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1966 Cobra 427 Image Right
 
Image credits: © Shelby. Shelby American, Inc.

1965 Shelby Cobra 427 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Roadster
 
By late in 1963, the leaf spring 289 Cobra roadster was losing its supremacy on the racetrack. A so-called MKII was developed powered by a 390 cubic-inch Ford FE motor but it didn't work. The MKIII featured a whole new coil spring chassis-designed with Ford's help topped by a wide fender roadster body with a gaping radiator opening to help cool the massive Ford 427 'side oiler' motor now installed. Production began in January of 1965 and approximately 300 cars were built to include a number of competition versions, some thirty-one of which remained unsold until they were de-tuned and made street legal. These cars were subsequently labeled 'SC' for 'semi-competition.'
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX 3006
 
High bid of £525,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
In 1964 a decision was made by Shelby American to update the aging 289 Competition Cobra to produce 100 updated examples for 1965 FIA World Manufacturers Championship homologation. Known internally as the MKII, the new car was upgraded throughout to accept Ford's fearsome 427 side oiler engine. Shelby American only built 51 of the upgraded 427 MKIIs. When FIA inspectors discovered there were less than 100 units available they denied the new Cobra. Only 19 of the 51 were produced as 427 Competition Cobras. CSX3006 is one of the nineteen pure 427 Competition Cobras produced and one of the first 427 competition chassis sold to a private team. Work order #15060 was opened on 25 January, 1965 to build CSX3006 for William G. Freeman of Muncie, Indiana. Freeman requested it be finished in metallic blue, slightly lighter than the team cars and have gold Le Mans stripes. It was invoiced on 7 April, 1965 to High-Performance Motors of Los Angeles costing $9,600 plus $24.86 for a shoulder harness. Pictures at the time indicated it was delivered without a Cobra emblem on the nose.
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX3176
 
Unveiled in 1965, the Anglo-U.S. Shelby 'Cobra 428' was the most brutish muscle car ever. Former race driver Carroll Shelby got the notion that a simple way to make a really hot car would be to slip a small Ford V-8 into the aluminum body of the British made AC 'Ace.' AC had introduced the 'Ace' roadster in 1953 and in 1960 they were in danger of losing their source for engines. Shelby's little notion grew into one of the most successful specialty cars ever produced. As with all true sports cars, there are few amenities on the Cobra -- What you see is what you get! But what you get is a racing machine with power to spare. In 1964, the Shelby Daytona Cobra (a hardtop model) won its class at LeMans. The car was the first of Carroll Shelby's successful car designs, which also include the Shelby 'Mustang' and the Dodge 'Viper.'

This car was owned and raced by Len Cunningham from San Diego, California. In the sixties, the car was orange with gold wheels while racing in the SCCA. It was then sold in 1978 to Jim Southard. It was then at SAAC-3 in Pasadena in August of 1978 where it was awarded 'Best Competition 427 Cobra' that it was repainted white with one red and one green stripe. The car has not been painted since then.

The car was then sold again in 1979 to Morgan Warner and purchased by Robert Andersson in 1980. The car was exported to Sweden and raced until 1985, with total placings as follow: 2nd overall in 1982 and 1983; first in 1985.

Then in 1985 the car was brought back to the USA and placed in storage until 1998 when it began to participate in historic racing. Today's owner is still Robert Andersson.
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX4005LA
 
This Shelby Cobra 427 is chassis number CSX 4005LA. It has a fiberglass composite body, aluminum fender close out panels front and rear, 4-inch diameter DOM steel tube frame, original Shelby four-wheel independent suspensions with dual A-arms and coil over shocks, Baer racing brakes with dual piston calipers, Dana 44 gears, and a Shelby Salisbury 3.45 radio differential. The engine is a Shelby/Roush Performance 427IR V8 that offers 550 horsepower. There is a 23 gallon fuel cell, Goodyear Eagle GT II P295 50R15 tires, and original style Trigo aluminum pin drive 15-inch wheels. The interior features signature Shelby gauges, fuel pressure gauge, original style wood steering wheel, Shelby vinyl seats, and five-point Simpon seat belts.

In 2008, this Shelby Cobra 427 was offered for sale at the Hilton Head Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by Worldwide Auctioneers. It had an estimated value of $165,000 - $195,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, bidding had failed to satisfy the reserve and the lot was left unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2008
Roadster
 
When health issues temporarily took Carroll Shelby off the race track, he began expanding his idea for a V-8 powered, aluminum-bodied race car. His resulting combination of the Ace roadster chassis-produced by Auto Carrier of England-and the new Ford 260 cubic-inch V-8 engine became the legend known as the Cobra.

By 1962, Shelby Cobras were entering the racing industry and a year later were beating the already-established Corvette Stingrays. By 1964, Shelby Cobras were finishing higher than Ferrari GTOs. In late-1964, a prototype Cobra powered by Ford's 427 cubic-inch, 500 horsepower, V-8 engine was built, debuting in January 1965 at Riverside international Raceway.

The 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 featured a new tubular coil spring chassis engineered by Ford designer Klaus Arning, but was still based on the Ace chassis. The body was modernized with flared arches-allowing for a wider track and larger tires-and a straight-bar grille replaced the honeycomb style.
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX 3006
 
High bid of £525,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Although Carroll Shelby's 289 Cobra was well proven in competition, by the mid-sixties it was becoming clear that something more was needed. Every year, more power was needed to stay competitive, and Ford's 289 had reached its reliability limit at around 380 or 390 horsepower.

In many respects, the father of the 427 Cobra was racing driver Ken Miles, who had driven many 'specials' – one off cars, usually wîth a big engine. Miles thought the idea of a racing special wîth an even bigger engine might work wîth the Cobra. If there was any doubt about the need, it was eliminated when the Shelby team went to Nassau for Speed Week in 1963 where they were confronted wîth Chevrolet's new Corvette Grand Sports, which were more than nine seconds a lap faster than the Cobras!

Although Shelby had been promised a new aluminium block version of Ford's 390 engine, internal resistance developed from the NASCAR faction inside Ford, and Shelby was forced to make do wîth the cast iron 427. Although reliable at 500 horsepower, the engine was so much heavier that a complete redesign of the chassis was required to ensure that the car would handle properly. The result was a new chassis, five inches wider, wîth coil springs all around. With the help of Ford's engineering department, the necessary work was done, and the 427 Cobra was born.

As wîth all his cars, Shelby intended to see that they were winners on the track. In order to qualify as a production car under FIA rules for the GT class, manufacturers were required to produce a minimum of 100 examples. With Shelby's strong relationship wîth privateer racers, he was confident he could sell that many, and as a result, a competition spec version of the new 427 was developed.

Competition features included a wider body to accommodate wider wheels and tires, an oil cooler, side exhaust, external fuel filler, front jacking points, roll bar and a special 42-gallon fuel tank.

Anticipating FIA approval, Shelby placed an order wîth AC for 100 of these competition 427 Cobras. Each was finished in primer, wîth a black interior and air shipped to Shelby's facilities upon completion. Únfortunately, on 29 April, 1965 when the FIA inspectors arrived, they found just 51 cars completed and denied Shelby the homologation he needed. Oddly enough, the same fate befell Enzo Ferrari, and his 250 LM, which was intended to replace the GTO, was also denied approval. As a result, both archrivals were forced to return to last year's cars for the upcoming season.

Once Shelby knew the FIA was not going to allow the new 427 Cobra to compete in the GT class, he cancelled his order for the remaining competition cars, and AC began production of street cars immediately.

Meanwhile, in June of 1965, the FIA decided to juggle its classification system and a new class called 'Competition GT' was created, whereby the production requirement was lowered to 50 cars – coincidentally, one less than the number of 427 competition cars built at the time of the FIA inspection.

The rule change created another problem for Shelby – it put his Cobra in the same class as Ford's GT40. Since Shelby was running the program for Ford, there was a clear conflict of interest. To resolve it, Shelby agreed not to campaign his own car, leaving it in the hands of the privateers.

By this time, 53 competition chassis had been completed by AC (chassis number CSX3001 through CSX3053), and of those, 16 had been sold to private teams. The first two were retained as prototypes, and one chassis (CSX3027) was sent to Ford
Engineering.

The remaining 34 chassis were something of a problem for Shelby. Parked outside Shelby's L.A. warehouse, they were proving difficult to sell. Seeing the cars prompted Shelby's East Coast representative, Charles Beidler, to suggest that they be painted and completed as street cars and marketed as the fastest street car ever built. The idea worked, and the 427 S/C (for semi-competition) was born. While the cars were being converted for street use, three more orders were received for full competition cars, for a total of 19 'production' full competition cars.

CSX 3006

The Shelby Cobra offered, chassis CSX 3006, is one of the aforementioned chassis sold to private teams. According to the Shelby American World Registry, it was billed to Shelby American on 31 December, 1964. The work order was opened on 25th January to build CSX3006 for William G. Freeman of Muncie, Indiana. Úpon Freeman's request, the car was finished in metallic blue, slightly lighter than the team cars, and had gold stripes. It was invoiced to Hi-Performance Motors of Los Angeles wîth a cost of $9,600, plus $24.86 for a shoulder harness.

Freeman picked the car up at the dealership, and, according to period photos, it was devoid of a Cobra emblem on the nose and was fitted wîth FIA Halibrand wheels – 6.5 inches wide in front and 8.5 inches in back. The car competed in two races before it was offered for sale in May 1965, as Freeman was offered a racing contract in Europe. Freeman did not sell the car, however, and instead took it wîth him to France, where it remained in storage, as evidenced by another advertisement in the Competition Press later that year.

Últimately, an Air Force Captain from Dayton, Ohio purchased the car from Freeman as he was in France at the time. This Captain in turn sold the car to the Chequered Flag of London, England in the summer of 1966. After arriving in England, the car was converted to right-hand drive and refinished in Wimbledon White wîth a gloss black hood and cowl, before competing in several races that year, including Goodwood (May 1966) and Zeltweg, Austria (October 1966).

BRANDS HATCH, 1966

Its biggest success, however, was a win at Brands Hatch in the Ilford 500 (May 1966), driven by co-drivers David Piper and Bob Bondurant. Much like the car itself, the Piper-Bondurant racing duo represented the finest racing talent from England and America. David Piper, who was in his mid-thirties at the time, had already competed in Formula 1 for two seasons and was a veteran sports car driver. Bob Bondurant, whose name has since been associated wîth the eponymous racing school, had started his racing career a decade earlier and in 1963 joined Shelby's Cobra team, securing the GT class win at Le Mans. By 1966, he was an internationally recognised racing driver and had served as technical consultant on the epic famed Formula 1 motion picture Grand Prix, directed by John Frankenheimer and starring James Garner. In 1966, the same year he drove this Cobra at Brands Hatch, he also started numerous Grands Prix and finished fourth at Monaco.

According to the June 1966 issue of Motorsport Magazine, the Ilford 500 started in a 'torrential downpour' at 2:10 p.m. after a supporting 15-lap Formula 3 race, which Piers Courage won in a Lotus-Ford. Given the inclement weather, the sports car race was limited to 500 miles or six hours, whichever was shorter, and the rolling start was changed to the traditional standing start. Entries that day included everything from the big block Cobra to a Ford GT40 and a Jaguar E-Type. Innes Ireland took the lead at the start wîth his GT40 and held it for twelve laps, before spinning at Stirling's Bend. J. Oliver in his E-Type took the lead and staved off the competition until lap 85, when he was replaced by K. Baker, who spun off as well. CSX 3006 eventually took the lead and held it until the end. As David Piper remarked in a recent interview wîth RM Auctions, 'CSX 3006 was extremely well prepared for the race by Graham Warner and the team at Chequered Flag…the Cobras were very reliable cars.'

In fact, Chequered Flag had entered another big block Cobra that day, a coupé driven by Chris Irwin and Roy Pike, which retired after engine trouble on lap 95. Although the terrible weather conditions had evened the field somewhat, Bondurant and Piper were able to harness their big block behemoth in the turns, winning outright wîth Peter Sutcliffe's GT40 in second place.

Reflecting on this race, Piper continued, 'The seven-litre Cobra was prodigiously quick, especially in a straight line and quite a handful on the bends in the wet which this race was. I'm quite sure this was the first time I ever drove a seven-litre Cobra.' The winning team was awarded a lovely silver plate as well as a set of engraved glasses. Mr. Piper had this trophy proudly displayed on the wall in his English house until it was stolen from his home, only to be rediscovered by his wife in an antiques shop. The dealer gave it to her as a gift after hearing of its theft!

SÚBSEQÚENT HISTORY

The car returned to Brands Hatch in August, driven by Chris Irwin, but by this time it had been sold by Chequered Flag to Edwin Butterworth who, according to the Shelby Registry, stored the car at a friend's house to prevent his parents from discovering it. It is believed the car's number plate at this time was 'NAN 658D' and was later changed to 'LOV 1.' While in Butterworth's ownership, the car was only raced twice before it was acquired in 1973 by garage owner John Carden of England. Carden offered it for sale in 1977, mistakenly identifying it as CSX 3001. Nevertheless, the car was purchased once more by Chequered Flag and sold to Michael Shoen of Phoenix, Arizona. By 1985, the car was offered for sale once more, having been restored by Geoff Howard of Accurate Restorations, who returned the car to left-hand drive configuration.

It changed hands several times in the Ú.S. thereafter and was acquired by David Livingston of Seattle, Washington in 1990. Livingston had the car race-prepped by marque specialists Dralle Engineering of California and fared well in vintage racing, finishing first overall in class 8 at Palm Springs that year. It was repainted Guardsman Blue a year later, and cooling vents, which were cut into the hood in the sixties, were re-installed. An appearance followed at SAC-17 in 1992. By the late 1990s, the car was being enjoyed as a fair weather driver by an enthusiast based in New Orleans. A mechanical restoration was conducted by Dralle in 2001 and included a balanced and blueprinted engine rebuild, fresh clutch and hydraulics, as well as attention to the transmission, suspension and brakes. A fresh interior was installed in 2002 before the car was sold the following year to its current owner.

Following its acquisition by this enthusiast, it was sent to renowned restoration facility Legendary Motorcar in Canada and rebuilt to its 1966 race specification, as it was when Bob Bondurant and David Piper got behind the wheel and hammered the competition 427 side-oiler around the turns in the wet at Brands Hatch. In fact, the car's restoration was even featured on the television series Dream Car Garage, of which tapes will be sent directly to the new owner by the vendor. It was converted once more to right-hand drive and was painted white wîth a gloss black hood and black side pipes, roll bar and quick-jacks, precisely the way it appeared in its Chequered Flag days. Driven only about 100 miles since its restoration, the car is in perfect working order and ready for a host of different vintage racing events.

With very low production numbers, authentic competition Cobras seldom change hands. This example, wîth its race-winning history and provenance that includes such great names as David Piper and Bob Bondurant, is certainly one of the best examples of Carroll Shelby's greatest legacy – the pavement-pounding big block Cobra.

'The seven-litre Cobra was prodigiously quick, especially in a straight line and quite a handful on the bends in the wet which this race was. I'm quite sure this was the first time I ever drove a seven-litre Cobra.'
-David Piper

Source - RM Auctions
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX 3021
 
Sold for $1,028,500 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
This car, CSX 3021, is one of only two Cobras ever finished in Hertz Gold. It was finished in March 1965, but Shelby-American was unable to find a buyer right away. in August of 1966, this Cobra was ordered by Dick Walters Ford. This 427 S/C was put on display in his showroom, where it stayed for some time. In 1967, a deal was struck between J.D. Ball Ford, Dick Walters Ford and Bill Turner, whereby Mr. Turner would trade in his 1966 Pontiac GTO Factory Lightweight as a partial exchange for the Cobra. The S/C cost $9,500.

The car is the only 427 S/C in the hands of its original owner and an extraordinary original documented example. Power is from a 427 cubic-inch overhead valve V8 engine fitted with dual 4-barrel Holly carburetors. The engine is capable of producing over 500 horsepower. There is a four-speed top-loader manual gearbox, four-wheel Girling disc brakes, and four-wheel adjustable independent suspension with coil springs and tubular shock absorbers. The car has its original invoice from J.D. Ball Ford, old vehicle registrations, the checkbook used to pay the 48 installments, the original 1967 Florida title and letters from Shelby American addressed to this Cobra's one and only owner, Mr. William Turner.

In 2010, this car was offered for sale at Gooding & Company's Scottsdale Auction in Arizona. The 175car was estimated to sell for $1,800,000 - $2,500,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $1,028,500, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2010
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX2202
 
This Cobra CSX 2201 was the 202nd 289 Cobra built. It was shipped in what many enthusiasts consider the most beautiful Cobra color combination - Princess Blue with red leather interior. The original price was $5,483. Early in the car's life, it was stolen off the streets of San Francisco and found by police on week later minus its engine and transmission. Later, it was modified with fender flairs. When purchased by the current owner in 2008, it was painted red with black interior. It has since been completely restored with correct date-code 271 horsepower, High Performance 289 engine and proper aluminum case T-10 transmission. Also, the flared fenders were reworked to their original configuration by an aluminum craftsman and painted in the beautiful Princess Blue by ESP Motorcars in Salisbury, NC. It recently completed trouble-free in the 1,000 miles Cobra 1000 Tour through Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX3133
 
Carroll Shelby had approached several car makers in his bid to find a suitable chassis for his V8 powered vision, and found it in AC's Ace. After talking with Dave Evans, head of Ford's NASCAR racing program, Shelby had found a suitable engine. Evans was able to offer the new 260 cubic-inch V8 which was introduced in the 1961 Fairlane. With chassis and engine now securely in hand, the Cobra would soon be born. It was introduced in 1962.

This example is the pinnacle of the Cobra line with its incredibly powerful 427cid V8 engine. In this guise, the Cobra MK III produces 425 horsepower which brings 60 mph up in just 5.1 seconds and can attain a top speed of 146 mph.

This 427 Cobra was an 800-mile independent competition car which was undamaged and needing only a minor cosmetic restoration since it was last raced in 1967. After 39 years and 6,000 man-hours, this is the result. Every panel, chassis component and associated parts are the ones that came on this car from the factory. The engine originally built by Holman-Moody in 1964 for NASCAR competition, was converted for use in the Ford GT40 Mark II program. It is equipped with complete experimental lightweight components including one of 4 dry sump oiling systems, and one of 3 remaining sets of 58mm IDA Weber carburetors. The original Goodyear race tires were stored in vacuum-packed, climate-controlled darkness for 45 years. No component of this car was manufactured after 1967. This car was disassembled and the parts were then cleaned and detailed and then methodically reassembled by the current owner over the past 39 years. The goal was mechanical perfection cloaked in period correctness.
Competition Prototype Coupe
Chassis Num: CSX 3002
 
This is the first Cobra 427 chassis, chassis number CSX3002, shipped from the AC factory to Carroll Shelby in December of 1964. Shelby planned to race these more powerful 427 competition cars in the GT racing class, but when only 51 chassis were completed by the start of the 1965 season, FIA deemed the car a prototype and this example became the only Shelby team car raced in USRRC and SCCA events; the remaining 427s were run by private teams. This car was driven by all the great Cobra drivers, including Phil Hill, Ken Miles and Bob Bondurant, and was later used as a camera car for the Elvis Presley film Spinout.
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX3014
 
Sold for $1,485,000 at 2012 RM Auctions.
Rules under FIA GT class competition stated that a minimum of 100 examples needed to be produced prior to acceptance in racing. Carroll Shelby, with his strong relationship with privateer racers, felt confident he could sell that many. As a result, a competition spec version of the new 427 was developed.

The competition Cobras were given several differences that set them apart from the standard street machine. This included a wider body to accommodate the wider Halibrand wheels and Goodyear racing tires over the larger rear rots with heavy-duty front and rear calipers, bronze suspension bushings, an external fuel filler, Stewart-Warner 'Booster' fuel pump, a special 42-gallon fuel tank, as well as the front and rear jacking points and roll bar. Under the hood, the engine was given magnesium intake manifolds, aluminum cylinder heads, an oil cooler, rear differential cooler, and unbaffled side exhaust.

Shelby boldly placed an order with AC for 100 of these competition 427 Cobras. Each was finished in primer, with a black interior, and air shipped to Shelby's facilities upon completion. When the FIA inspectors arrived on April 29th of 1965, just 51 cars were completed. Shelby was denied the homologation that he was needed.

Once Shelby was certain that the 427 Cobra was not going to be allowed in the GT class, he cancelled his order for the remaining competition cars, and AC began production of the street cars immediately.

In June of 1965, the FIA decided to create a new class called 'Competition GT', and the production requirement was lowered to 50. This solved a problem, but created a new one. The Shelby Cobra was now in the same class as Ford's GT40. Since Shelby was running the program for Ford, there was a clear conflict of interest. Shelby resolved the issue by agreeing not to campaign his own car, leaving it in the hands of the privateers.

By this point in history, 53 competition chassis had been completed by AC (chassis number CSX3001 through CSX3053). Of those, 16 had been sold to private teams. The first two were retained as prototypes, and one chassis (CSX3027) was sent to Ford Engineering. The remaining 34 sat parked outside Shelby's L.A. warehouse. Charles Beidler, the east coast representative, suggested the cars be painted and completed as street cars and marketed as the fastest street cars ever built. Thus, the 427 S/C 9for semi-competition) was born.

While the cars were being converted for street use, three more orders were received for full competition cars, for a total of just 19 'production,' full-competition cars.

CSX3014 was invoiced to Shelby American on January 20th of 1965. It was originally ordered by Neil Eric Allen, though he never took delivery. Instead the car (completed on September 8th) was sold to Ford Advanced Vehicles in England. This chassis, along with CSX3015 and a pair of GT-350 R models, were shipped to England for promotional purposes.

CSX3014 was finished in white and rented to MGM British Studios during the early part of 1966. It was used in the movie, Grand Prix, starring James Garner and directed by John Frankenheimer. It is believed the car was used as a camera car. After filming, the car was repainted by AC and shown at the London Motor show, where it was exhibited with white side exhaust and Halibrand wheels. After the show, the car returned to Shelby American and delivered to S&C Motors in San Francisco, who sold it to Robert Cooper, of Palo Alto, California. Cooper raced the car, with Dick Terrell driving. When he purchased the car, it was white with a blue stripe, although he repainted the car black with a white stripe. Terrell drove the car throughout the 1968 season, winning the SCCA regional championship that year, securing victories from Laguna Seca to Willow Springs. Terrell and Bob Brown bought the car from Cooper and raced it throughout the 1969 season, with wins at Sears Point and Laguna Seca, among other successful finishes.

The car was later sold in the late 1960s to a medical student; his mother paid for the car. They warned him against driving the car home because of the open exhaust, but he set out anyway, only to be turned back at the Arizona border. The next owner of record, in the mid-1970s, was Corona DelMar, California resident Sam Johnson. It remained with him until the late 1970s, when he sold it, now restored, to Nick Braemer, of Torrance, California. Braemer rebuilt the engine and sold it to Randy Minch in 1980, who undertook a more comprehensive restoration and re-finishing the car in red.

Larry Bowman, purchased the Cobra in 1999. A mechanical restoration soon followed to prepare the car for track use. He participated in the 2003 Monterey Historics and also at the 2003 Coronado Festival of Speed. The current owner acquired the car in 2004.

The 427 cubic-inch overhead valve V-8 engine is estimated to produce 600 horsepower. There is a four-speed manual transmission and four-wheel disc brakes.

In 2012, this car was offered for sale at RM Auctions Monterey, California sale. It was estimated to sell for $1,500,000 - $1,800,000. As bidding came to a close, the car was sold for the sum of $1,485,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX2196
 
It all began quietly enough. Back in 1903 Weller of Britain began building utilitarian three -wheeled delivery vehicles with little fanfare. Soon they became Auto Carrier, Ltd. and eventually AC Cars Group, Ltd. One thing led to another and in 1953 AC introduced the Ace as a two -seat sports coupe.

Carroll Shelby was a driver before he was a car builder: talented, successful, and a winner on the world's elite circuits. Driving Allards brought fame; hot-shoeing Aston Martins brought the glory as the 1959 24 Hours of LeMans winner. Poor health ended his driving career and he became a builder; he wanted a car that would 'outrun Corvettes and Ferraris.' Soon, with an AC chassis and Ford V8, the AC Cobra was born.

CSX2196 'Fliptop Cobra' is the first 'big block' Cobra. Shelby American's Ken Miles stuffed a 427 engine into the 289 chassis to beat Chevrolet's Grand Sport Corvette. Fitted with an innovative lightweight 'flip' top in the front and rear of the car, this experimental Shelby led to the development of the 427 Competition Cobra.

This car, #CSX2196, is the only 427 prototype ever built. In late 1963 the Shelby American crew in Venice, CA, began the arduous process of stuffing a race-ready 427 into its engine bay. Many custom modifications were made; the chassis was stiffened, brakes upgraded, flares, headers and a one-piece flip -up nose were added.

The 1,800 pound race car was sent to Sebring in March of 1964 for a shakedown race and quickly crashed into the only tree in sight during practice. It didn't finish that weekend's race but showed enough potential to be rebuilt and raced again. It raced one more time and was then retired and eventually sold for $2,800. It has gone through numerous owners and has been actively vintage-raced in recent years.
Roadster
Chassis Num: CSX 3017
 
Chassis number CSX 3017 is an extremely rare factory-built competition 427 Cobra that was once owned by John Moores, majority owner of the San Diego Padres. This big block cobra has competed at the Historic Races in Monterey for many years.
S/C Replica
Chassis Num: CSX 3198R
 
This 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C was first sold a Japanese buyer who was under the impression he was buying a real and original Shelby Cobra. The seller had stamped a fake CSX number onto the vehicle. It was not until the vehicle was shown that the owner was informed that he had purchased a fake. The value of the vehicle dropped by about 80% of what was paid. In all respects, the vehicle is as close to the original as possible. It is outfitted with a Ford FE big-block engine and a top-loader four-speed manual gearbox. It has an independent front and rear suspension with four-wheel disc brakes. It is finished in British Racing Green with a black leather interior.

It was offered for sale at the 2006 RM Auction in Monterey, Ca where it was estimated to sell between $50,000-$60,000. This is a far cry from what an original would sell for and provides enthusiasts the opportunity for owning a vehicle that is very close to the original. It was offered without reserve and bidding only reached $41,250. The lot was sold with the new owner getting a bargain.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2009
The formula for the success of the Cobra came through a man named Carroll Shelby adapting a powerful Ford engine into a nimble, British sports car.

A.C. Cars of Thames Ditton in Surrey, England had been producing the Ace since 1954. It was designed by John Tojeiro and featured an independent suspension by transverse leaf springs. The tubular frame body of the vehicle took its styling cues from Ferrari. The original engine used in the Ace was a 1991 cc, over-head-cam engine designed by John Weller, the founder of AC, in the 1920s. In 1956, an optional Bristol engine became available. This was a BMW derived, 1971 cc six-cylinder engine that was capable of producing 125 horsepower. With the Bristol engine, the Ace captured many victories on the race tracks around the world. It even won the SCCA Class E championship three years in a row.

In 1959, Bristol ceased its six-cylinder engine production. When Bristol stopped supplying A.C. with the engine, the production of the Ace ceased. Carroll Shelby quickly negotiated a deal where A.C. would supply him with the chassis. Now all Shelby needed was an appropriate engine. In 1961, Ford introduced the 221 cubic-inch small block engine. This was a new lightweight, thin wall-cast, V8 engine that produced 164 horsepower. Shelby approached Ford about the use of the engine for the 2-seat sports car. Ford agrees.

In February of 1962, a 260 HiPo engine and Borg-Warner four-speed manual gearbox was fitted into the aluminum-bodied Cobras. The AC Shelby Ford Cobra was complete.

In April of 1962, the first Cobra with chassis CSX 2000 was painted yellow and shipped to the New York Auto Show where it appeared on the Ford display. The vehicle was an instant success and attracted much attention. Orders came faster than Shelby could build. The prototype CSX 2000 was continuously being repainted for magazine reviews. The purpose was to create an illusion that more Cobras existed.

In 1963 the engine size increased to 289 cubic-inches. Rack-and-pinion steering was added to the vehicle.

Two Cobras were entered into the grueling 24-Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Carroll Shelby himself drove one of the vehicles. Ford had refused to provide an engine so Shelby, with the help of A.C. cars and Ed Hugus, prepare the cars. One of the Cobras managed to capture a seventh place finish, a major accomplishment.

Dan Gurney became the first American driver to win an FIA race in an American car when he won the Bridgehampton 500KM race in September of 1963 while driving a Cobra.

In 1964, the Cobra returned to LeMans where it finished fourth overall and first in the GT class.

Near the end of 1964, the Cobra 427 was unveiled to the press. If featured a new tubular, aluminum body, coil spring chassis, and a 427 cubic-inch, 425 horsepower engine. The car was able to go from zero to 100 mph and back to zero in less than 14 seconds.

In 1967, the last 427 Cobra was built and in 1968, the last 427 Cobra was sold by Carroll Shelby.

Ford had shifted their resources to the new GT40 and modified Mustang programs. In 1966, three GT-40 Mark II's crossed the finish line at Le Mans capturing first, second, and third.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2010
For more information and related vehicles, click here

SHELBY AMERICAN COMMEMORATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY FIA COBRA WITH SPECIAL EDITION CAR
• Iconic Shelby FIA Cobra to be Celebrated
Scottsdale, Ariz. – Jan. 17, 2014 – In 1964, Shelby American, today a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI:PK) introduced the FIA version of the small block Cobra, which competed in the 1964 World Manufacturers Championship series against marques like Aston Martin, Jaguar and Corvette. To celebrate the birth of the 289 Ford powered roadsters, Shelby American will offer 50 limited edition continuation (CSX70...[Read more...]
RRDC VOTES IN 37 NEW MEMBERS FOR 2013
 HILLIARD, Ohio (Nov. 7, 2013) - Thirty-seven race-car drivers and motorsports professionals have been voted into the Road Racing Drivers Club in 2013. The group includes 13 Regular Members from the open-wheel and sports-car racing ranks, 20 Associate Members and four Honorary Members. The current roster of RRDC members now numbers 440. Voting was held among all current RRDC members. 'This year's crop of new Regular Members truly represents the spirit of the RRDC, as each driver has de...[Read more...]
RK MOTORS COLLECTOR CAR AUCTIONS REGISTERS $9.5 MILLION IN SALES, HAMMER COMES DOWN ON MORE THAN 100 CARS
 Charlotte, N.C. (November 4, 2013) — Spanning two days, two continents and real-time bidding from a global audience, this weekend's RK Motors Collector Car Auction saw the hammer come down on 104 investment-grade racers, rare muscle cars and European classics, generating nearly $9.5 million in total sales. Headquartered at the Charlotte Convention Center, the event was highlighted by the debut of an industry-first remote auction hub at Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel on Saturday. Dur...[Read more...]
Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival Celebrates Corvette'S 60 Years At Sonoma Raceway
• Fast cars, fine food and wine highlight May 18-19 weekend
• Paul Reinhart is honored guest, popular racing seminar scheduled for second year
SONOMA, Calif. (April 27, 2013) - The Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival returns to Sonoma Raceway on May 18-19 for the fourth straight year under that title. The program for the 27th annual historic-car event organized by General Racing Ltd. in Sonoma will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the popular Corvette, created by the ...[Read more...]
Carroll Shelby, Ford Family for More Than Half a Century
Carroll Shelby was a member of the Ford family for the better part of 60 years, producing stunning performance vehicles from concepts to production models. He once said his energy and passion for performance products were always strongest when he was working with Ford. Shelby most recently collaborated with the company on the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, the most powerful production V8 in the world. Working with SVT engineers at Sebring and the Arizona Proving Grounds, at times he drov...[Read more...]
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1966 Cobra 427 Image Right
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