In 1960, race car driver Carroll Shelby, at the age of 37, was diagnosed with a heart condition. After only eight years of successful motor racing, including a first overall for Aston Martin in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, Shelby was forced to think about retirement. One more race beckoned before he would hang up his helmet, the LA Times-Mirror Grand Prix at Riverside where he scored a fine 3rd place. Shelby’s self-enforced “cold-turkey” approach was hard to take after the glamour and personal challenge of an international racing career. Pursuing new interests, Shelby tried drilling wildcat oil wells and started a Texas trucking company. In 1961, still bored, he became the West Coast Goodyear Racing tire distributor and formed a motor racing school at Riverside Raceway in California.
Now with a steady flow of cash, Shelby was at last positioned to pursue the long held dream of building his own sports car. Carroll Shelby’s many years of racing had taught him what worked and what did not, and the idea of a hybrid sports car fascinated him. Since the Brits had styling, road holding and superb brakes and the Yanks held the horsepower advantage, why not combine these traits for a “best of both worlds” concept? Of course, Shelby did not originate the idea – postwar Allards, Cunninghams and Nash-Healeys come to mind, but he did it better than anyone before, or thereafter, for that matter. After considering Austin-Healey, Jensen and Bristol, he heard that AC, builders of the stylish and sturdy Ace-Bristol Sports Cars, had lost their engine supplier when Bristol ceased production. Timing was everything, and in September of 1961 Shelby wrote Charles Hurlock of AC Cars to propose a hybrid car using the AC sports car body and chassis. “I’m interested,” wrote Hurlock, “if a suitable V8 could be found”. Shelby moved quickly when editor Ray Brock of Hot Rod magazine told him of Ford’s new lightweight V8 and soon Shelby had an early 221 cu. in. example installed in a stock AC Ace.
The V8 weighed only a few more pounds than the six-cylinder Bristol. Ford engineer Dave Evans offered Shelby more good news, a high performance 260 cubic inch version was already in production for Ford’s Falcon and two engines would be on the way to him soon. These were immediately sent by airfreight overseas and on February 1, 1962, Carroll Shelby flew to England to test drive the new Shelby “Cobra.” The rest, as they say, is history!
These fantastic 289 Cobras are just that – fantastic, they offer the Cobra enthusiast a purebred gorgeous car without sacrificing any speed or quickness, while gaining an added dimension of comfort, ease and style. Both driver and passenger can ride at high speeds, have a conversation and not burn their ankles on the way to dinner, giving the 289 Cobra a refined quality the 427 cannot match.
CSX2328 presents an unprecedented opportunity to acquire the very “best of the best” Shelby American Cobra with absolute, undisputed “no stories”, and most significant is the highly desirable “late” production accouterments including; 289 cubic inch engine, rack and pinion steering, Ford electricals with alternator power, front fender side vents, and all the final incarnation refinement of the last production run of “small block” Cobras.
In addition, to the pristine unblemished, fully documented ownership history, the proven Concours level quality restoration showcases the very best talents of the most notable Cobra authorities on planet earth. All have contributed for many years to ensure the ultimate level of pristine presentation and quality workmanship exemplified on this vehicle.
As one would expect, a full, authentic, numbers matching drivetrain with all original body skin and framework, original number stampings and every attention to detail; from the fiber wrapped leaf springs, to correct paint and finishes on foot boxes, rear trunk well, etc. all fully documented with extensive restoration photos. Proof of the fastidious application of the often mis-understood term “restored”, from the very framework up, to the bare aluminum body shell, including the engine, all are photo documented.
An equally impressive and exceedingly rare group of original paperwork documents accompany this Cobra, including; original Dealership Invoice, original owner payment checks, and photos of the very first day of delivery and unimaginable first drive! Of course, all applicable document copies from the Shelby American Club are also included, along with awards ribbon and Concours Show Programs.
This is the ultimate “collector’s grade” Cobra for the most discriminating enthusiast. With a “no stories”, unblemished, documented history and stunning restoration to original specifications, rarely if ever seen before documentation, and proven show pedigree, there simply is not better Cobra to define the auspicious and elusive term: “once in a lifetime”.