1964 AC "289" Shelby Cobra SOLD

RM Vintage Motorcars in Arizona - Biltmore Resort & Spa, Friday January 19, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $400,000 - $500,000

$550,000 Sold

271bhp, 289 cu. in. overhead valve V8 engine, four-speed Borg Warner T-10 transmission, ladder-type steel tubing chassis with independent front and rear suspension via A-arms, transverse leaf springs and tubular shock absorbers and worm and sector steering box. Wheelbase: 90"

In 1960, race car driver Carroll Shelby, aged 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 third 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 cubic inch example installed in a stock AC Ace.

After Hurlock ’ s blessing 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 Ford “ Cobra ” . The rest, as they say, is history!

CSX 2342, the stunning example offered here, was completed by Shelby American on March 5th, 1964 and is recorded as being delivered to Mr. Jim Brown of Cleveland, Ohio (possibly the Hall of Fame running back and actor, though at the time of printing we were unable to verify this). The original color combination of CSX 2342 was silver with a black interior, and after several years of ownership the current longtime keeper of the Cobra restored the fantastic low mileage example back to its original configuration. The Cobra was stripped down to
alloy skin, all dents, blemishes, and bodywork were taken care of and the car was repainted in its original silver color. The work executed was extremely comprehensive and cost the vendor in excess of $60,000 to bring it to concours level condition. During the restoration, we understand a rare and desirable competition oil pan was
installed on the Cobra. Notably, the Cobra has been a cherished part of the gentleman owner ’ s collection since 1994 and is offered for sale here at the Arizona Biltmore auction for the first time in over 12 years.

The interior, which is still original, has had a cosmetic restoration and the car still retains all of its original Stewart Warner gauges as well as the AM Cobra radio. CSX 2342 is also complete with the original hardtop and plexiglass side windows for the car, all of which are in excellent overall condition. As the overall condition of the Cobra ’ s interior was virtually perfect and showing minimal wear, very little was changed in order to maintain
car ’ s exceptional low mileage appearance. Accordingly, the seats were professionally reupholstered in black leather; however, the bulk of the interior remains original to this day.

The engine and bay were treated to a thorough refreshening in July of 2006, with work including many parts being fully cleaned and/or repainted to correct original specifications that would allow the Cobra to compete in Shelby American events and shows. The owner reports the Cobra remains an outstanding driver and handles flawlessly, a result of its low mileage condition and the care executed by its present and former owners.

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. This low-mileage 289 Cobra is a unique blend of British motoring and American power that seems to work in tandem, perfectly offering its next owners an exhilarating ride in one of the greatest postwar sports cars ever built.

Reference Number 5802

as of 1/9/2007

Car 1964 AC "289" Shelby Cobra
VIN CSX2342 
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