mini vehicles.

While the small electric motor is a little less powerful than what you'd find in the classic Cobra, the car was designed around authenticity wherever possible. It can be ordered in either red or blue, each of which comes complete with white Cobra racing stripes. Details include side exhaust pipes, a roll bar and chrome wheels.

Not only is the Cobra "ride on" styled authentically, it will come in a limited edition version designed to closer emulate the real thing. That version will have working headlamps and a navy blue metallic pearl finish with Carroll Shelby’s "98" racing number. Only 998 examples will be made, a number that matches the Cobra's production run from 1962 to 1967. Each one will have its own serial number recorded in an official Cobra "ride on" registry.

We're not sure how many four-year-olds will really appreciate the idea of a registered serial number or 1960s-style detailing, no matter how much their dads explain it, but they are sure to appreciate the fun of driving an electric toy car. The Cobra has reverse, low and high gears and travels at speeds of up to 5 mph (8 km/h). It offers up to 45 minutes of drive time before the inevitable battery recharge.

Plans are to get the Cobra "ride on" to market by October, just in time for Christmas. It will also be seen touring notable auto events, including the Monterey Historic Races and SEMA Show.

Carroll Shelby passed away last year and the Cobra 427 "ride on" is the latest vehicle through which his spirit lives on, not just because of its look and namesake, but because of its connection to children. The Carroll Shelby Foundation provides financial support to children fighting life-threatening illnesses.

"National Products will be donating the limited edition No. 98 Shelby Cobra 427 ride-on prototype displayed at Monterey as part of a larger initiative to raise more awareness for the Carroll Shelby Foundation," says Tracey Smith, Carroll Shelby Licensing president.

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