1964 Shelby Cobra


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Car type 
  • Lot number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 


E.C. (Carl) Kiekhaefer, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (acquired new in 1964)
Mike Gallagher, Green Bay, Wisconsin (acquired from the above in 1966)
Bruce Larson, Dauphin, Pennsylvania (acquired from the above in 1990)
Barry Smith, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania (acquired from the above in 1992)
Richard Haydinger, Marlton, New Jersey (acquired in 2008)
Current Owner (acquired from the above)

Shelby Owners Association Newsletter, April 1974, p. 8
The Shelby American, issue 31, pictured on p. 42
Shelby American World Registry, fourth edition, p. 185

Of all the great sports cars built during the 1960s, few possess the mystique of the Shelby Cobra. Envisioned by famed racing driver Carroll Shelby and developed by his team of talented engineers, the Cobra successfully combined the best qualities of European competition machinery and California hot rods, creating a distinctive Anglo-American sports car. The classic small-block Cobra, built between 1962 and 1965 in both 260 and 289 forms, achieved an enviable race record and proved instrumental to Ford Motor Company’s dominance of international sports car racing during the period.

The story of this extraordinary 289 Cobra begins on January 2, 1964, when AC Cars Ltd. shipped CSX2271 aboard the SS Dongedyk to Shelby American Inc. in Los Angeles.

Upon its arrival at Shelby’s new workshop at the Los Angeles International Airport, CSX2271 began its transformation from a partially assembled AC sports car into a proper 289 Cobra. Consistent with its early 1964 build date, this car was originally equipped with several noteworthy, late-production features, such as rack and pinion steering, Ford electrical systems, and American-made Stewart Warner instruments.

Originally, CSX2271 was finished in the attractive and uncommon color scheme of silver with a red leather interior. According to the research of the Shelby American Automobile Club, just 7% of leaf-spring Cobras built were painted silver from new.

To enhance the Cobra’s already distinctive appearance, Shelby supplied a generous selection of Class A accessories, including chrome wheels, white sidewall tires, a luggage rack, a rearview mirror, and a radio with antenna. On March 27, 1964, CSX2271 was invoiced to Service Motors Inc. in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, for a total price of $5,603.75 – including antifreeze and freight.

The Cobra was then delivered to Wisconsin on Shelby’s own transporter and sold to its first owner, Carl Kiekhaefer. A legend in the history of American motor sports, he owned the Kiekhaefer Mercury outboard motor company (later Mercury Marine), and was an avid automobile enthusiast.

Kiekhaefer, a clever and talented engineer who was serious about cars, owned a variety of exotic European sports cars – from an alloy-bodied 300 SL Gullwing to Stanguellinis – and is often credited as starting the first professional racing team in North America in the postwar era. Throughout the early 1950s, his team’s meticulously prepared Chryslers were successfully campaigned in the Carrera Panamericana road race and in the NASCAR Grand National Series, where they captured back-to-back championships in 1955 and 1956.

After taking delivery of the 289 Cobra, Kiekhaefer had Service Motors order a personalized dash plaque from Shelby, and he then brought the car to Florida, where he maintained a winter home. The Shelby remained with its original owner until May 1966, when it was sold, with just 1,800 miles on the odometer, to Mike Gallagher, a resident of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Remarkably, Mr. Gallagher kept CSX2271 until 1990, preserving it in stock, original condition, with the exception of a repaint in white carried out in 1986. In 1990, CSX2271 was sold to another American racing legend: NHRA champion Bruce Larson. Mr. Larson, who had set records during the NHRA’s 1965 season with one of the original Shelby Dragonsnakes, kept this Cobra in his stable until 1992, when it was sold to Barry Smith of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.

In 2003, Mr. Smith commissioned Dave Wagner of Northville, Michigan, to perform a complete restoration, during which the original aluminum body was carefully restored and refinished in the original silver. Approximately 10 years ago, the car was sold to noted collector Richard Haydinger of New Jersey, from whom it was acquired by the current caretaker.

In 2017, CSX2271 was entrusted to Mark Allin’s Rare Drive Inc. in New Hampshire, one of the foremost marque experts in the US, for an even more exacting restoration. Over the past decade, Rare Drive Inc. has restored some of the most historically significant Cobras, GT350s, and GT40s. The quality and accuracy of this marque expert’s restorations have been recognized with many prestigious honors, including multiple awards for First in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®.

In recent correspondence, Allin stated the following with regard to CSX2271: “It’s always great to find a rack and pinion 289 Cobra that’s been cared for its whole life, one that hasn’t been raced, wrecked, or modified, and still retains its original engine, footbox tag, and stamped hinges on the body panels. With this car, we performed a complete mechanical sorting, as well as a high-quality cosmetic restoration. It is now back in its original colors, has all the right finishes and accessories, and is a really great driving example that can be enjoyed either on the road or as a show car.”

Since the restoration was completed, CSX2271 has not been exhibited at SAAC meets or concours, allowing its next owner the pleasure of debuting the car. At the time of cataloguing, the odometer displayed 55,683 miles, a figure believed by the consignor to represent the original mileage.

Today, the car presents beautifully in all respects and has been carefully prepared with all the wonderful, period details present – from the original Impact seat belts to the correct round-head Murray Gold Seal clamps in the engine compartment. In keeping with its meticulous presentation, the Cobra is offered with important documentation, including copies of the original AC Cars and Shelby American invoices. Also accompanying the sale are a correct tool kit, owner’s manual, jack, grease gun, and full weather equipment.

Possessing a fascinating provenance, equipped with its original matching-numbers engine, and faithfully restored in its rare factory color scheme by a leading model expert, CSX2271 is certainly among the finest examples of the iconic 289 Cobra. For the collector who has been waiting for the ideal Shelby to become available, Gooding & Company encourages serious consideration of this truly exceptional car.