19-20 January 2017

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Lot 157

1966 Shelby 427 Cobra

  • Chassis no. CSX 3293

Sold for $1,100,000

Est. 425 bhp, 427 cu. in. Ford OHV V-8 engine with two four-barrel carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent coil spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.

  • Engine rebuilt to S/C specification
  • Known ownership history from new
  • Recent cosmetic restoration
  • Approximately 21,000 miles recorded
  • A stunning example of the greatest Anglo-American sports car


Without question the iconic Anglo-American sports car of the 1960s, the brutal and muscular 427 Cobra roadster is instantly recognizable by not just its muscular light alloy bodywork, but also its thunderous exhaust note. Carroll Shelby’s brilliant “big-block” Cobra has become one of the most imitated designs, and to drive or share the passenger seat is an unworldly experience, should the accelerator pedal be used for its intended purpose. The 427 Cobra roadster was capable of a sprint to 60 miles an hour in a hair over four seconds, could see 100 mph in just over 10 seconds, and finally run out of breath at 165 mph.

As a race car, competition-prepared 427 Cobras were consistent winners, while on the street there was almost nothing that could touch it. Shelby won the United States Manufacturer’s Championship for three consecutive years, in 1963, 1964, and 1965, but he and driver Ken Miles knew that they needed more power to maintain that success; hence the emergence of the 427. To make the Cobra competitive with Ferrari’s big mid-engined GT racers, a new streamlined alloy body was penned by the gifted Shelby employee Pete Brock, and the Shelby American Daytona coupes would go on to win the bitterly contested 1965 FIA World Manufacturer’s Championship, to the chagrin of Enzo Ferrari.

The 427 Cobra was built on a tubular chassis with a 90-inch wheelbase. The four-inch-diameter main longitudinal rails were spaced 22 inches apart, five inches more than those of the small-block 260/289 cars. Coil springs at all four corners gave a more compliant ride and camber control than the earlier models’ transverse leaf springs, which dated to the original AC Ace of the mid-1950s. When Shelby found that he was losing money on every Cobra delivered with the racing-derived 427 “side-oiler” V-8, a decision was made to substitute a less-expensive 428-cubic inch Ford V-8, and that motor was used for all “3200”-series cars. Performance, insisted Shelby, was virtually the same for both powerplants, at least for cars that would be limited to street use.

CSX 3293

This beautiful Cobra, delivered new in red with a black interior, was invoiced to Shelby American Motors in Los Angeles on 18 July 1966, where its original 428 V-8 was installed. It was then sold to Hayward Ford in Hayward, California. The first original owner is believed to have been Bob Schiro, of Santa Clara, California, who kept the car until 1968, and it remained in northern California. Its next owner, circa 1985, was the well-known collector, restorer, and racer Bruce Canepa of Santa Cruz, who replaced the 428 with a period-correct 427 Ford engine and enjoyed the car on a regular basis. In 1988, Mr. Canepa sold the Cobra to Steve Burnett of Newport Beach, California, who—according to the Shelby American Registry—rebuilt the 427 to S/C specification, and added such period-correct details as chrome side exhaust, a chromed rollbar, hood scoop, a competition-style fuel filler atop the right-rear fender, and a set of 7.5- and 9.5-inch Halibrand knock-off magnesium-alloy wheels.

The car was offered for sale in early 1990 through Newport Imports in Newport Beach, where it was spotted by Hans Weber, a German enthusiast temporarily assigned to work in the United States. Mr. Weber purchased the Cobra and exported it to his homeland. At that point, the car had been driven a mere 17,500 miles. In May of 1995, the car was acquired by another German, Hendrik Hoffman. A few months later, this big-block Cobra was featured on the cover of the European automotive publication Motor Klassik, an honor that would be repeated a few years later. In 2007, Andre Ahrle from Monaco purchased CSX 3293 and enjoyed driving his thundering Cobra through the streets of the tiny principality, certainly rattling windows to the delight of local residents, and receiving more than his fair share of attention.

A few years ago, Mr. Ahrle had his Cobra delivered to Cobra specialists Legendary Motorcar Company, where it underwent a cosmetic restoration to exacting standards, and the car was then acquired by its present owner.

We are pleased to offer this 427 Cobra with its original bodywork, on its original chassis, and in its correct, as-delivered livery of red over black. It is complemented by the clean look of a full under-car exhaust and Halibrand wheels. The semi-competition-specification 427 engine is topped with a dual quad setup and still makes a pulse-pounding noise, which cannot be mistaken for anything but a Cobra.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more