Slotting a Ford V-8 engine into the chassis of an AC Ace proved to be a brilliant idea for Carroll Shelby, and the Shelby Cobra quickly proved to not only win on the track on Sunday but sell on Monday, becoming one of the most iconic sports cars of its era in the process. Making its way through a 260 cu. in. V-8 engine to a 289 cu. in. power plant, a new, stronger coil-suspended chassis was introduced in 1965 to fit the big-block 427 cu. in. V-8, which in race trim could produce in excess of 450 bhp. Wider bodywork, extended wheel-arch flares, and a bigger radiator intake combined to create the legendarily aggressive and often-mimicked 427 Cobra persona.
Built in May of 1966, chassis number CSX 3237 was originally finished in red with a black interior and fitted with a 428 cu. in. V-8. Its first known owner, according to the SAAC World Registry of Cobras & GT40s, was J. Rhoades Moore of Enid, Oklahoma. The car remained with Moore until it was sold to another Oklahoma-based owner, French Hickman, in the early 1970s, at which time it was reported to have been refinished in blue.
In the 1980s CSX 3237 was refinished in its original red and equipped with a handful of updates, including an oil cooler, hood scoop, quick jacks, black side pipes, and custom roll bar. Passing through a few subsequent owners, the car was finally purchased by Phil Combs of California in December of that year. At that time the car was sent to renowned Cobra restorer Mike McCluskey for a full restoration, where it was returned to factory-original specification. Afterwards CSX 3237 was sold to an owner in Japan in the 1990s, where it remained for a few years before returning to the U.S.
Purchased by Mr. Fonvielle roughly five years ago, CSX 3237 was shipped to the renowned Cobra specialists at Curt Vogt’s Cobra Automotive of Wallingford, Connecticut, for a full restoration. Restored with a brief to be a show winner but also ready to drive and enjoy on long-distance tours at a moment’s notice, no expense was spared in bringing this Cobra to brilliant condition. All original components were rebuilt or upgraded during the restoration, and the car is fitted with proper leather seats, correct Wilton carpeting, the original steering wheel and air splitter, as well as custom exhaust headers. After the engine was rebuilt for high performance and touring, a dyno test showed 460 bhp was produced at the crankshaft. It is accompanied today by extensive documentation, an owner’s manual, jack, grease gun, top irons and convertible top, side curtains, tonneau cover, and a spare set of Halibrand wheels and tires in addition to the original Sunburst wheels with Avon tires (including a trunk-mounted Sunburst spare wheel).
A true performance-car icon in every sense, a well-prepared 427 Cobra is a staple of every collection. This example checks all the right boxes and is ready for whatever its next owner has in store, be it long-distance cruising or the concours lawn. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo19.