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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, 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 289 Cobra begins on January 23, 1964, when AC Cars Ltd. shipped chassis CSX 2289 aboard the SS Alblasserdyk to Shelby American Inc. in Los Angeles, California.

Upon its arrival at Shelby’s new workshop at Los Angeles International Airport, CSX 2289 began its transformation from a partially assembled AC sports car into a proper 289 Cobra. Consistent with its 1964 build date, this car was originally equipped with several desirable, late-production features such as rack and pinion steering, Ford electronics, and American-made Stewart Warner instruments. CSX 2289 was originally finished in Bright Blue over red leather, a seldom-seen combination for the 289 Cobra. According to various sources, as few as 22 examples were built in this striking color scheme.

Originally retained by Shelby American for use as a demonstrator, the Cobra sustained minor damage in May 1964 when Richard Lind reportedly struck a fence at Riverside Raceway. After being repaired, CSX 2289 continued its service as a Shelby American PR car throughout 1964. An internal Shelby American memo dated January 19, 1965, notes when CSX 2289 was returned from its duties and prepared for sale: “car has 12,000 miles, turned back, shows only 7600. Needs minor paint and bodywork.”

Later that month, the Cobra was invoiced to Hi-Performance Motors, Shelby’s own Los Angeles-based dealership, noting that the car was equipped with Class A accessories, including whitewall tires, luggage rack, and radio. Originally retailed to a customer in California, possibly named Heep, the Cobra was later traded to Marshall Munger in the early 1970s for approximately $2,500 worth of pipe and Mr. Munger’s labor to dig a well. Mr. Munger then parked the 42,000-mile Cobra in a shed behind his Santa Maria home, where it remained for approximately 30 years.

In 2007, Don Lee of Portola Valley, California struck a deal with Mr. Munger to purchase the car and extracted it from the shed, finding it to be in wonderfully unrestored condition. After undergoing a thorough cleaning and mechanical assessment, the Cobra was entrusted to well-known Shelby enthusiast Lynn Park to return it to running order while preserving the charming patina.

Once this process was completed, CSX 2289 made its debut at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, where it was displayed in the Postwar Preservation class. It was also shown at that year’s Shelby American Automobile Club National Meet, where it earned the Chairman’s Award – Survivor, Concours Division III. After passing through the ownership of noted collector Tom Armstrong, CSX 2289 was a fixture in two prominent European collections, where it remained until it was acquired by the current owner in 2022.

Before taking delivery, the consignor had CSX 2289 shipped to Rare Drive Inc. in East Kingston, New Hampshire, a highly respected firm recognized for their Cobra expertise and track record of producing numerous Pebble Beach award winners. As documented in invoices on file, the Cobra was meticulously serviced, detailed, and prepared with the goal of making it tour-ready, while preserving originality wherever possible and improving its already excellent appearance. To this end, the engine and gearbox were removed from the car and detailed with proper components and finishes. A new, correct set of carpets was installed, and each mechanical system was inspected, tested, and repaired as needed. Completed in spring 2023 at a cost of over $70,000, this process is responsible for the car’s impressive presentation today – a charismatic, largely original Cobra that can be driven and enjoyed as originally intended.

Significantly, the Cobra retains its serial-numbered body panels, much of its original red leather upholstery, and its 289 engine, no. PA4550, which corresponds to the number stamped on the original Shelby American footbox tag. Included with the sale are a correct tool kit, jack, grease gun, and full weather equipment.

Possessing a fascinating provenance as a Shelby American demonstrator, equipped with its matching-numbers engine, and possessing both a rare factory color scheme and irreplaceable patina, CSX 2289 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, we encourage serious consideration of this truly outstanding car.

Gooding & Company
1517 20th Street
Santa Monica  90404  California
United States
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Gooding & Company

+1 (310) 899-1960