Lot 240

Monterey 2023

1963 Shelby 289 Cobra


$1,132,500 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
CSX 2135
Engine No.
US Title
  • Coveted early example of the rack-and-pinion 289 Cobra
  • Originally invoiced to future Ford Racing Director Jacques Passino
  • Documented history in the Shelby registry, including promotional use by the Ford Motor Company when new
  • Finished in Midnight Blue over black leather trim
  • Recently treated to over $100,000 in work, including a full rebuild of what is believed to be its factory issued 289-cu. in. V-8 engine

Carrol Shelby and his Cobra need no introduction. In shoehorning an American V-8 into a near-weightless British chassis, Shelby created an American cultural icon. Ultimately, 655 examples of the small-block Cobra would be built, with the latter examples dubbed Mark II for their improved rack and pinion steering design.

Billed to Shelby American on 18 June 1963, CSX 2135 is an early example of these coveted Mark II 289 Cobras. Originally finished in white over red livery, it was shipped to New York aboard the SS American Commander and consigned to W.J. Janner of Ford Motor Company Car Sales Promotion in Dearborn, Michigan. Following its arrival, it was shipped via Shelby American transport to Kansas City where it was invoiced to Ford executive and future director of Ford Racing, Jacques Passino on 16 September 1963. The invoice listed CSX 2135 as equipped with a luggage rack, white sidewall tires and the “Class A” accessory group of 5.5-inch chromed wire wheels with “AC” knockoffs, wind wings, dash-mounted rear-view mirror, chromed bumperettes, and a quick-fill fuel cap. Including freight and the Ford discount of $300, the car’s total came in at $5,387.

After nearly a year of promotional use by the Ford Motor Company, the car was returned to Shelby American in the Summer of 1964 showing approximately 5,300 miles. Ford work order number 1077 authorized Shelby to recondition the car for sale, which included the installation of five new six-inch-wide painted wire wheels as well as new carpets, soft top, side curtains, windshield, rear bumper overriders, seat belts, mufflers, and a complete repaint in Lucite (white) at a total cost of $1,125. Once the work was completed, CSX 2135 was sold for $4,250 to Beverly Hills Sports Cars, Inc. in Beverly Hills, California on 31 March 1965. The Beverly Hills dealer sold the car to an unnamed first owner who registered it on black California license plates numbered “RFG 836.” By 1967 the car found its way to Brant Motors of Walnut Creek, California where it was sold to its first known owner, Tom Ellis.

Alan T. Lloyd of El Cajon, California acquired the car from Ellis in the mid-1970s and entered it at the SAAC-3 race in Pasadena, California in August 1978. By this point, the Cobra had been refinished in the 1966 Ford copper-metallic shade of Emberglo with twin black stripes and black upholstery. The car had also been fitted side vents and widened front and rear wheel openings typical of the later 289 Cobras. Lloyd advertised the car for sale throughout 1983 and 1984 before entering it in SAAC-9 in Anaheim, California in August 1984. It was then tragically stolen from Lloyd in November 1984.

The car resurfaced in 1989 after being purchased by Milton Janzen of San Francisco, California. After realizing he had purchased a stolen car, Janzen negotiated with the State Farm Insurance company to acquire its legal title and was able to do so in 1990, registering the car under California license number “2ZSL192.”

Janzen then commenced a restoration, which included refinishing CSX 2135 in dark blue over saddle upholstery as well as fitting Weber carburetors and a set of reproduction six-spoke Halibrand wheels. Ownership then passed to John Duffy of Bakersfield, California in June 1993 in a sale which included the car’s original wire wheels. Duffy changed the upholstery to black and advertised the car for sale in late 1999 for $167,500.

After over three decades in California, CSX 2135 found a new home with Jim Carrolo of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Carrolo enjoyed the car regularly before selling it in May 2014 to collector Jeffrey Cohen. After Cohen, the car passed through the collection of another enthusiastic caretaker before being acquired by the consignor in 2018.

Under the consignor’s ownership, over $100,000 has been spent bringing the car to concours standards. Classic Performance Restoration of Mesa, Arizona fully rebuilt what is strongly believed to be the car’s factory issued 289-cubic-inch engine. In addition to the engine work, the brake system was dialed in, a carbon-coated stainless-steel exhaust system was fitted, and extensive diagnostics of the fuel and electrical systems were undertaken to ensure this Cobra performs as new.

An extensive search for correct Cobra parts was conducted which resulted in sourcing a radiator, distributor, ignition switch, “Rotunda” tachometer, Smiths clock, and Cobra-branded cast iron bellhousing, among numerous other items. Well over $10,000 was spent reuniting CSX 2135 with its correct six-inch wide painted wire wheels shod in Avon tires and held on by properly engraved knock-off wheel nuts. More than 80 pages of invoices detailing the exhaustive efforts of Classic Performance, as well as pictures of the engine’s stampings, are available for review.

With rack-and-pinion steering, exceptional history, and recent work by marque experts to bring it to the highest levels of presentation, CSX 2135 checks all the right boxes for even the most discerning Cobra enthusiast.