1965 AC Cobra280 Roadster
Year of manufacture1965
Car typeConvertible / Roadster
Chassis n° COB6027
- The forgotten swedish collection
- Incredibly well-preserved condition
- Owned by the same enthusiast for last 50 years
- Untouched by time
- Original engine, original accessories
Cobra aficionados will know that the chassis numbers for these models provide an indication of their origin. If the number is preceded by " CSX " it is a Shelby Cobra, built in America. If, on the other hand, it starts with " COB " (CObra Britain), or " COX " (Cobra eXport), it is a car built in England by AC Cars, right-hand drive for the COB and left-hand drive for the COX. These versions, numbered from 6001 to 6062, are identical to the American cars, with 289 engines and Borg-Warner T10 gearboxes shipped over by Shelby American, but have an " AC Cars " badge on the boot rather than " Cobra " and " Powered by Ford ", perhaps thought to be an unnecessary detail for the Europeans…
Between 1963 and 1966, AC built a total of just 61 examples, of which probably just over 20 were right-hand drive, a much smaller number than Shelby, who produced nearly 600 in the factory in Los Angeles. For the sake of completeness, we must add 27cars, both COB and COX, built by AC between 1966 and 1968 with coil spring suspension (as used in the 427 versions) and 289 engine.
The car in the sale is chassis COB6027 and a genuine European right-hand
drive version with leaf-spring suspension. Coming with continuous history, it has been in the hands of the same owner since 1969, some 50 years! This must be one of the best-preserved Cobras in existence, as most of these cars have led a more eventful life.
The original English log book tells us this incredible Cobra was first registered on 21 January 1965 in Surrey, England, in the name of P. A. Sheen, with the number GPF 8C. On 26 June 1966, it sold to Oliver Dering Harris (Surrey), who raced the car in some twenty events including a six-hour relay race at Silverstone. There were two subsequent British owners who each kept the Cobra for around a year: D. Brown became the registered owner on 12 May 1967 and D. E. Pressland on 13 June 1968. It was Pressland who sold the car on 16 January 1969 to the current owner, a passionate, but discreet, Swedish collector.
The bill of sale, hand written by Mr Pressland, specifies the price of £1,150 and notes that the engine was not running perfectly. In October 1969, once the necessary paperwork had been sorted out, the car was exported to Sweden by the current owner, and restored. The bodywork, originally red, was repainted in cellulose light yellow. It is possible today to spot a few traces of the original red colour (notably around the locks and the bonnet). The original black interior, being in very good condition was left untouched.
Much attention, on the other hand, was given to refurbishing the engine. The file that comes with the car includes an exchange of letters with AC Cars, of Thames Ditton, providing various recommendations for keeping the engine cool, as this appeared to be a problem…This was a different time, when enthusiastic collectors looked after their old cars with the polite and attentive assistance of manufacturers through personal and detailed correspondence, typical of this golden era of motoring.
Once the restoration was finished, the car was only driven for around 5 000 km during the summers of 1970 and 1971, after which it was stored in a heated garage and protected against humidity. We must remember that this was in the Stockholm area where cars needed to be protected against the long, hard winters. At the end of the 1971-2 winter, our collector, having other projects on the go, left the Cobra in the garage and never took it out on the road again. For this reason, the current mileage, believed to be genuine, is 73 000 km.
Today, this AC Cobra 289 is presented in a rare state, the older partial restoration giving the car a lovely patina. The interior has been remarkably well preserved, with leather bucket seats and dashboard complete with traditional Smiths instruments. Several parts, such as the locks, are stamped with the series number 6027. The car has its original hard-top (including the rear window which was found in the collector's attic after the photos were taken), as well as the plexiglass side panels and tonneau cover. There is also a box of period parts and a history file including the original English log book, insurance and customs certificates, bills, letters and the instruction book.
The car has its original 289 ci 4.7-litre engine, with some 280 bhp providing a fabulous performance for its day in a car that weighed less than a ton. In addition, this version with the original suspension (transverse leaf springs front and rear) handled much better than the coil spring suspension subsequently used on the Cobra 427.
Rarity, extraordinary documented history, one owner for 50 years, exceptionally well preserved and coming with period accessories, this AC Cobra 289 is without doubt one of the most significant survivors of this legendary model.
For more information and photos: https://www.artcurial.com/fr/lot-1965-ac-cobra-289-roadster-3980-74
Photos © Christophe Gasco