Arizona | Lot 229
1963 Shelby 260 Cobra
$577,000 USD | Sold
| Phoenix, Arizona
17 January 2020
- One of 62 early 260 street Cobras; 655 leaf-spring examples
- Only two California-based owners dating to 1968
- 46-year period of climate-controlled storage
- Recently repainted in the original color
Few sports cars are as celebrated and well-known as the Shelby Cobra. Carroll Shelby may not have been the first entrepreneur to install a large-bore American engine into a European body, but his creation was certainly the most famous and effective. The onetime Texan chicken farmer who had won Le Mans as a driver in 1959 was catapulted to a new phase of his career when he contracted with Ford to install Detroit’s V-8 engine into the AC Ace roadster. The resulting Cobra was a smash success, winning SCCA titles with incredible ease.
While Carroll Shelby proceeded to shepherd Ford’s GT40 racing program into the four-time Le Mans winner that defeated Ferrari, the Cobra evolved from the modest 260/289-cubic-inch leaf-sprung model into a full-blown 427-cubic-inch coil-sprung monster. In both guises the Cobra has developed into one of the most collectable and revered of all sport cars, holding a special place for enthusiasts of tight-cornering American horsepower.
This early Shelby Cobra benefits from ownership by two dedicated caretakers dating to 1968, including one for over 45 years, resulting in a very pure and authentic example. According to the records of the SAAC Leaf Spring Cobra Registry, chassis no. CSX 2047 is one of approximately 62 street-specified examples that were originally equipped with the 260-cubic-inch engine.
Billed to Shelby American in mid-November 1962, this Cobra was finished in red over a black interior, and after being shipped to Shelby’s Los Angeles headquarters, the car was sold in late February 1963 to Dave Grubbe Ford in Burbank. The roadster was optioned with sun visors, wind wings, front and rear bumpers, aluminum rocker covers, and chrome exhaust tips and hood latches. By 1968 the roadster was purchased by Lieutenant (junior grade) Kit Coyle of La Jolla, California, a fighter pilot stationed at the Miramar Naval Air Station, and the car was used as his daily driver for the following five years. Lt. Coyle commissioned a repaint in British Racing Green and installed a new exhaust system, battery, and carpeting before offering the car for sale in early 1973.
The Shelby was purchased then by Bob Schiro of Saratoga, California, who was the proprietor of a dealership in the Santa Clara area. Mr. Schiro recognized that the Cobra model would eventually evolve into a highly collectable automobile, and he began to assemble a personal collection that included numerous Cobras, Corvettes, and other Shelby models. To optimally preserve these cars, the owner acquired a climate-controlled warehouse that became the home of CSX 2047, and the car was then fastidiously maintained while only rarely being driven.
In 1977 Schiro conducted significant work on the engine and transmission, while in 1993 he replaced the battery and radiator hoses and rebuilt the carburetor. In 2001 the coachwork was stripped and refinished in the original color of red, and white Le Mans stripes were added. The owner occasionally offered the car for sale through the years but never received an adequate offer, so it remained in his collection until his passing in 2019, accounting for a remarkable 46 years of ownership. Then acquired by the consignor, a respected dealer in Northern California, the Cobra has recently been treated to a proper refinish in the original red color and less the racing stripes.
Notable for featuring many of the interior details of Lt. Coyle’s ownership, including period upholstery and trim pieces, this Shelby claims minimal use in recent years and is documented with an entry from the SAAC Leaf Spring Cobra Registry. It would make a phenomenal addition to any collection, ideal for Shelby enthusiasts and aficionados of Ford-powered sports cars.