1967 Shelby Cobra
Ron’s Ford Sales, Bristol, Tennessee (acquired new in 1966)
G&W Sales and Service, Waynesboro, Virginia (acquired by 1980)
Mr. Walker, North Carolina (acquired from the above)
Current Owner (acquired circa 1980)
Shelby American World Registry of Cobras and GT40s, discussed on pp. 484, 502, 600, 605, 641, 644
Following Carroll Shelby’s small-block, leaf-spring Cobras, the thundering big-block, coil-spring 427 Cobra debuted for 1965 as the new “weapons grade” spearhead of Ford Motor Company’s Total Performance campaign. Developed by renowned Shelby engineer and racing driver Ken Miles, the 427 Cobra was brutally fast, and driving one remains a mind-altering experience today. The Cobras dominated SCCA A-Production and Dick Smith took American Road Race of Champions (ARRC) titles from 1965 to 1967 and set the mark for the fastest production sports car at the 1967 Daytona ARRC at a remarkable 198.047 mph.
While the 427 Cobra’s success steered Shelby toward international racing, the company could not assemble the 100 cars required for FIA homologation. Since Shelby had always intended a road-going version, the car was slightly redeveloped for street use, and it became one of the most formidable sports cars available anywhere in America from the showroom floor. It was a mighty racing car and incredibly difficult to beat on the road, but hard lives claimed many 427 Cobras early on. Today, it is difficult to find a 427 in its factory-original configuration, but this spectacular example marks an exception to the rule.
Invoiced to Shelby American on June 10, 1966, CSX3278 was finished in Rangoon Red with a black interior and billed to Tasca Ford of East Providence, Rhode Island, for $6,145.00. Featuring the circular taillights and 428 cid engine that defined this production sequence, it was ordered for local enthusiast Herb Pell. However, Mr. Pell decided on a green Cobra, and Tasca Ford was credited for the car, which was then trucked to Ron’s Ford Sales in Bristol, Tennessee.
In 1980, the Cobra was advertised by Weldon Scrogham’s G&W Sales and Service of Waynesboro, Virginia, as “Cobra 427, Red/Black, 13K miles, excellent original example, $55,000.” Mr. Scrogham recently related that to acquire it, he traded an original-paint 1959 Porsche 356 A Coupe to the Cobra’s West Virginia-based second owner, who had bought it for his daughter as a graduation gift. Mr. Scrogham stated that it still had the original sticker on the speedometer then, and that he sold it to an enthusiast named Mr. Walker of North Carolina.
The consignor acquired the Cobra shortly thereafter and used it sparingly, along with his spectacular alloy-bodied Ferrari 275 GTB (Lot 15). In 1991, after the passing of his trusted mechanic, the consignor advertised both cars for sale. His Cobra advertisement stated: “Fresh, original engine, drivetrain w/ scattershield; wheels beaded; nice Wingfoots; original paint, leather, top, side curtains, tonneau; 17K miles; $425,000.” Neither the Cobra nor the Ferrari was sold, however, as the consignor decided to keep them both. Without a trusted mechanic to work on the cars, they were parked in the garage, where they remained until earlier this year.
Presented in as-found cosmetic condition, the dust and patina of long-term static storage remain, visually conveying its nearly 30-year slumber. This 427 retains many features that are often lost to time or restoration. These include the remains of the warning sticker on the speedometer, its Beclawat windshield badge and its fuse-box covers. The chassis number is hand etched on its Shelby American footbox tag and remains on the hood and trunk latches and the transmission tunnel, signaling that this example has remained undisturbed.
Other details include its Serck radiator tag and correct 7.5" Sunburst wheels on Goodyear Wingfoot tires. The Cobra’s engine casting code of C6ME-A and date code of 6A15 correctly correspond to a 428 cid engine from this period. Recently, a vintage sports car specialist was able to get the car running, but given its years in static storage, it will require further mechanical attention before any road use. The Cobra is accompanied by its Chassis Instruction Manual and top bows.
Recently, enthusiasts have raised the question: How many great automotive discoveries can possibly be left? These finds are indeed becoming increasingly rare, and this Cobra, and its stablemate, the 275 GTB, must be one of the greatest in recent memory. While it is exciting to find any collector car that has been hidden away for nearly 30 years, an undisturbed 427 Cobra is truly an extraordinary treasure.
Presented in its original colors and configuration, and displaying just over 18,000 miles, this Cobra represents a unique opportunity to acquire an extremely pure example of one of history’s most iconic cars, and it must be considered one of the most compelling 427 street Cobras in existence.