FIA-spec Shelby Cobra: A ‘wartime veteran’

‘Wartime’? We are, of course, referring to the famous Cobra-Ferrari wars of the early 1960s. Pitted against a horde of semi-factory Ferrari 250 GTOs in the 1964 World Championship was just a handful of Shelby Cobras. This is one of them.

In period, as a Shelby entry, it competed at Sebring, the Targa Florio, Spa and the Nürburgring. It was also hillclimbed in late 1964 as, in those days, some rounds were part of the World Championship.

The car, chassis CSX 2301, had been delivered by AC Cars to Shelby American at the beginning of 1964, unpainted as a ‘race car with wide rear wings’. The American team then prepared it to full FIA racing spec with a hot 289 motor and cutback racing doors. A coat of Viking Blue and a maroon identification stripe completed the transformation to factory Shelby racer.

In Europe, although under the direct control of Phil Remington and Al Down at Shelby American, the cars were run with the assistance of Briton John Wyer, then in overall charge of Ford Advanced Vehicles. He was the man responsible for building and selling the new Ford GT40. So it was Wyer’s responsibility to dispose of two Cobra roadsters, now surplus to requirements, at the end of the 1964 season.

One of them, CSX 2301, was sold to Harpenden-based Radford Racing as a car to use in 1965. It was to feature in many British races, including several at Goodwood, as well as World Championship forays abroad to Monza and Spa.

Sadly, in May 1966, a serious, fatal crash at the Ilford Films 500 at Brands Hatch effectively wrote the car off. Some parts were kept by John Sparrow of Radford Racing and were subsequently sold to Brian Angliss (of Cobra Parts Ltd.) in October 1977. Angliss rebuilt the car with original, old and remanufactured parts..

Since then, it has been driven enthusiastically by owners in Belgium, Switzerland and Germany, competing in last year’s Goodwood Revival in the colours of Radford Racing.

Today, the beautifully prepared car is for sale at Swiss dealer  Flat-Six Classics with an exhaustive history file that includes extensive documentation confirming the car’s pedigree.

Photos: Flat Six Cars, Bonhams

More cars from Flat Six Cars can be found in the Classic Driver Market.

You can also find other AC Cobras for sale in the Classic Driver Market.