19-20 January 2017
1966 Shelby 427 Cobra
- Chassis no. CSX 3293
Sold for $1,100,000
- 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
THE 427 COBRA
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.
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.
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