1967 Shelby Cobra

From the moment Carroll Shelby hatched the idea to shoehorn an American V8 engine into the lithe British-built AC Ace chassis, motorsport played an integral role in the project. The small-block Shelby Cobra (sold as the AC Cobra in the UK) was an overnight sensation on the street and the race track, with the agile little roadsters, handily showing competitors like the Chevy Corvette a clean pair of heels in SCCA competition. By the mid-1960s, the Cobra roadster and specially-developed Daytona Coupe took on the might of Ferrari in the hotly-contested FIA GT Championship, coming out on top of the world at the end of the 1965 season. All along, however, the quest for more power weighed heavily on the minds of Carroll Shelby and his right-hand man, Ken Miles. The 289 had reached the peak of its development, maxing out at 385 reliable horsepower, but they knew the Cobra needed a lot more grunt to stay at the sharp end of the field.

Ken Miles retreated to the drawing board after an uncharacteristic embarrassment handed down by the Grand Sport Corvettes during the 1963 Nassau Speed Week. A past drive in a 427-powered NASCAR Galaxie left an impression on Miles, and he felt the big block would pair perfectly with the lightweight Cobra. Shelby tested a hastily built prototype using 289 suspension at Sebring, and despite woeful handling, it proved to be blisteringly fast in a straight line. Its performance convinced Shelby, Miles, and Ford that the 427 would power the next generation of Cobra cars.

Considerable development followed as the Cobra chassis was substantially reworked to handle the additional weight and power of the big Ford V8. Ford offered the services of its chassis engineers to assist Miles, working within the 90-inch wheelbase to match AC’s body jigs. Chassis tube diameter increased to four inches, and the antiquated leaf-spring arrangement was tossed out in favor of an all-new, fully adjustable coil-spring setup at all four corners. Designers reworked the body with dramatic flared wheel arches to accommodate the fat rubber required to put the power to the ground. With the new chassis, the 427 Cobra had comparable handling to the 289, coupled with astonishing straight-line performance. Few cars could touch the 427 Cobra’s near-mythical performance for decades to come. The original 427 Cobra remains one of the greatest sports cars ever built, enjoying a permanent place among automotive royalty.

Chassis number CSX 3254 is a highly-desirable 427 Cobra roadster presented in superb condition with a specialist restoration and well-documented history from new. According to published registry information, AC Cars Ltd billed Shelby American for the rolling chassis on April 12, 1966. Build records indicate it was finished in silver over black leather upholstery and equipped with sunburst wheels and an optional hardtop. After completion, Shelby invoiced Herb Tousley Ford of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, on July 7, 1966, and it was delivered to the first owner, Dr. Tom Austin of neighboring St. Paul. CSX 3254 falls within the VIN range for Cobras equipped with Ford’s 428 Interceptor engine. Shelby did not stamp big-block engines to correspond with chassis numbers, and all were badged and sold as 427 Cobras regardless of engine fitment.

In 1969, Dr. Austin advertised the car locally, describing it as “…silver over black, 12,000 miles by original owner. Carefully maintained and never raced.” The next known owner was Fred Schiplin of Annandale, Minnesota. He noted in the late 1970s that the car was still in its original specification and color and showed approximately 40,000 miles at the time. By the early 1980s, the car had been restored, receiving the 427 c.i. Cobra engine at some point along the way. While in the ownership of George Gillett of Nashville, Tennessee, it was handed to the respected experts at Cobra Restorers of Kennesaw, Georgia, restored in maroon over black and fitted with black side pipes and Halibrand knock-off wheels, both popular modifications. By the early 2000s, it found a welcome home with noted Shelby and Cobra restoration expert Tony Branda of Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Within the last few years, CSX 3254 received a well-researched restoration performed by a marque specialist. Photos show the 427 c.i. V8 was rebuilt and fitted with rare original Le Mans rods and an updated roller-rocker valvetrain. It is topped with original valve covers, a low-rise intake with twin four-barrel carbs, and proper Stelling & Helling air filters. Restorers fabricated new headers and exhaust system, which now correctly runs under the car, exiting at the rear. Photos also show the frame is accurately restored in satin black, and the suspension is fully rebuilt and restored, with a detailed rear diff and correct red Koni dampers. Concurrently, the body was stripped to bare metal, repaired as necessary, and refinished in its current shade of black over a black leather cockpit. CSX 3254 remains in superb condition, with most original body numbers intact, excellent paintwork, polished Halibrand knock-off wheels, and factory-correct finishes and detailing.

Carroll Shelby’s 427 Cobra is an iconic, legendary, near-mythical beast, and CSX 3254 presents a rare opportunity to add a truly outstanding example to your stable.

Titled as a 1967 Cobra

 

Offers welcome and trades considered

 

$1,275,000

Stock number 7318

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