Hidden Discoveries at The Scottsdale Auctions, 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra

Estimate: $1,000,000 - $1,400,000 | Without ReserveChassis: CSX2436*Please note this vehicle is titled as a 1965 Ford.Desirable Late-Production 289 CobraSingle Ownership for 40 YearsHighly Authentic and Unrestored “Barn Find”Documented History in the Shelby RegistryAn Unqualified Sports Car Legend

LITERATURESAAC World Registry of Cobras & GT40s, 4th Edition, listed pp. 47 and 62.THIS CAR

Having risen to the pinnacle of motor sports as a Le Mans-winning co-driver for Aston Martin in 1959, famed American racing driver Carroll Shelby faced retirement in 1960 at age 37. While his self-enforced departure from driving was undoubtedly very difficult, Shelby quickly established several business ventures, eventually securing Goodyear’s West Coast racing tire distributorship in 1960 and opening a racing school in Riverside, California, the next year.The financial success generated from these projects allowed Shelby to pursue his long-held dream of building his own car. Since Shelby achieved his first SCCA racing win driving a Cadillac-powered Allard J2 in 1952, he planned to combine a proven existing chassis with American V-8 power and reliability. While having already come tantalizingly close in 1959 with the promising but ill-fated Scaglietti Corvette, Shelby was unable to obtain the blessing of Chevrolet management, which refused to support a potential Corvette challenger.British manufacturer AC and its John Tojeiro-designed Ace roadster looked promising for Shelby, especially since AC was faced with engine supplier Bristol’s looming cancellation of its excellent BMW-derived, 2.0-liter six-cylinder engine. A brilliant road car and formidable track competitor, the Ace-Bristol won three successive SCCA E-Production championships between 1957 and 1959 and two D-Production championships in 1960 and 1961. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ace-Bristols finished 2nd in Class during 1957 and 1958. The next year, an Ace-Bristol scored both a class victory and took 7th place overall at Le Mans.

Astutely, Shelby thought the attractive, lightweight, and well-proven Ace could become an even bigger success with an infusion of V-8 power. In September 1961, Shelby wrote Charles Hurlock of AC Cars proposing a hybrid car using the Ace body and chassis; Hurlock in turn expressed interest in participating, if a suitable V-8 were available. Shelby moved quickly when Hot Rod magazine editor Ray Brock told him of Ford’s new lightweight small-block V-8. Soon, Shelby had an early 221 cid unit married to a stock AC Ace, with the compact Ford V-8 weighing just a few pounds more than the Bristol. The 221 was soon enlarged to 260 cid for the Falcon Sprint and Ford engineer Dave Evans arranged for shipment of a pair of the new engines to Shelby, who immediately had them air freighted to the UK. Carroll Shelby then few to England to test drive the new car, which he dubbed the “Cobra” on February 1, 1962. In so doing, he forever changed motoring and racing history.

In all, Shelby American produced 654 small-block Cobras (579 289-powered cars and 75 with the 260 engine). Changes implemented during production were driven by the many lessons learned on the racetrack. Among them were precise rack and pinion steering, a Ford electrical system and alternator, Stewart-Warner gauges, a self-adjusting hand brake, a dual-reservoir brake master cylinder, and front-fender vents to aid engine cooling.

While small-block Cobras utilized somewhat anachronistic transverse leaf-spring underpinnings, this setup worked very well and contributed prominently to their excellent driving dynamics. As recently discussed by Shelby expert Colin Comer in The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles, “Should you be fortunate enough to find yourself behind the wheel of a good leaf-spring Cobra, you’ll find it’s an experience anybody who even remotely enjoys driving will likely never forget.”Numbered CSX 2436 and documented in the Shelby American World Registry, this highly authentic 289 Cobra marks an outstanding “barn find” example, factory equipped with all of the aforementioned upgrades and improvements applied to the Cobra during the model’s production run. Originally finished in Rouge Iris with beige upholstery, CSX 2436 was billed to Shelby American on May 14, 1964, shipped to Los Angeles on May 26th aboard the SS Diemerdyk, and invoiced on August 24, 1964, to Greenwich, Connecticut’s Town & Country Motors, Inc. The Cobra was equipped with the “Class A” accessory package, including WSW tires, luggage rack, antifreeze, a radio, and antenna, and shipping – all for a total cost of $5,812.31. Air freighted to Connecticut by TWA, CSX 2436 was purchased by Timothy Crowley, for whom the Town & Country dealership requested a dash plaque on December 9, 1964.

The Cobra’s next known owner was James Wallerstein of White Plains, New York, from whom it eventually passed to Ed Jurist’s Vintage Car Store of Nyack, New York, on July 16, 1971. Peter DeSilva of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, purchased the Cobra for a reported $5,000 in September 1971, with the car listed in the SAAC Registry as having been finished in black with a beige interior, equipped with 6″ painted wire wheels and a Raydyot rearview mirror, and with approximately 30,000 miles registered on the odometer at the time. In 1974, Mr. DeSilva traded CSX 2436 to his friend Sy Allen, who then moved to Vermont, where he established a dirt, oval racing track. At this point, the Cobra was placed on jacks and stored with the top up inside of Allen’s heated barn/workshop where it remained secluded and out of sight for 40 years.A remarkable time capsule example, the Cobra’s prior Rouge Iris lacquer paint finish is revealed in the various areas around the car where the black paint has faked of. With the Cobra thankfully retaining almost all of the small and extremely hard-to-find detail items that are usually replaced during restoration, the interior remains unrestored along with the undisturbed engine bay. The 289 engine has been serviced and returned to running condition. Standing proudly as a late-production 289 Cobra with rack and pinion steering and desirable factory upgrades, CSX 2436 is simply irreplaceable as one of precious few Cobras remaining in such wonderfully preserved condition today.

Scottsdale AuctionsScottsdale Fashion Square4700 N. Scottsdale RoadCorner of N. Scottsdale Road and E. Highland Ave.Scottsdale, Arizona