1962 Shelby Cobra news, pictures, specifications, and information
Sold for $13,750,000 at 2016 RM Auctions
This 1962 Shelby Cobra, chassis number CSX2000, is the first Cobra ever built, so is quite possibly the most valuable American sports car in the world. It was owned by Carroll Shelby since being built and is in remarkably original condition. The car still has its Ford 260 cubic-inch engine, interior and body. From the beginning Shelby used it in various magazine articles, and it was often repainted in order to fool everyone into thinking more cars had been built! Around 675 'small block' Cobras were built in the 1960s, each selling for around $5,995. Carroll Shelby had the sense to retain his Cobra intact.
In 1962, just ten years after Carroll Shelby got behind the wheel of a race car, CSX 2000 was created. Mr. Shelby has an interesting background; a Texas native who was raised without a car. His first race car was a MG TC and it was not long before he was winning race-after-race. His racing career was brief but brilliant. It lasted just seven years but during that time he won the 1959 LeMans 24-Hour race behind the wheel of an Aston martin. A year later, his racing career came to an end due to health warnings.
When one door closes, another one opens. Mr. Shelby knew what it took to build a great car and had spent years studying European GT racing.
At 37 years old and with little money to his name, Shelby created CSX 2000. Within five years, Shelby's company would employ over 500 people with a World Manufacturer's Championship title to its credit.
It all began with A.C. Cars of Britain and the Ford Motor Company. The Bristol motor powering the A.C. Ace was suddenly going out of production in 1961. In September of that year, Shelby wrote to Charles Hurlock at A.C. and proposed the concept. Not long thereafter, Ray Brock at Hot Rod magazine informed Shelby that Ford was developing a lightweight small-block V-8 of 221 cubic inches. With assistance from engineer Dave Evans at Ford in Dearborn, Shelby test-fitted the motor into a borrowed A.C. Ace. It fit, and things progressed quickly after that.
The very first Cobra (CSX 2000) arrived in the United States, without a motor, in February 1962. It was picked up at the Los Angeles airport by Carroll Shelby and his colleague Dean Moon and brought back to Moon's shop, where the now-available and larger-displacement 260 cubic-inch V8 engine with a Ford gearbox was fitted in a matter of hours.
Dave Evans in Dearborn arranged a meeting with Don Frey, Ford Division General Manager. A few handshakes later, the Ford Motor Company was officially bankrolling Shelby for the first group of cars.
CSX 2000 had been built on a very small budget. Along with testing it was also used for promotions and as a press car. It was shown in many publications, often appearing in a new paint scheme to give the illusion of a larger fleet of vehicles.
During test runs, it was found to have a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 13.8 seconds at 112 mph, and a top speed of 153 mph.
CSX 2000 was the only Cobra in existence for the first five months. Had the car been unable to endure the crueling testing or had it been writte off due to breakdown or accident, the legacy of the Cobra may have been much different.
289 Cobras would later be built and go on to have successful racing careers in the USRRC and SCCA Championships. It would also find success in FIA WOrld Sportscar Championship and race at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1965.
The 427 Cobras would also have tremendous success, winning the SCCA B-Production CHampionship.
Serial #CSX2001 is the first production Shelby Cobra built and among the initial 75 delivered to the dealers in 1962. It was delivered to and prepared by Ed Hugas in Pittsburgh. This car was originally fitted with a Ford-Zephyr straight six-cylinder engine, but was removed and shipped from AC Bristol to Venice, California where Shelby American dropped in a new 260 cubic-inch V8 and took the car for shake-down runs looking for Corvette owners to humiliate.
The Cobra was bought by Lloyd 'Lucky' Casner, Comoradi racing, to race at the 1964 Le Mans 24 Hours. With the smaller V8 it did not prove competitive in practice, so it never ran and Casner sold it to Jean-Marie Vincent in France. By then the new 289 FIA cars were out, it was updated with a 289 engine and a rather odd looking one-off hardtop, which has thankfully disappeared. The only Cobra to enter the Tour de France, this Cobra was a very successful race car with many first place wins.
The car was modified with a 289 cubic-inch engine and up-dated to full FIA standards by Ford Racing in France. From 1964 through 1966, the car was campaigned in Europe and racked-up many victories across the continent.
The Cobra remained in Europe until 2006, when it was bought by the current owner and returned to the United States. It was restored by Mike McCluskey in Torrance, California. The aluminum body, chassis and interior remain in their original, well preserved state.
High bid of $710,000 at 2013 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
When presenters speak of cars they will often speak of a car's aesthetics and features, but they will also likely mention whether or not a car has 'soul'. AC Cars had built a wonderful, aesthetically-pleasing roadster powered by a Bristol straight-6 engine. However, it wasn't until Carroll Shelby came along and squeezed a Ford V8 engine into the car did it really receive its soul. And it would be this combination of aesthetics and soul that would please and terrify enthusiasts from then on.
Shelby's purpose of challenging the might of Ferrari seemed to be heading in either a wrong direction or became sidetracked when he decided to approach AC Cars with his idea. AC Cars had certainly produced a lovely roadster but it was far and away anything but modern. But, the car was straight-forward in its design and approach and that certainly seemed the perfect match for the straight-talking Shelby.
Shelby had a vision of what the car could be. And what that vision actually became was one thrilling, and yet, awfully scary ride. But, for the racer, it was to be like a dream that only get better.
The first prototype chassis, CSX0001, would be completed in early 1962. It would become known as the Cobra and the legend would be born. Less than a thousand of these Cobras would be ever made. But, while less than a thousand would make every Cobra ever made very special and very valuable, there are still some more special than others. And, one of those more special than others Cobras will be offered at the 2013 RM Auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Chassis CSX2032 would appear to be like just one of the few 289 cu.in. V8-engined Cobras built in 1962. However, just one perusal of the car's well-known history and, all of a sudden, the car takes on a whole new life.
Billed to Shelby American by AC Cars in October of 1962, which was just a little more than a week after the Cobra's first race, CSX2032 would arrive for final production, and then, would be delivered to its owner.
Purchased on the 2nd of January, 1963, CSX2032 wouldn't just be purchased by some nameless individual. In fact, it would be just the opposite. Appearing on the car's original invoice is the name Lance Reventlow.
To the uninitiated, Reventlow would still not even raise an eyebrow. However, as the only son of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, his name now suddenly takes on a life all its own, just like the car he purchased in January of 1963.
Not in want for anything, Reventlow would be free to chase his passions, which, by the mid-1950s, included motor racing. He would get his start racing Formula 2 Coopers and would have his sights set on Formula One.
Surrounding himself with the best cars and the best teams, Reventlow would have an equally impressive list of friends in which he surrounded himself. He would even have a period in his life in which he would call the actor Cary Grant 'father'.
Like many racing drivers, the jet-setting, playboy lifestyle was routine for Reventlow. Dating models and associating with Hollywood elite, Reventlow would not struggle to find beautiful female companionship and would even marry the famed model/actress Jill St. John.
But for all of his playboy antics, Reventlow was also a very serious individual, especially when it came to racing. Although his time in Formula One would be worth forgetting, he would not let his passion for motorsports, or cars in general, ever wane. This would lead him to founding his Scarab racing concern. It would also lead him to purchase CSX2032.
Ironically, the purchase of CSX2032 would happen at his own garage. By 1962, Scarab had come to naught and the doors of the garage housing the team had been shuttered. However, he would then offer the building to Carroll Shelby, who had been located in Sante Fe Springs. Shelby would accept and would rent the building from Reventlow and would make the final preparations to Reventlow's own Cobra right there in his old factory.
It has been suggested the purchase of the Cobra by Reventlow had been a gesture of support for Shelby and his efforts to make his company go. However, the Cobra that would be delivered to Lance would be built with such unusual options that it was more than clear that it was all for him.
When delivered to Reventlow, the Cobra would be like no other. Given his racing background, Reventlow wasn't about to purchase a sedated model, if there even was a sedated model of the Cobra. Instead, he would have his Cobra based upon the competition Cobras, which meant the car would come with such updates as racing tires, a racing oil pan, an aluminum intake manifold, aluminum rocker covers, a roll bar, sway bars and even a competition ignition system. Therefore, in many ways, CSX2032 could have been considered an authentic team car.
However, since Reventlow had retired from motor racing, the car would not be a bare-bones Cobra. Instead, he would order a competition-inspired Cobra filled with such amenities and extras as one would expect from an owner looking for a grand tourer. When completed and delivered, the car would come complete with front and rear bumper guards, a sun visor, wind wings and even a chromed air cleaner. This was a car complete with performance and comfort.
In time, Reventlow would sell the Cobra. Then, it would appear on the showroom floor of SCU Lotus Central Foreign Cars in Michigan. Don Burgess would be next to own the Cobra. He would come to own the car in the early 1970s. Then, in 1974, the cars would change hands again. This time, Bill Kemper of Barrington, Illinois would own it. Kemper's ownership of the car would be brief, for by the end of the following year the car would be off to its next owner. However, the car would be on its way having had a number of authentic upgrades added to it, including a 289 cu.in. 'Hi-Po' engine.
Ron Ressman, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, would be the car's next owner. It would be during Ressman's period of ownership that CSX2032 would undergo its first restoration. This work would commence in 1978 and would be completed by Bill Murray of Longmont, Colorado.
Murray would take car of the Cobra's mechanical components but would also install a number of changes, including six-inch painted wire wheels, side pipe exhausts and side vents. Murray would also refinish the car in black, the same that graces the car to this very day.
Ownership would continue to change. Bill Hansen, Joe Rodman Jr. and John Prokell would all own the Cobra for a period of time. Then, in late-1993, CSX2032 would be offered for sale in Princeton, New Jersey. Herm Rosenman would take advantage of the opportunity and would become the car's next owner. By this time the car was a little more than 30 years of age. Therefore, Rosenman decided to shake it awake from its slumber by adding four twin-choke Weber carburetors to the engine. This boosted the power of the engine considerably.
In 1997, George Sicz of Winnipeg, Canada became the car's owner. The car would remain with Sicz for a short period of time and it would soon pass into the hands of Peter Klutt of Milton, Ontario. While in the possession of Klutt, CSX2032 would begin a process of being returned to its competition-inspired roots and, in fact, would take on the look and feel of racer later in its life than when Revetlow ordered it. Klutt would install Halibrand alloy racing wheels, competition-style fuel filler, front fender spats and even Raydyot competition mirrors. Then, out of homage to Dan Gurney's 1963 12 Hours of Sebring Cobra, the car would be refinished with yellow racing stripes.
For nearly a decade, CSX2032 would remain with Mr. Klutt. Then, in 2005, Richard Cohen would purchase the car. Just about a year would be the amount of time in which the car would be with Mr. Cohen before it would again be sold to its current owner.
Purchased by a serious Cobra enthusiast, CSX2032 has spent much of its life in careful storage and has been driven only a few miles. The work on the car continues, however, as the original sway bars have been reinstalled on the car. The car has also now been equipped with competition-style rotors and has had its frame cleaned and refinished.
Well documented and filled with an arresting history of ownership, CSX2032 is already amongst a rare collection of venomous performers. However, given its history, eclectic ownership and blend of comfort and performance, this particular Cobra is certainly one snake-charmer that isn't to be missed.
Heading to auction, the 1962 Shelby 'Factory Competition-Specification' Cobra, would be drawing estimates of between $750,000 to $950,000.Sources:
'Lot No. 150: 1962 Shelby 'Factory Competition-Specification' Cobra', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ13&CarID=r124). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ13&CarID=r124. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
'1962 Shelby Cobra News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/z18197/Shelby-Cobra.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/z18197/Shelby-Cobra.aspx. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
'May, 2012: 1962-1967 Shelby Cobra', (http://www.hemmings.com/hmn/stories/2012/05/01/hmn_buyers_guide1.html). Hemmings: The World's Largest Collector Car Marketplace. http://www.hemmings.com/hmn/stories/2012/05/01/hmn_buyers_guide1.html. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
'1962 Shelby CSX2000: The Original Cobra', (http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-reviews/road-tests/1962-shelby-csx2000-1). Road & Track. http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-reviews/road-tests/1962-shelby-csx2000-1. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
Wikipedia contributors, 'AC Cobra', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 January 2013, 14:32 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=AC_Cobra&oldid=532544382 accessed 15 January 2013By Jeremy McMullen
Sold for $1,815,000 at 2006 RM Auctions
High bid of $1,600,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company. (did not sell)
CSX 2026 has been featured in numerous magazine articles and books, including Shelby Cars in Detail, Shelby Cobra, Cobra-Ferrari Wars and AC Cobra. It has been displayed at the Shelby-American museum in Colorado, and in 1989, was displayed at the SAAC-14 meet in Pocono where it was awarded 1st place in the Concours Competition class. At the 1991 SAAC-16 gathering in Charlotte, it was awarded a 1st place in the 260/289 Cobra Competition class. A Best of Show judgment at the Lime Rock Vintage Fall Festival, a win at the Baltimore Concours and an award at the Lime Rock SAAC meet followed, as did a new owner in early 1997. Later ownership included the care of Richard Scaife and then Roger Willbanks.
The car is in excellent condition, having not been campaigned since its restoration. This factory race car is nearly unique in its mechanical specifications, its racing successes, and its significant role in the reputation and growth of Shelby American.
CSX2026 is the first Cobra to win a race and a national championship. It was driven by Dave McDonald, Lew Spencer, Fireball Roberts, Jerry Grant and Bob Johnson.
The car is powered by a 300 horsepower engine fitted with four Weber 48 IDM carburetors. There is a four-speed Borg-Warner manual gearbox and four-wheel Girling disc brakes.
In 2010, this car was offered for sale at Gooding & Company's Scottsdale Auction in Arizona. Bidding reached $1,600,000 but was not enough to satisfy the car's reserve. The car was left unsold.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2013
This Cobra CSX 2017 is an authentic full specification competition Cobra built by Shelby America. It is the first and perhaps the only 'Riverside' model sold to an individual. In every respect the CSX 2017 is an original factory built and prepared competition car, not a street model converted into a competition model.
Driver R.E.L. Hayes participated in eight races in 1963 and had podium finishes in four of them in this car.
This car is powered by a 289 cubic-inch V8 fitted with 48 IDM carburetors, special headers with side exhausts, quick-jack pads, cross mounted radiator header tank, Spaulding 'Flamethrower' ignition, Koni shocks, along with many other special features that included 6.5 and 7.5 inch wide Holibrand magnesium wheels.
CSX 2017 is indeed a race car which may be driven on the road. This car was in a private collection for over 30 years and was not raced or shown.
CSX2002 is the very first Shelby factory race car and the third Cobra ever built. It was driven by Billy Krause, Ken Miles, Peter Brock and Dave MacDonald. During its career as a racecar, it was a rolling test-bed for all future race and street Cobras.
The car made its debut at Riverside in October of 1962, driven by Bill Krause. It DNF'd at the LA Times GP and Nassau Speed Week in 1962. For 1963, it DNF'ed at the Daytona FIA and again at Sebring. It did finish 2nd at the Dodger Stadium SCCA National and the Delmar SCCA Regional. Dave McDonald drove it to a 1st place finish at the Tuson SCCA National.
The 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra with chassis number CSX 2005 wears the fifth production chassis number allotted. It is an early production 260 Cobra that was originally delivered by AC Cars Limited to Shelby American finished in red with black leather. The first owner was Richard J. Neil Jr. of Honolulu, Hawaii. It is believed that the car had a mechanical issue with the Cobra on a cross-country trip to California, and subsequently traded the 260 to Shelby American for another Cobra. After CSX 2005 had returned to Shelby American, it was used for promotional purposes. During this time, the car was featured in the motion picture The Killers
, starring Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Angie Dickinson, and Ronald Reagan. In the film, CSX 2005 wore a black livery with the race number '98.' An invoice remains from Shelby American to Universal City, Revue Studios for 'Repair of Cobra CSX #2005 damaged by you' from February 11, 1964.
On June 16, 1964, the 260 Cobra was invoiced to the Carroll Shelby School of High Performance Driving. At the time, it was presented in light metallic blue with a black interior, a roll bar - void of bumper guards - and wearing 'T' for 'trainer' on the roundels. During the car's time with the school, it saw use at Riverside Raceway by individuals including James Garner and Miss Universe, while Pete Brock and John Timanus served as instructors.
In the August 1964 issue of Sports Car
, the car and the school were both featured. They were also featured in the August 1964 issue of Ford Times, and the September 1964 issue of Car and Driver.
After the car left the Carroll Shelby School, the Cobra seemingly disappeared from the limelight. Don Bell of Seattle purchased the car in the 1970s. Mr. Bell used the car with some regularity and, in August 1976, he attended SAAC-1 in Oakland, its only noted public display. The car was later put away, for what would become years of static storage.
The current owner acquired the Shelby 289 in 2010. A complete restoration soon followed, bringing it back to the condition it was in when it was used as the driving school trainer.
The car has is complete and has its original engine, transmission, and rear end. The correct Ford XHP-260-5 engine has the proper two-barrel Autolite carburetor and rare air cleaner. There are Smiths gauges and a Lucas generator, which include the seldom-seen tachometer drive of the back of the generator. The steering wheel is that of an AC, the radiator is a Harrison type, and the foot box was finished in black. The car does not have a chassis plate, correct for the first 200 cars. The inside lace wheels, used while at the school, were fitted with correct, period Goodyear tires. The body has minimal fender fares and are void of side vents.
Upon completion of the restoration, the car was displayed at the NHRA Motorsports Museum, the SAAC-38, and several other seminars and events related to Shelby Cobras.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2014
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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