1965 Shelby Cobra 289 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Chassis Num: CSX 2421
Engine Num: PA 5044
Sold for $990,000 at 2014 RM Auctions.
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.

'Lot No. 179: 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra', (http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=1065181). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/lots/lot.cfm?lot_id=1065181. Retrieved 10 February 2014.

'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
Chassis Num: CSX2538
Engine Num: 00041
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 September 15th of 1964 to the United States aboard the SS Diemerdyk. It was sent to Shelby American Inc. in Los Angeles. Upon arrival at Shelby's workshop, the car was transformed from a partially assembled AC sports car into a proper 289 Cobra. This leaf-spring Cobra was originally equipped with several noteworthy, late-production features such as rack-and-pinion steering, Ford electronics with an alternator, and American-made Stewart Warner instruments. It was also given the optional twin four-barrel carburetor. It left Shelby American Inc. finished in red paintwork with black upholstery. It was also given a generous selection of Class A accessories including white sidewall tires fitted to chrome-plated wheels and a luggage rack.

The car was invoiced to Ray Hunt Ford in Daytona Beach, Florida on January 11th of 1965 at a cost of $5879.05. It was delivered by a Holman and Moody transporter, it arrived in Florida and was sold in early March to its first owner, Andrew Kreider II of Lake Worth for $7,024.87. During Mr. Kreider's ownership, the Cobra accumulated 1,423 miles on the odometer before returning to Ray Hunt Ford where a new windshield was installed due to pitting. A short time later, Mr. Kreider parted with the Cobra.

The car was offered for sale at Hardy-McNeil Motors in Pensacola, Florida and in June of 1966 was purchased by Richard E. Parker of San Diego, California for $5865.21. Mr. Parker was eventually sent off to Vietnam and the Cobra became Mrs. Parker's driver. Now outfitted with sidepipes, the Cobra accumulated numerous invoices from the Parker's ownership, a testament to the fastidious care for the small sports car. By 1968, after a bump in the right rear fender, the car was reportedly repainted in Firebird metallic green. In 1969, it was offered for sale, and on an unfortunate test drive, the car slid into a curb. The minor incident necessitated the repair of the front right suspension. The car was later purchased by the son of a Phoenix, Arizona, Ford and Mercury dealer in June of 1969.

In the early 1970s, Don Roberts reported that the car was in Mesa, Arizona, in a somewhat disassembled state, having been sold to the then-owner of American Fiberglass. Near the close of the decade, the car was sold to Jim Southward of Marietta, Georgia, who returned the car to its original livery of red with black on chrome wheels.

Buz Benson of Naples, Florida became the car's next owner. In early 1979, the car was offered for sale with The Loft of Naples, recording 78,400 miles on the odometer at an asking price of $36,000. It was soon purchased by John C. Fergus of Columbus, Ohio, who had the car road-registered with the Ohio license plate 'Cobra.' It would remain with Mr. Fergus for 29 years, spending part of that time in long-term storage. It emerged from a dormant state in 2008 before changing hands a number of times, eventually ending up with Peter Schick of St. Louis, Missouri.

The current owner acquired the car in 2011.

This car is one of only 453 street 289 Cobras.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2013
Chassis Num: CSX 2494
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 right for the Shelby Cobras. This is CSX2494, wearing racing number 97, which made its debut late in the 1964 season, winning at Mid-Ohio with Bob Johnson driving. The car raced twice more that season, then ran the full 1965 season, posting four GT-class victories, all with Johnson at the wheel.
Carroll Shelby's accomplishments as a race driver include breaking land speed records at Bonneville in 1954 for Austin Healey and winning the 24-Hours of LeMans in 1959. As a team manager, Carroll was a part of the FIA World Grand Touring Championship as well as Ford GT Victories at LeMans.

In 1960, Carroll got out of the driver's seat and turned his attention to design. The result of this vision was what is considered perhaps the greatest sports car and one of the fastest road cars ever constructed - the Shelby Cobra. The aluminum-bodied 289 and 427 Cobra models made Carroll Shelby a household name in the 1960s.

This automobile has been club raced since new. It is fully restored.
Chassis Num: CSX 6057
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 Roda, Spain, but the exact location had not been known for decades. The current owner found the car in original condition and purchased the car from Mr. Kenneth Crawford of Richmond Hill, GA, in May of 2004. Mr. Crawford owned the car for 35 years. The car was restored to its original color combination in seven months.

A Ford 289 V-8 engine developing 271 horsepower for the street version or 325 horsepower for the track version, capable of top speeds of 135 mph and 150 mph, respectively, powers the Cobra. The car is capable of zero to 100 mph in 10.6 seconds. The chassis consists of independent front and rear transverse-leaf suspension; Girling disc brakes; wire wheels; weighs 2,100 pounds and sold for $5,995 in 1963-1964.

Between 1963 and 1965, Cobras racked up 17 GT victories and established 42 international records. In 1965, the Cobra 289 won the world GT championship.
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.

Only 654 289's were built with a number of them being written off for racing or hard use over the years. The first 75 cars had the 260 cubic-inch engine installed and later small block cars had the 289 cubic-inch engine with 271 horsepower installed or you could order an optional engine with 380 horsepower.

The current owner is the second owner of the car having purchased it in 1974. It has just over 39,000 miles on the odometer. The car is equipped with the rare dealer installed hard top and radio delete and no heater.
Chassis Num: CSX2452
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.

Because of the tremendous racing success Shelby had with these cars, they were an immediate hit; even Steve McQueen ordered one. Cobras sold for less than $6,000 new; in total, there were about 500 289 Cobras made from 1963 to 1965.

Shelby Cobra CSX 2452 has been restored to its original color with chrome wires and a hardtop by Precision AR of Newburyport, MA. This car was originally purchased by Dan Gerber of Gerber baby food. Mr. Gerber has enjoyed a widely varied career including professional race car driver, auto dealer, high school teacher, editor, journalist and award-winning American non-fiction author and poet.
Chassis Num: CSX 2254
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 car. It was actually delivered in December of 1963 as a 1964 model year and was leased for one year. It appeared in two films, 'Viva Las Vegas' (Elvis Presley and Ann Margaret) and 'The Killers' (Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson.

The car was returned to Shelby and repainted in its original colors (it had been painted white for the movies.)
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-inches and the Mark II was born, of which 528 were built. Its current owner bought this car in 2000 with 29,800 miles on it.
Chassis Num: CSX2522
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 sports car competitive games.' Listing at a hefty $6,995, the Slalom Snake came with front and rear anti-roll bars, Koni shock absorbers, magnesium wheels, high performance Blue streak Goodyear tires, competition roll-bar, air scoops for the brakes and ahood scoop for the carburetor. They also had the bumper bars deleted, side exhausts and a 1964 Chevrolet SS badge attached to the boot lid.

Two cars were invoiced by Shelby American as 'Slalom Specials,' CSX2522 the prototype and CSX2537. Hired as a 'Kelly Girl,' Helen Green worked at Shelby American in the high performance parts department. She and her husband Chuck Green were active auto-crossers with their 1964 Stingray. Shelby became aware of the success they had been experiencing and managed to meet Chuck and hire him to manage the aftermarket parts department. He was then offered CSX2522 to autocross and promote the Slalom Snake. This he and Helen did with much success. Chuck was the father of the Cobra Owners Club and organized many competition, rally and touring events. Helen was extremely active as well, running a driving school at SA for women and competing in the cobra as well. Many times Chuck and Helen shared Top time of the day for men and women at autocrosses from Los Angeles to Phoenix.

Chuck attacked a light pole at an event, damaging CSX2522 in the passenger side enough that Shelby told him to 'get his own car.' The autocross competitors were complaining of professionalism and sponsor ship, so perhaps it was best for Chuck and Helen to do just that. CSX2526 was purchased as a street car and Chuck then began modifying it to his standards. For two years he and Helen competed almost every weekend, winning hundreds of trophies. In 1967 they sold the car to Steve Schuler who still has the car to this day. While not a factory prepared SS, it is part of the Slalom Snake story.

The prototype was repaired and sold to Hayward Ford in San Francisco bay area on December 29th of 1964. Roy Miller, the Sales Manager drove it for a number of months as a commuter until it sold. It was owned by Rich Kotz of San Jose from 1967 to 1969 when purchased by Ron Tredway in December of 1969. Ron auto-crossed and drag raced the car until 1974 and it has been in restoration since.

CSX2537 Cobra was prepared for SCCA racing in the late 1960's and eventually became a vintage race car for the last 25 years. Sustaining damage at Steamboat in 1996 it was sold to Bill Murray of Murray Racing then purchased back by Patrick Hogan in 2001. During the next four years the car was painstakingly restored by Bill Murrary.
Chassis Num: CSX2387
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 Frost who raced it with the SCCA and recorded a 12.24 second e.t. at 111 mph, at a local drag strip. It became Metallic Blue, then Red, as it went to-and-fro from owner to owner, finally reaching the current owner in the late 1990s. The car is now Guardsman Blue, becoming something of a regular at the Cobra 1000 tours.
Chassis Num: CSX 2514
Engine Num: 055
For the 1964 and 1965 USRRC (United States Road Race of Champions) seasons, Carroll Shelby created six 289 race cars, which are reputed to have 440 to 450 bhp. To get that power to the ground, the once-svelte AC body was made much more aggressive - with wide fender flares that captured the imagination of race fans everywhere and became a feature on later 427s. This is one of the six USRRC 289s campaigned by the Carroll Shelby team. It is also one of only two of the USRRC Cobras built with dual side pipes on each side of the car.
Chassis Num: CSX 2356
Sold for $792,000 at 2012 RM Auctions.
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. It was sold by Hi-Performance Motors in Los Angeles, as a new 1965 model in May of that year. The first private owner was Flora L. Darling, who owned it until her death in 2012 at the age of 1981. The car had been with her for 47 years. After her husband died in 1987, Mrs. Darling never again drove the Cobra. It was put away in her garage under two car covers, where it remained. The car still retains its original California black plats in their original 'Hi Performance Motors' frames and numerous California registration slips, as well as the original FoMoCo Michigan registration. The car still has its original spare, jack and handle, mallet, grease gun, and two vinyl bags, one with miscellaneous tools, and side curtains for both the hard and soft tops. The Cobra was repainted in the 1970s, and the seats were re-upholstered at that time.

This Cobra has its original ignition key, hood latch T-handle key, and its etched 'Cobra' sun visors and wind wings are intact.

In 2012, this car was offered for sale at RM Auction's Monterey, CA sale. It was estimated to sell for $400,000 - $500,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $792,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2012
Chassis Num: CSX 2540

History of CSX 2587

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 accessories, including WSW tires and a luggage rack (uninstalled) ($280.00); a radio and antenna ($45.00); a hardtop ($169.00); side curtains ($77); 5 chrome wheels ($105); an automatic transmission ($173); antifreeze ($3.55); and freight ($310), for a total of $6,358.55. The car was delivered to MD via Shelby truck. Its first owner was Gaines Allen of Bricklaying, Inc. (Washington DC.), who purchased it from Archway in 5/65. The car came back in 7/65 for warranty repairs to the tachometer, heater core, radio, and apparently loose or defective lower engien mounts, which allowed the driveline to contact the body. Allen sold 2587 in 1967 to Sun Motors, from whom it was bought by Wendy Hobson (DC). A good friend, Dodge Olmsted (Arlington VA), installed a 289 engine and 4-speed transmission he had removed from the wrecked CSX 2348 in 6/68. In 1969 Hobson offered the car for sale: 'Cobra roadster 1965. Second from last 289 built. Original white paint has some minor dents, otherwise cherry. Always garaged, never raced, rallied or abused. $4800.'

Ron Brown (Laurel, MD) purchased the car, and advertised it in 1971: '1965 Cobra 289, pure Shelby. New paint on perfect body, low mileage, F60-15's, mechanically perfect. Never raced. $6,000 firm.' It was sold to Don Fechner (Madison, WI). Duane Lehnert (IL) was the car's next owner, and from him it was acquired by Bill Kemper (Barrington, IL) in 1975. Kemper restored the car, giving it new white paint, headers with side pipes, a finned aluminum oil pan and completion 289 heads. The car was advertised for sale in 12/75 at a price of $12,000. Mark Woodward (IL) bought 2587 and kept it until 1980, at which point he offered it for sale in the $40,000 range. The price was reduced to $32,000 by 9/80, and Bill Kemper repurchased it. In 1981-1982 the car again appeared in classifieds, for the 'best offer over $42K'. Kemper sold the Cobra to Quinton Dobbs (Atlanta, GA), who son, Wesley, came to Illinois to pick it up and drive it home. There is a street in Atlanta named after Dobbs.

In May of 1998 he put it up for auction with The Great Gatsbey's Auto Auction Co. The car was purchased by Sidney Tarwater of Northport, AL. Dr. Tarwater had it taken to Cobra Restorers of Crenshaw, GA., where he had a complete restoration done. He then sold the car to James Fillback of Montfort, WI., December of 2001.
Chassis Num: CSX 2540

The Honey West Cobra

CSX 2540 was loaned out by Shelby American in 1965 for use in the Honey West TV Detective Series starring Anne Francis.

The car was sold by Shelby American in 1966 as a 'used car' for $3900.

- Original Equipment-Restored to Original Specs and in Reserve
- 289 HP and Aluminum T-10 Transmission

- Current Equipment-Built-up Race Engine
- 425 HP 302 Cubic-inch with Bellanger 351 Headers and Aluminum Fly Wheel
Chassis Num: CSX 2610
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 specifications in the 1990s. It is believed to be the last 289 car built at the Surrey factory on the original A.C. Cobra Bucks.

COX #2610 is an aluminum bodied, leaf-spring FIA Roadster, finished in Cobra competition team colors (Viking Blue with a red racing nose stripe), with a black interior. It is powered by a Weber-carburetor 289 CID Ford engine, with a top-loader four-speed transmission.

COX #2610 was initially retained in England by A.C. Cars, Ltd., as a company display car, and was eventually acquired by Gabriel Diaz of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and imported into the U.S. in 2003. In 2005, the car was acquired by Archie Urciuoli of Casey Key, Florida.
Chassis Num: CSX2363
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 SCCA success in A-production, C-modified, and with USRRC, the car was put up for sale. It went to San Diego to autocross, then onto Los Angeles. After going to various west coast shows it was seen at SAAC-19 in Indianapolis, Indiana in July 1994, still set up as a competition car and painted Guardsman Blue over black.
Chassis Num: CSX2524
Engine Num: BP7777
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 arrangement.

On August 4th 1964 the car was invoiced to Shelby America and was shipped to Los Angeles, California, aboard the SS Loch Garth on August 19th 1964. During January of 1965, CSX2524 was loaned to the Yamaha International Corporation in Montebello, California, to be used in a Yamaha motorcycle advertisement. During Yamaha's use of the Cobra, it was involved in an accident. As a result of the incident, John H. G. Lake, the Shelby American Service and Warranty Manager wrote a letter to Mr. J. Jingu of the Yamaha Corporation, notifying him that Shelby was going to be repairing the car and billing Yamaha directly for the costs. Itemized on the estimate for body repairs were: replacement of the front section of both front fenders, the left door skin, the grille panel, the left tail-light assembly, front bumpers and headlamps, plus repairs to the rear section of the front fenders, left rocker panel, left door frame and hinge, lower deck panel and a complete repaint. Other repairs included replacement of the left front upper and lower A-arms, and all left side wheel bearings. On August 11th 1965, Yamaha was billed $1,200 for the repair expenses.

In August of 1965 the car was sold to Hi-Performance Motors, Inc., Shelby's retail outlet. The Cobra was purchased in 'as-is' condition for the sum of $4,200. Hi-Performance Motors, Inc. performed all of the necessary repairs to bring the Cobra back to its original condition with the addition of minor updates. During the repairs, it is believed that the car's square edged flares were rounded, in similar fashion to the 427 Cobra. During this time, it was decided to change the car's color to black.

The first known owner of this car was John S. Anderson of Mountain View, California, who had acquired the car by the mid-1970s. Motor Cars of Beverly Hills, California offered it for sale in 1979, and then shortly after it was advertised by Southwest Motorcar Company of Los Angeles, California. It is believed that a nearby Porsche dealer in Santa Monica, California became the car's next owner. In 1981 the Cobra was purchased by its third and longtime owners, Mr. and Mrs. Marks of Laguna Beach, California.

In July of 2004 Mr. Marks listed the Cobra for sale in Hemmings Magazine. From there, it was purchased by its current owner, a resident of Chicago, Illinois who purchased it sight unseen.

The new owner had the car professionally sorted. In 2010 a new convertible top was fitted.
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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