Sam Pack Collection | Lot 158

1963 Shelby 289 Cobra



$880,000 USD | Sold

United States | Farmer's Branch, Texas

15 November 2014

Chassis No.
CSX 2048
  • Upgraded with a 289-cubic inch engine in the early 1970s
  • Shown in period as part of the Ford Custom Caravan
  • Formerly owned by Ford Special Projects Director Jacques Passino
  • Single ownership from 1971 to 2011; Documented in the Shelby American World Registry

306 bhp, 289 cu. in. Ford OHV V-8 engine, Holley four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension with upper transverse leaf springs and lower A-arms, and four-wheel Girling hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.


In the world of performance cars, there’s nothing more American than shoehorning a big V-8 engine into a tiny European sports car body and chassis.

In the early 1960s, American cars were known for their brute strength and power, and European cars were known for their small footprint and handling finesse. While a variety of manufactures experimented with the concept of combining these two aspects, most notably Allard, Cunningham, and Nash-Healey, none of them got it quite as right as Carroll Shelby did.

After experimenting with fitting a 221-cubic inch V-8 into an AC Ace chassis and using Ford’s new 260-cubic inch V-8 for the early production examples, Shelby finally hit the sweet spot with the 289, and the rest is history. Thanks to the Cobra, Carroll Shelby went from being a well-known racing driver to a household name, paving the way for Shelby vehicles for years to come. The Cobra proved to be a huge hit, quickly finding success both in terms of sales and race victories. It was a force to be reckoned with both at home and abroad, and it became the new gold standard for American sports cars.


The 1963 Cobra presented here, bearing chassis number CSX 2048, was invoiced to Shelby American on November 13, 1962, and then shipped to Los Angeles, wearing the same color-combination of red and black it sports today. According to this Cobra’s entry in the Shelby American Registry, factory documentation stated that it was refinished in a custom pearlescent paint and that it was used briefly as a show car on the famous “Ford Custom Caravan” traveling display.

After leaving the Ford Custom Caravan display, CSX 2048 would stay within the Ford family, as it was purchased by Jacques Passino. Amongst Ford’s upper echelon of executives, there was perhaps no better man other than Shelby himself to own a Cobra. As the director of Ford’s Special Products Division, Passino was an important part of Ford’s racing operations during a fantastic era in motorsports for Ford.

The car was invoiced to Passino for $5,889.30, which included a $300 Ford Motor Company discount, and it was equipped with the Class A accessory package, chrome wheels, and Goodyear racing tires. According to the Shelby American World Registry, the invoice to Mr. Passino lacks the standard cancelling credit memo usually dated one month later, and it was similar in its date and essence to the invoices for CSX 2042 and 2046, indicating that all three cars were used by the Ford Motor Company as either demonstrators or for PR purposes. While it is known that the sister cars were returned to Shelby American after a few weeks and then sold to dealers at reduced prices, the story of CSX 2048 resumes in late 1970, when it was advertised for sale by a Massachusetts-based dealer.

It was then acquired by Mark Panageotes, of New Hampshire, in May 1971. At this time, CSX 2048 had been fitted with an early 289 V-8 engine and other equipment intended for drag racing. Panageotes would be the sole caretaker of CSX 2048 for the next 30 years, and in his stable it would be a regular driver and maintained much as he purchased it, with the exception of a repaint in red in his second year of ownership. With Panageotes behind the wheel, the car visited 21 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces, covering a conservatively estimated 5,000 miles per year, on average, over the years. In 2003, the 50-year-old car was driven from New Hampshire to Nova Scotia, Canada, around the perimeter of what many consider to be Canada’s most beautiful province, before heading home to New Hampshire. Two years later, the Cobra completed another equally impressive road trip, from New Hampshire to Florida and back. This venture saw the car travel 2,500 miles over nine days, which is quite a monumental achievement for any vehicle, let alone one over 50 years old.

The car was fully restored in the late 2000s, under the supervision of Cobra specialist Geoff Howard of Accurate Restorations. All engine and mechanical work was completed by Toby Knapp Auto Repair and the paintwork and final assembly was completed by Carland Auto Repairs, both of Danbury, Connecticut. No stone was left unturned, and the restoration work truly encompassed every aspect of the car, including the body, cosmetics, chassis, and all mechanical systems. The car is powered by a 289-cubic inch V-8 and is accompanied by a period-correct 260 engine block, a tonneau cover, tools, top bows, and a convertible soft-top. Furthermore, the restoration is documented by two photo books, one documenting the bodywork and the other covering all of the other restorative work, as well as a binder that contains all of the restoration receipts.

This Shelby was purchased by Mr. Pack shortly after the completion of its restoration, and it has been recently refurbished with originality in mind. As such, it is undoubtedly ready to return to the road and eat up more miles of American freeway, just as Carroll Shelby, Jacques Passino, and Mark Panageotes would have intended.

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