1967 Shelby Cobra 427 VIN CSX 3279 Full body-off concours restoration by Canepa
One of 359 original Shelby 427 Cobras
SAAC Registry documented Cobra
Original Sunburst wheels
427-cubic inch side-oiler V8 engine rebuilt by Roush Performance
4-speed manual transmission
Only 11,360 original miles
Powerful, lightweight, and an American icon, the Shelby 427 Cobra was the brainchild of sports car builder Carroll Shelby. Realizing that the 289 Cobra had more potential than was currently available, he moved forward with dropping a 427-cubic inch V8 into the aluminum body and tube-frame chassis. While the aluminum body and frame had to be widened and lengthened and the chassis updated to hold the newfound power, the upgrades would yield a car that would become synonymous with lightweight performance and racecar-like handling.
According to the Shelby American World Registry, CSX 3279 was billed to Shelby American on June 10th, 1966, and is noted as being originally finished in green acrylic paint with a black interior. It was then billed from Shelby to Ron's Ford Sales of Bristol, Tennessee, for a total cost of $6,386.50.
Geoff Howard of Danbury, Connecticut, would become the Cobra's first known owner, after acquiring it in 1975 and restoring it from 1975 to 1976. It was at this time that the present 427-cubic inch, side-oiler V8 engine with medium rise heads and dual quad carburetors were installed, replacing the original 428-cubic inch power plant at the time. The car was refinished in dark green acrylic, but retaining its original interior and Sunburst wheels. Following the completion of its restoration, the Cobra was offered for sale in early 1977 by Howard.
The car's next owner would be Ken Brenneman of Clarendon Hills, Illinois. CSX 3279 would see limited street usage by Brenneman, and it was well preserved in his custody. In 2000, it received a cosmetic and mechanical refreshening to the tune of $30,000, and during this time it was finished in blue with a single silver stripe and chrome side pipes, as well as adding a competition fuel filler. Shortly thereafter, it was acquired in early 2002 by Donald C. Fort of Jacksonville, Florida, and it is believed that the car was repainted in green with a single white stripe during his ownership.
The Cobra would then be purchased from Fort by Sam Pack in 2008.
CSX 3279 was then acquired by Canepa in November of 2014, where it would then begin a two year, body-off concours restoration.
Canepa has it for sale.
1964 Shelby Cobra 289 VIN CSX 2518 Authentic rack & pinion street Cobra
Restored both mechanically and cosmetically
Concours-level black paint work performed by Canepa
Documented in the Shelby Cobra Registry
1,511 miles since restoration
CSX 2518 first came through Canepa's doors by Roger Werner Jr. of Greenwich, CT, founder of Speedvision and Outdoor Life Network. Owning the car since 1997, he would have Cobra Automotive of Wallingford, CT take care of his car during his ownership. When he decided to let the Cobra move onto the next lucky owner, with Roger and Bruce Canepa being long-time friends, the 289 Cobra quickly found its new home at Canepa. Immediately after arriving, the car was immediately put through the "Canepa Difference" process.
The entire chassis was cleaned by hand, as well as the interior, engine bay and trunk. The Cobra had been restored in Guardsman Blue within the past decade, but Bruce made the decision to take the Cobra to the next level of fit and finish and quality. Fully serviced and cleaned, Canepa began the process of gracing the Cobra with its new concours-level paint work, because nothing is more sinister than an all-black Shelby Cobra.
Canepa began with disassembling the car, removing all trim and components for paint work. With making the decision to paint the Cobra black, an immense amount of effort and time was put into the panel gaps and fitment of panels, with the bodylines finished to a concours level. The entire car was block sanded multiple times to ensure an incredibly smooth surface, and prepped to receive a flawless, deep black finish. With the paint process well under way, most of the chrome pieces on the car were rechromed to bring back their stunning shine. FIA alloy wheels were refinished in black and added to the car, and the roll bar was powder coated black to blend in with the rest of the Cobra.
When done, the Shelby was reassembled, buffed and polished to a concours-level, and final touches made to create a truly menacing and stunning Shelby 289 Cobra. This level of prep and work is only accomplished with 500 plus hours of labor by the most skilled craftsmen. Canepa also installed a new convertible top with restored framing and sourced new side curtains, and the car now is presented as a stunning example of what a Shelby 289 Cobra should look like.
For Sale at Canepa's.
McKee Mk3 which was ordered by Shelby. Shelby (and I assume Ford) had a suspicion that the first two McKee cars were back door Chevrolet projects like the Chaparrals. They weren't but Shelby ordered a car for Bob Johnson. It was specified to be able to use a 289, a 427, or an Indy 4 cam Ford engine. It was wrecked and rebuilt twice, the last time with a nose borrowed from Dan Gurney's Lotus 19. Eventually it was sold to Tom Payne and Dan Gerber as the Gerber-Payne Special which Dan drove in several races.
‘CSX3259’ is listed in the Shelby American World Registry. Originally finished in red with black interior, the car was invoiced to Stark Hickey Ford of Royal Oak, Michigan, on 30th June 1966 for $6275. '3259' was purchased by its first private owner, Jim Rayl of Kokomo, Indiana, in August 1966. By the early 1970s, the car had been sold to William C. Link of Bloomington, Indiana, who advertised it for sale in 1973 as follows: "1966 Cobra 427 roadster, candy apple red, Halibrand mags, new Goodyear G-70's, 15,000 miles. Asking $7500."
Unable to find a buyer, Link kept the car and repainted it in maroon with a white nose and center stripe. He offered the car for sale again in the fall of 1978 for $40,000. According to the Shelby Registry, the Cobra's next recorded owner was Nick de Courville, of California. This must have been a short-lived affair, for ‘3259’ was again on the market in the spring of 1979, this time with 20,600 miles on the lot at Beverly Hills Porsche-Audi.
Mr. Richard Wright of West Hollywood purchased the car for $53,129 and registered it in California. A registration card from this period confirms Mr. Wright had the car registered in California through at least February 1980. Wright exported '3259' to England in 1981, possibly for an unknown buyer. Period photos show the car looking very original and displaying its blue California registration plates ‘126 XEG’. By 1983 the car had been acquired by Dr. Michael Bürgel, in Germany, who registered the Cobra with the plate "BO-W8".
When acquired by Bürgel the car was very original. Completely restored by him in the mid-1980s, it was returned to its original red with black interior and converted to S/C specification at the same time. The car received numerous upgrades, notably quadruple Weber carburetors, side exit exhaust, a roll over bar and a hood scoop. During its European ownership period, '3259' was likely fitted with the replacement Ford service block it retains today. Bürgel enjoyed the car for nearly two decades during which ‘3259’ became well known in European Cobra circles. Its next owner, noted historic racer Frank Sytner, reimported the car to the United States in 2002.
Subsequent to its return, the Cobra has benefited from an extensive mechanical and cosmetic restoration performed by Stewart Hall of Hall Fabrication & Racing of Benicia, California. During 2003-2008, nearly every mechanical system of the car was addressed with a no-expense-spared approach, in order to prepare the car for vintage racing competition. Cosmetically the car was finished to exacting show standards and is consequently ready to show or to be driven in anger. Hall’s work is completely documented with receipts in excess of $300,000 accompanying the history file, all of which may be viewed upon request.
During its lifetime ‘3259’ has mainly been driven on the road with occasional use in track events. The car is offered with an extensive history file including a letter from AC Cars confirming that the chassis was shipped to Carroll Shelby in April 1966. Also included are sundry invoices, documentation from the car’s European ownership period, various old registrations and sales paperwork documenting the chain of ownership, and photos of the body stamp in various locations including the trunk latch, hood latch, and both door hinges.
This Cobra, recently accepted to the prestigious Monterey Historic Automobile Races, would likely be welcomed at any vintage race or Concours event in the world. A genuine 427 Cobra, with a documented and unblemished history from new, is something to stand up and take notice of. This example, benefiting from a meticulous recent restoration, will be sure to impress its new owner, no matter his intentions. This lot is also offered with a likely original extra set of Halibrand mag wheels and tires.
“First FIA Win Cobra”
This 1963 Factory Team Cobra Le Mans Roadster was the first Cobra to “draw blood” in the famous Cobra-Ferrari Wars of the 1960s. Three Factory Team cars were built specifically for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. Designated “Cobra Le Mans,” these three cars had more than 40 modifications that set them apart from standard racing Cobras. CSX2137 is the most significant of these cars, which were campaigned from September 1963 through February 1966. Dan Gurney drove it to win at Bridgehampton, N.Y., in September of 1963. It was the first FIA World Sportscar championship win for the fledgling Shelby American Team, and the first FIA win for an American driver in an American car.
Gurney’s victory marked the beginning of the famous Cobra-Ferrari Wars that culminated when Shelby American defeated Ferrari to win the championship in 1965, the first and only time for an American team. CSX2137 went on to win three first-place victories as a Shelby American Factory Team car, and two additional wins as an independent race Cobra. In addition to Gurney, drivers of CSX2137 included Bob Holbert, Bob Bondurant and Lew Spencer.
Since Le Mans has unique rules, strictly enforced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, more than 40 changes – many of them designed to enhance performance during long distance events, of course – were made to these cars. Most obvious are the larger front and rear fender flares, an integral (not riveted) hood scoop with no screen inside, and the bigger vents in the front fenders to get hot air out of the engine compartment. A 37-gallon fuel tank was also fitted, with a wider-necked filler. Because the FIA rules required the wheels and tires to lie within the bodywork (seen from above), large curved aluminum spats were riveted into place behind the front fender openings. Under the hood stood four Weber DC48IDM carburetors, with a larger aluminum radiator, modified steering arms and the rack-and-pinion steering gear to reduce driver fatigue during long races.
In the cockpit, a proper fiberglass race seat held the driver in place. Smiths instruments were fitted, and switches across the bottom of the dash controlled the ignition, two electric fuel pumps, and the lights, plus the differential cooler, windshield wipers and panel lights. The original black Dymo labels are still on the panel. As in other cars intended to run at Le Mans, the starter switch is mounted left of the steering wheel, and, of course, there is no ignition key.
Unique to this series of six cars is the shorter, bottom-hinged trunk lid, designed to allow the fitting of an aerodynamic hardtop, which extended back over the original trunk opening. The rear of the hardtop was secured at the two holes in front of the trunk latch, which also served to attach bungee cords when the hardtop was not used. The top had side vents behind the sliding Plexiglas side windows. The resulting drag reduction let these Cobras achieve higher speeds on the 3.7-mile-long Mulsanne Straight. The aluminum hardtop was bolted to the windshield frame and to the convertible top attachment sockets at the rear of each door. Because the hardtop covered the original gas filler, the cap had to be re-installed high in the roof, with a tube leading downward to the original filler neck. For the convenience of fuelers at Le Mans and other long-distance events, and to keep fuel away from the driver, the filler was also moved rightward. After Skip Hudson was injured at Daytona in 1963 when a flywheel exploded, Shelby went back to a stronger, cast-iron bellhousing and transmission case and added a driveshaft safety loop.
Ironically, despite its name, CSX2137 never raced at Le Mans. Instead, it ran five FIA and USRRC races in fall 1963 as a Shelby team car. Its initiation came at the Elkhart Lake USRRC race in September, when it was driven by Bob Johnson and Lew Spencer to sixth overall and second in the GT class. Gurney’s win a week later in the Bridgehampton Double 500, the final FIA event of the season, was the highlight of the car’s year.
Shelby had sent three cars east for Gurney, Bob Holbert and Ken Miles to drive in that weekend’s pair of 500-km races. Saturday saw Gurney, Holbert and Miles forming the front row of the grid. Holbert was in the lead on lap19 when a half-shaft failed, putting him out. Gurney then took over, and he and second-place Miles lapped the entire field – including Mark Donohue in a TVR – except for the Jaguar of Walt Hansgen, who would later join the Holman-Moody GT40 squad. For the cool-down lap, pit crew members Jim Culleton and Red Rose joined Holbert, Shelby, Bob Johnson and Louis Unser in hanging out two pit boards chalked with “BEER” and “TIME.” In their joy, they accidentally switched them, so the sign read “TIME BEER,” though the message was unmistakable.
Illustrating the team’s progress during the year, Gurney said that he found this Cobra much faster than the one he’d driven at Sebring (CSX2128) back in March. For the Sunday race at Bridgehampton, Gurney switched to a NART Ferrari, so Holbert drove CSX2137. Unfortunately, he tangled with a Porsche RS60, and both cars retired. That fall, CSX2137 also won under Holbert in a USRRC event at Mid-Ohio and with Bob Bondurant in a one-hour GT race at Riverside.
Shelby never let any grass grow under fast cars that could attract customer money, so in February 1964, CSX2137 was sold for $8,250 to independent racer Ralph Noseda, who had just co-driven it with Jeff Stevens at Daytona, settling for a DNF after 202 laps, due to a fuel leak. The Miami-based caterer painted the car red and campaigned it with factory assistance under his “Hot Shoppes” banner throughout 1964 and 1965, mainly in USRRC events but also at Daytona, Sebring and Nassau. Noseda kept the car busy, but since he often faced the Shelby American factory team, he was usually relegated to the “best of the rest” category. His best finishes were wins in SCCA National events at Daytona and West Palm Beach in late 1965.
Meanwhile, the last race for CSX2137 had come in 1968, at Riverside, under new owners Tom and Ray Caruthers, who later advertised the car for sale for $3,750. Later, when Bill Murray restored the car, he brought it back to its original specification. Indeed, the car’s now-chipped windshield still carries faded but original decals from Daytona and Sebring.
Text excerpted from “Shelby Cars in Detail, Cars of the Shelby American Collection” by Frank Barrett with photography by Boyd Jaynes. Find out how to obtain your own copy of this magnificent book at www.bullpublishing.com