1964 AC Cobra
Year of manufacture1964
Number of seats2
1964 AC Cobra Mark II Roadster
Registration no. AOR 562B
Chassis no. CSX2423
Rightly regarded as one of the all-time great classic sports cars, the muscular, fire-breathing Cobra succeeded in capturing the hearts of enthusiasts like few of its contemporaries. Just 1,000-or-so Cobras of all types were built between 1962 and 1967, but such was the model's enduring popularity that production was resumed in 1980.
Convinced that a market existed for an inexpensive sportscar combining European chassis engineering and American V8 power, Le Mans-winning Texan racing driver Carroll Shelby concocted an unlikely alliance between AC Cars and the Ford Motor Company. The former's Ace provided the simple twin-tube chassis frame - strengthened and supplied with four-wheel disc brakes for the Cobra - into which was persuaded one of Ford's lightweight, small-block V8s. The 260ci (4.2-litre) prototype first ran in January 1962, with production commencing later that year. Exclusively for the USA initially, Cobras - minus engines - were sent from England to be finished off by Shelby in California, and it was not until late in 1963 that AC Cars in Thames Ditton got around to building the first fully finished European-specification cars.
After 75 Cobras had been built with the 260cu in engine, the more powerful 289ci (4.7-litre) unit was standardised in 1963. Rack-and-pinion steering was the major MkII up-date; then in 1965 a new, stronger, coil-suspended MkIII chassis was introduced to accommodate Ford's 427cu in (7.0-litre) V8 engine. Wider bodywork, extended wheelarch flares and a bigger radiator intake combined to create the definitive - and much copied - Cobra MkIII look.
Chassis number 'CSX2423' is a left-hand drive example presented in concours condition having been the subject of a 'last nut and bolt' restoration some years ago. The car is well known to, and is recorded in, the Shelby American Registry and has won numerous awards in the USA where it spent much of its life. The 1997 Shelby American World Registry records that 'CSX2423' was originally finished in Vineyard Green with black interior and invoiced to Shelby American on 4th April 1964. Shipped to Los Angeles and sold by Hughson Ford on 15th July 1965, it came with various class 'A' accessories, including WSW tyres, luggage rack, antifreeze, outside rear view mirror, radio and antenna. Although presumably sold in the Northern Carolina area, its early history is not known. The earliest recorded owner was William J Sline (Geneva, NY) who advertised it for sale in November 1972. Thereafter the car passed through a number of hands (all recorded) and was rebuilt more than once before being acquired by James Griffin, of Burlingham, CA in 1990. Griffin wanted to re-restore 'CSX2423' but found local specialists had 3-4 year waiting lists, so the Cobra was sent to England where it was fully rebuilt by David Sanderson. Since completion it has taken 1st place at the Hillsborough Concours and 2nd at Palo Alto, and in 2006 took part in the very popular Tour Auto event. The history file contains details of the concours wins, Cobra brochure, instruction manual, various magazines, a photographic record of the restoration and pictures of the car on the 2006 Tour Auto.
The current vendor purchased the Cobra at Bonhams' Goodwood 'Festival of Speed' sale in June 2007 (Lot 393) since when it has been well stored and used only occasionally, one of its few outings being to the 'Pageant of Power' event at Cholmondeley Castle. Presented in quite superb, fully restored condition and running well, 'CSX2423' comes complete with hood, tonneau cover, current MoT and V5C registration document, and is ready to participate in any of the many prestigious historic events for which it is eligible.