1966 Shelby Cobra
Year of manufacture1966
William Huber, Bellflower, California (acquired in 1966)
Jon Stockholm, San Diego, California (acquired by 1981)
Keith Harvie, Los Angeles, California (acquired by 1983)
Miles d’Arcy-Irvine, Salisbury, UK (acquired from the above circa 1989)
Keith Harvie, Camarillo, California (reacquired from the above by 1996)
The Shelby American, issue 48, p. 55
The story of how Carroll Shelby installed a Ford engine in a British roadster and challenged the might of Ferrari has become one of automotive history’s most legendary tales. The Shelby Cobra evolved through several body styles and configurations over the years, but perhaps none is so adored as the ultimate iteration of the original roadster, which boasted a more powerful big-block motor and an advanced coil-spring suspension.
Benefiting from low mileage and a short chain of caretakers, including two long-term periods of ownership, this minimally driven Cobra is one of the finest restored coil-spring examples to be offered in recent memory. Chassis CSX3283 is one of only 260 coil-spring Cobras built in period. According to the Shelby American, the Cobra originally featured a 428 cid engine, Sunburst wheels, standard fender flares, a competition oil-cooler mouth, no hood scoop, and a paint finish in green over a black interior. Confirmed by a heritage certificate sourced from AC Cars Ltd., this color combination is authentically worn today.
Dispatched from England on July 9, 1966, the roadster was shipped to Carroll Shelby’s Los Angeles performance shop to receive the numerous upgrades that would transform it into a Cobra. An original Shelby American delivery receipt confirms the car was sold in September 1966 to Hi-Performance Motors in Los Angeles. Two months later, CSX3283 was purchased by William Huber of nearby Bellflower, who traded in a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette 427 (as detailed by an original purchase contract). A file of invoices confirms that Mr. Huber was a typically sporting Shelby customer, as he immediately began outfitting the car with upgraded competition equipment.
Most significantly, in April 1967, the owner installed a 427 CID V-8 built by the respected tuners Holman Moody, documented with receipts and an original Holman Moody engine manual. A month later, Huber purchased racing tires from Parnelli Jones Firestone and, in July, he sourced performance tube headers from the Jardine Header Company. These components were further supplemented by the acquisition of Halibrand magnesium wheels from Carroll Shelby Enterprises in September 1968.
In spite of all these competition improvements, it appears that Huber never entered any formal racing events, though he drove the Cobra in a handful of local tours staged by the Foreign Car Club of America. The Shelby accrued only modest mileage before being stored in 1970, and a string of registration cards demonstrates that Huber retained possession for another 10 years before offering the car for sale. His advertisement at the time noted 22,000 miles on the odometer, the presence of the original seats, top, and side curtains, a racing-specification suspension with KONI shock absorbers, and a 10-quart racing oil pan.
In 1981, the Shelby was purchased by Jon Stockholm of San Diego, and within two years it passed to Keith Harvie, who at the time lived in Los Angeles. A British expatriate, Mr. Harvie is best known among American performance enthusiasts for his California-based discount parts catalogue business of the 1980s, PAW (Parts Automotive Wholesale). He is also a dedicated enthusiast of premium Ford-powered sports cars, having owned a Shelby Mustang, a GT40 Mk I, and at least two other Cobras. Mr. Harvie maintained CSX3283 for six years before selling it around 1989 to fellow Englishman Miles d’Arcy-Irvine, an investment banker based in Salisbury, UK.
Mr. D’Arcy-Irvine took a number of steps toward renewing the Cobra, bolstering its provenance by sourcing a heritage certificate from AC Cars Ltd. He then commissioned a sympathetic restoration by local business VeeTech that included a full refurbishment of the cylinder heads with new stainless steel valves, springs, bearings, rings, and gaskets. The exhaust ports were gas-flowed, the intake manifold was repaired, and the clutch, master cylinder, and fuel pump were replaced. The suspension was refurbished, the front brakes addressed, and a new exhaust system was installed. Documented with invoices, the restoration was completed with a concours-level detailing of the paint, chrome, wheels, and interior.
In December 1996, Mr. Harvie reacquired CSX3283 from Mr. D’Arcy-Irvine in a transaction arranged through an intermediary British dealer, with the odometer displaying 29,415 miles. The car then returned to Southern California and remained with Mr. Harvie through at least 2012.
After joining the consignor’s significant collection a few years later, the Cobra was treated to a full restoration with an emphasis on dialing in the car for maximum driving pleasure. A new 427 CID block was sourced and the engine was built using components from the Holman Moody engine. Significant effort was made to calibrate the motor for maximum torque and smoothness around town, and it developed 433 hp at 5,700 rpm (with 477 lbs./ft. of torque available at 4,100 rpm) when tested on a dynamometer in February 2015. Additionally, all mechanical and chassis systems were reportedly rebuilt (or sublet to be rebuilt) by the consignor’s staff as needed, including the gearbox, brakes, and suspension.
Cosmetically, the car was refreshed in the original color scheme, with a local upholsterer commissioned to re-trim the cockpit with black leather and carpets. A bare-metal repaint in the original shade of green was entrusted to the specialists at Colour Restoration in Loveland, Colorado, chosen because the company’s proprietor, Glenn Watt, apprenticed for many years under respected Cobra restorer Bill Murray. During its photo-documented work, Colour Restoration determined the rocker panels to be quite solid and found that the outer body required very little new metal. The beautiful refurbishment was completed with the mounting of proper Shelby Sunburst wheels.
Prepared to deliver driving thrills to the next caretaker, this Cobra 427 currently displays 29,534 miles. The car is accompanied by the original Goodyear Blue Dot-mounted spare wheel and a soft top. Its file contains fascinating documentation, such as the original Shelby American delivery receipt, original purchase contract, and invoices from celebrated performance brands like Holman Moody, Carroll Shelby Enterprises, and Parnelli Jones Firestone.
CSX3283 now invites connoisseurs of top-shelf American horsepower to experience one of Carroll Shelby’s most celebrated models. This car is confirmed by the Shelby American Registry to benefit from a documented chain of just five private owners over 52 years, and presents beautifully in its original color scheme. The 427 can be exhibited at Shelby gatherings and major concours d’elegance, or driven for sheer enjoyment, offering a minimally used and impressively restored example of a veritable automotive legend.