1965 Shelby Cobra427 Competition Cobra
Year of manufacture1965
$3,000,000 - $4,000,000
- 1 of 19 true production 427 competition Cobras
- Of those, only a handful retain their original body
- The only production 427 Cobra to win a significant European race
- Raced in 1966 by three Formula 1 drivers: Chris Irwin, David Piper, and Bob Bondurant
- Competed in a 1966 FIA World Sports Car Championship race
- 1st overall at the 1966 Brands Hatch
- Significant ownership history, including Michael Shoen, Steven Juliano, George Stauffer, Chris Cox, Jim Spiro, Larry Bowman, and Gary Bartlett
- Completely restored by Legendary Motorcar Company
- Featured on Dream Car Garage television show
- Presented at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 2014 Concorso Villa D’Este, and 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed
- Considered one the most significant factory Competition 427 Cobras in existence
Please note that this lot is titled as a 1966.
This impressive 1965 Shelby Cobra, chassis CSX 3006, was equipped from the factory with a potent competition 427 side-oiler aluminum-head engine, which was billed to Shelby American on 31 December 1964. Work order 15060 was opened on 25 January 1965 to build CSX 3006 for William G. Freeman of Muncie, Indiana. Freeman specified that his Cobra be finished in metallic blue, a shade lighter than that of the team cars, with gold Le Mans stripes. It was invoiced to Hi Performance Motors in Los Angeles, California, on 7 April 1965 at a cost of $9,600, plus $24.86 for a shoulder harness. Freeman picked the car up at the dealership and photos of the car at that time show that it was delivered with 6.578.5-in. FIA Halibrand wheels and devoid of a Cobra nose emblem.
Freeman campaigned the car in two SCCA races, including Lynndale Farms, before being
offered a lucrative racing contract in Europe. The Cobra was then offered for sale in May 1965: “Cobra Mark II. Just purchased. Unexpected racing contract in Europe forces sale. Immediate delivery. All options including extras and custom trailer. Discount for cash.”
However, the Cobra did not sell at the time, and a second ad appeared in Competition Press in November 1965 stating that the car had been “stored in France since May.” Freeman eventually sold his Cobra to an Air Force Captain from Dayton, Ohio, who then sold it to The Chequered Flag in London, England. There the car was converted to right-hand drive, painted white with a black hood and custom scoop, and campaigned in the 1966 season.
Its European racing debut at the Brands Hatch Ilford 500 was nothing less than exceptional. Bob Bondurant, former Shelby American Team driver who had just won Shelby their ﬁrst and only FIA World Championship and Le Mans in the previous year, was paired with David Piper whose long-distance racing career was virtually unparalleled. The race started in wet conditions after a torrential downpour. As seen in the famous photo of the start, Bob Bondurant jumped to the front row amongst two Ford GT40s, leaving the lightweight Jaguar E-type and a Ferrari 250 LM in the trail spray behind. The English–American duo proved to be the right choice as Bondurant and Piper took the overall win after six grueling hours. CSX 3006 continued the season racing, again at Brands Hatch with Formula 1 driver Chris Irwin, as well as a few other minor events. Bondurant once again got a chance to drive CSX 3006 this time at FIA World Championship race in Zeltweg, Austria, where the car ran into mechanical problems and failed to finish.
The Chequered Flag continued to race the car in various events until it was sold in 1969 to Edwin Butterworth who reportedly entered the car in two more races. John Carden purchased the Comp Cobra as an investment before selling it back to The Chequered Flag in 1977. Mike Shoen, known as one of the earliest Cobra/Shelby collectors and historians, owned only the most signiﬁcant Fords, including two Daytona coupes, the Mirage GT40, and CSX 2345, the very best factory team 289 Cobra, he purchased CSX 3006 in 1977. Shoen, who later authored the famous book Cobra Ferrari Wars, entrusted expert Cobra restorer Geoff Howard to complete a ground up restoration, returning it to its original LHD conﬁguration with Blue paint and racing stripes.
After nearly a decade, Shoen sold the car to Bob Jordan, who has also owned several Cobras over the years. After several interim owners, Steve Juliano, well known in the Cobra community to be one of the most particular of Cobra enthusiasts, purchased CSX 3006. After a rare opportunity to buy an original Mark II GT40 presented itself, Juliano traded the Cobra back to Jordan. Wes Cadillac-Olds, who had originally purchased the car from Bob Jordan, repurchased it for a second time before placing it for sale in 1989. George Stauffer, one of the most famous names in Cobras and GT40s, purchased the car in 1990 before moving it to David Livingston, who vintage raced it in 1990 placing 1st overall in group 8 at the Palm Springs Vintage Races. Renowned Ferrari collector Chris Cox acquired the Cobra and sold it to Matt Prowse. Another notable collector, Jim Spiro purchased it in 1998 and occasionally used it for road use after having a mechanical restoration performed on the car by Dralle Engineering.
In 2003, Spiro sold the car to the very knowledgeable and astute collector Larry Bowman. Bowman sent CSX 3006 to the widely respected Legendary Motorcar Company of Ontario, Canada, to perform a complete, no-expense-spared, ground-up restoration returning it to its Brands Hatch-winning conﬁguration. Bowman even found the original lightweight custom seats that Piper and Bondurant squeezed into in 1966, which are included with the sale, as well as the side curtains. The entire restoration was documented and featured on Dream Car Garage, a television series produced by Legendary Motorcar.
In 2009, the car was passed onto a European collector before being sold to Gary Bartlett of Muncie, Indiana, the same town the car was delivered to nearly 50 years before. Bartlett showed the car over the next ﬁve years taking it to the most prestigious events around the world including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Goodwood Revival, and Concorso Villa D’Este, to name a few. This Cobra participated in some of the world’s most exclusive events and shows during Bartlett’s ownership. The car is fully sorted and an absolute pleasure to drive. The Comp Cobra is certainly docile enough for road use, tours and rallies, or ready for driving a few laps at the track!
Of the 19 production Competition Cobras produced, CSX 3006 checks all the proverbial boxes. An early competition 427 full Comp car that has retained its original aluminum body is virtually unheard of. Additionally, it has a sterling provenance that includes stellar European winning race history piloted by some of the biggest names in sportscar racing. Along with a correct, high-quality restoration, CSX 3006 is arguably the very best and most significant production 427 Competition Cobra in existence.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/am19.