Roadster Chassis Num: CSX 2421 Engine Num: PA 5044
Sold for $990,000 at 2014 RM Sothebys. Reality television has caused many people to scour through their garages, attics and barns to find rare gems of history. Unfortunately, the majority of these searches produce nothing more than heirlooms priceless to the families themselves and rarely to the world at large. However, one such garage-find in Pennsylvania would yield a true treasure and a very intriguing, drama-filled story as well.
AC Cars would actually get its early beginnings around the turn of the 20th century. By the early 1920s, AC would have the first-ever car to cover 100 miles in an hour. This feat would be achieved at Brooklands in 1922 and would lead to AC's reputation expanding from then on.
Following the end of the Second World War, AC would design and build John Tojeiro's sportscar. This was a small, nimble design powered by a BMW-derived Bristol six-cylinder engine. And, while the car would be a respected competitor, the Bristol engine lacked the power of more modern engine designs.
The AC Ace had potential, but didn't have the heart under the hood to make it all that it could be. That is where Carroll Shelby comes into the picture. AC had a need, as did Shelby. Together, the two would make one unforgettable sports car.
Carroll Shelby was quite familiar with racing, both on the North American and European continent. The Texan had been a part of the Aston Martin team that competed at Le Mans in the late 1950s and was well aware of the small, lightweight sportscar designs being produced throughout the European continent. In the United States, Ford's main competition was the Corvette. Shelby was backed by Ford and they looked to him to build a competitor to GM's sportscar.
Shelby figured a lightweight European design was the best approach and he was quite familiar with AC's Ace design having driven one earlier in his career. He would remember AC simply because of the strength of the car he drove and its overall handling. Therefore, he would approach AC about packing their Ace with a small block Ford V8.
An agreement would be reached and AC would begin fitting the Ford V8 into their small Ace. Now called the Cobra, the tiny roadster was capable of some truly mind-boggling speeds and would actually be allegedly attributed with introducing the speed limit on British highways.
Shelby American would be formed and construction of the Shelby Cobra would begin. Immediately, the Shelby Cobra would be taken to the track and would prove successful straight-away. Initially, the first 75 of the Cobras would be powered by a 260 cubic inch engine. However, that would be replaced by a 289 V8. When prepared for the track, the 289 was capable of 370hp. The Cobra would absolutely destroy events filled with Corvettes, Jaguars, Porsches and other sportscars of the time. However, not all were prepared in race trim. Other examples of the hissing Cobras would be prepared for the street and private ownership.
Chassis CSX 2421 would be shipped to the United States in 1964 and would actually be listed to a Jerry Watson Ford of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Unfortunately, the car would quickly return to Los Angeles and Shelby's own dealership. Soon after it was sold.
The history of this car in the latter-part of the 1960s would be subject to speculation. However, what is known is that the Cobra would find its way to Pennsylvania in the early 1970s. It would be the property of Bill and Kathy Armstrong. The Armstrongs were car aficionados and often took to the road and events together, but in their own collector automobiles.
In the late 1970s, Mr. Armstrong would be called to serve overseas in the military. It would work out that his wife could join him. Therefore, the Cobra would be stored away while they were gone. The intention was the car would remain in storage until their return. The car would go into storage in 1978 and would remain there for decades to come.
The Cobra would remain virtually undiscovered for more than three decades until its current owner happened upon it. Ready for a return to the public eye CSX 2421 demonstrates a great deal of originality sporting matching numbers, original Stewart-Warner gauges, original top and side curtains.
Still bearing its original color, CSX 2421 remains one of the very few 'original' 289 Cobras and provides a very simple and elegant look at the early days of the Cobra legend. legend.
'1963 Shelby Cobra 289 News, Pictures, Specfications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z835/Shelby-Cobra-289.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z835/Shelby-Cobra-289.aspx. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
'A Brief History of AC Cars', (http://www.acownersclub.co.uk/ac_history.asp). AC Owners Club. http://www.acownersclub.co.uk/ac_history.asp. Retrieved 10 February 2014. By Jeremy McMullen
Sold for $781,000 at 2012 Russo & Steele. Sold for $852,500 at 2013 Gooding & Company. The small-block Cobra was built from 1962 through 1965 and achieved an enviable race record and proved instrumental to Ford Motor Company's dominance of international competition during the mid-1960s. This example was shipped from AC Cars Ltd. on Sep [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | May 2013
Carroll Shelby's Shelby American Company built several Shelby Cobras to race in the U.S. Road Racing Championship series (USRRC) in 1964 and 1965. This was the Sports Car Club of America's (SCCA) first professional series and the timing was just rig [Read More...]
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From 1962 through 1965, 579 Shelby-AC Cobra 289s were assembled in the U.S. In 1965, 15 left-hand drives, like this one, were built in Britain for sale in Europe. Shelby America Automobile Club records indicate #CSX 6057 was sold to Mr. D.N. Weir of [Read More...]
This is one of the legendary 289 Cobra's. It is characterized by simple design, lightweight and scarily fast. Many Cobra buffs consider the 289 option more desirable than the 427 because it was more lightweight and more nimble in handling. [Read More...]
By pairing a car chassis from the small British manufacturer AC with a small block 289 cubic-inch Ford engine, Carroll Shelby created one of the most recognizable sports car in the world, the Shelby Cobra. [Read More...]
The AC Cobra 289 with chassis number CSX2254 sports Weber carburetors, side exhaust pipes and Halibrand knock-off wheels. The odometer currently reads 5,800 miles, which is believed to be correct. The Cobra spent a portion of its life as an MGM movie [Read More...]
The partnership between the British AC Company and Carroll Shelby in Los Angeles began in 1962 when a 221 cubic-inch Ford V8 engine and oversized transmission were squeezed into an AC Ace Roadster. In 1963 the engine was upgraded to a 289 cubic-inche [Read More...]
The slalom Special or 'Slalom Snake' as it became known, was announced in a press release by Deke Houlgate on December 8th of 1964. As the Slalom Snake, it was promoted as a 'Cobra equipment for slalom, gymkhanas, autocrosses, time trials and other s [Read More...]
CSX2387, with Bright Blue paint and red interior, was invoiced on July 17th of 1964 to RBM of Atlanta, Georgia for $5,853.25. After an 'interesting' ownership history when it was 'mistaken' for another car, it was sold to Dubuque, IA doctor Jack Fros [Read More...]
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Sold for $792,000 at 2012 RM Sothebys. CSX 2356 was shipped to Detroit, Michigan as a factory demonstrator in 1964 and registered by the Ford Motor Company. Eight months later, and showing 3000 miles, it was virtually 'remanufactured' by Shelby American, including mostly new body panels. [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
White/black. Invoiced to Shelby America 10/12/64. Shipped to L.A. 10/23 aboard the 'SS Pacific Fortune'. 2587 was invoiced on 12/11/64 to Archway Motors (Baltimore, MD) as '1 Cobra-Ford, chassis #CSX2587, white/black' ($5,195.00); with Class A acc [Read More...]
COX #2610 is a 1965-model 289 FIA competition roadster, built by A.C. Cars, Ltd., at the company's Surrey, England, plant. Originally built as a 'COX' left-hand drive car for export to Europe, the car was re-bodied by the factory to FIA competition [Read More...]
This car was first sold to Dr. Jim Phillips of Las Vegas, Nevada, and was modified for SCCA racing. Phillips had loaned Carroll Shelby his Corvette for some early advertising, punch line, 'Stingray owners - tired of eating Cobra exhaust?' Following S [Read More...]
Sold for $880,000 at 2016 Bonhams. This 289 Cobra is a late-production example which left the factory finished in Wimbledon White with a red interior. Since it was a late-production example, it was fitted with Autolite electrics, Stewart-Warner gauges, and the rack-and-pinion steering [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2016
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
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