1967 Shelby 427 S/C Cobra Roadster RoadsterSOLD

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

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ESTIMATE: $950,000 - $1,250,000

$1,430,000 Sold

One of Only 30 Semi-Competition Cobras Built, the ex-John Mozart Collection 427, a Genuine and Fully Documented Example

427 cu. in. “ medium-riser ” overhead valve V8 engine, 10.4:1 compression ratio on 1 x 4v Holley carburetor and developing approximately 485 bhp, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension; upper and lower A-arms on coil spring. Koni tubular shock absorbers and anti-sway bars, rack & pinion steering and four-wheel alloy caliper Girling disc brakes. Wheelbase: 90"

A LEGEND AND HIS COBRAS

In 1960, racing 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, in which he scored a fine third place. Shelby ’ s self-enforced “ cold turkey ” was hard to take after the glamour and personal challenge of an international racing career. Pursuing new interests, he 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 – in September, 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 had an early 221 cubic inch 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 Ford “ Cobra ” . The rest is, as they say, history.

THE S/C 427 COBRA – “ THE FASTEST PRODUCTION CAR EVER MADE ”

Although the 289 Cobra was well proven in competition, by the mid sixties, it was becoming clear that something else was needed. Every year, more power was required to stay competitive, and Ford ’ s 289 had reached its reliability limit at around 380 or 390 horsepower.

In many respects, the father of the 427 Cobra was racing driver and development engineer Ken Miles who thought the idea of a bigger engine might work for the Cobra, especially if winning in SCCA ’ s A Production Class was the aim. If there was any doubt about the need, it was eliminated when the Shelby team went to Nassau for Speed Week in 1963 where they were confronted with Chevrolet ’ s new Corvette Grand Sport, which was more than nine seconds a lap faster than the Cobras.

Although Shelby had been promised a new aluminum block version of Ford ’ s 390 engine, internal resistance developed from the NASCAR faction inside Ford and Shelby was forced to make do with the cast iron 427. Reliable at 500 hp, the engine was so much heavier that a complete redesign of the chassis was required to ensure that the car would handle properly. The result was a new larger chassis, five inches wider, with coil springs all around. With the help of Ford ’ s engineering department, the necessary work was done, and the 427 Cobra was born.

As with all his cars, Shelby intended to see that they were winners on the track. In order to qualify as a production car under FIA rules for the GT class, manufacturers were required to produce a minimum of 100 examples. With Shelby ’ s strong relationship with privateer racers, he was confident he could sell that many, and as a result, a competition spec version of the new 427 was announced.

Competition features included an expanded body to accommodate wider wheels and tires, an oil cooler, side exhaust, external fuel filler, front jacking points, roll bar, and a special 42-gallon fuel tank.

Anticipating FIA approval, Shelby placed an order with AC for 100 of these competition 427 Cobras. Each was finished in primer, with a black interior, and air shipped to Shelby ’ s facilities upon completion. Unfortunately, on April 29th 1965, when the FIA inspectors arrived they found just 51 cars completed and denied Shelby the homologation he needed. Oddly enough, the same fate befell Ferrari; his 250 LM, which was intended to replace the GTO, was also denied approval. As a result, both of these archrivals were forced to return to the previous year ’ s cars for the upcoming season.

Once Shelby knew that the FIA was not going to allow the new 427 Cobra to compete in the GT class, he cancelled his order for the remaining competition cars, and AC reverted to the production of street cars.

Meanwhile, in June of 1965, the FIA decided to juggle its classification system, and a new class called “ Competition GT ” was created as the production requirement was lowered to 50 – coincidentally, one less than the number of 427 competition cars built at the time of the FIA inspection.

The rule change created another problem for Shelby – it put his Cobra in the same class as Ford ’ s GT40. Since Shelby was running that program for Ford, there was a clear conflict of interest, not to mention a disparity in performance. To resolve it, Shelby agreed not to campaign his own car, leaving it in the hands of the privateers.

By this time, 53 competition chassis had been completed by AC (Chassis # CSX 3001 through CSX 3053), and of those, 16 had been sold to private teams. The first two were retained as prototypes, and one chassis (CSX 3027) was sent to Ford Engineering.

The remaining 34 chassis were something of a problem for Shelby. Parked outside Shelby ’ s L.A. warehouse, they were proving difficult to sell. Seeing the cars prompted Shelby ’ s east coast representative, Charles Beidler to suggest that they be painted and completed as street cars, and marketed as the fastest street car ever built. The idea worked, and the 427 S/C, or Semi-Competition was born.

While the cars were being converted for street use, three more orders were received for Competition Cars, for a total of just 19 full Comp 427 Cobras. The cars were brutally fast, and driving one was an exhilarating experience. One of the most memorable stories about the 427 Cobra surrounds a test that was arranged for Sports Car Graphic magazine by Ken Miles. A few years earlier, Aston Martin had bragged that their racing cars were capable of accelerating from 0-100 mph to zero in less than 20 seconds. Miles had the idea to restage the test using the new 427 Cobra. The result, according to SCG editor Jerry Titus, was an astounding 13.2 seconds.

THE HISTORY OF “ SEMI-COMPETITION ” COBRA # CSX 3045

A well known and fully documented, no stories S/C, CSX # 3045 is actually pictured three times in the Shelby American World Registry – in 1967, then with early owner Peter Bayer on page 252; page 251 shows a nice on- track shot (Car # 288) with early 1980s owner Jere Clark at the wheel and again in the present owner ’ s driveway, shortly after taking delivery in 1995.

The Cobra presented here was invoiced to Shelby American on February 23, 1965 and completed to S/C specification under Work Order # 15103. On April 21, 1966, Shelby American received an order for an S/C model including a request to install a modified race exhaust system to be delivered to the customer, a Mr. Hall, on May 31st. Likely “ Mr. Hall ” did not actually take delivery or kept the Cobra on its MSO since the next recorded owner, Peter Bayer, acquired # 3045 as payment for promotional work done on behalf of dealer Larsen Ford of White Plains, NY and was the first to register this car in 1967. Doug Carsen of Rimersburg, PA who is believed to have raced this particular S/C in several SCCA events, became the next owner.

In the mid-1970s, John Parlante of Whitestone, NY began some restoration work prior to passing the S/C to Geoff Howard in 1978 who completed the work including the Guardsman Blue paint scheme. By 1979 it was offered for sale with 10,400 miles: “ Fresh restoration, all competition options, polished Halibrands – expensive! ” Well known historic and Cobra collector Jere Clark of Phoenix, AZ bought the car, installed Arizona plate “ 427 S/C ” and went vintage racing.

At SAAC-5 in Dearborn, Michigan, # 3045 won first place in the Competition Shelby Popular vote category, after which Dick Smith gave a white-knuckled Rick Kopec an on-track demo-drive at 185 mph! In the spring of 1983 the car was sold to European Coachworks and then on to Cobra aficionado George Stauffer of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin who advertised it as “ A real S/C, has run at Laguna Seca several times and ready to win more historic races. Guardsman Blue, fuel cell, not for the timid ” .

Bob Jordan of Investment Motorsports bought the S/C before passing it, in 1986, to Carl Schwartz of Grand Blanc, MI. For the next eight years, beginning in 1988, # 3045 resided in the famous John Mozart Collection where it was subjected to a full restoration carried out to his impeccably high standards. It was contracted to Mike Giddings of Robin Automotive in Northern California who refurbished the suspension, braking systems, rear end and transmission as well as doing all of the final assembly and detailing. The original engine was rebuilt and dynoed by Elgin Cams and Tech Craft, with the paint work handled by Scott Veazie Restoration Services of Los Angeles, CA.

In December of 1994 the current owner assigned Cobra expert Dave Dralle of Redondo Beach, CA to carry out an inspection prior to his purchase of the car from John Mozart in early 1995. Although the car was then, as it is now, in show condition, much post-purchase detail work as well as meticulous servicing was carried out by both Cobra Restorers Ltd. (GA) and Conover Racing & Restoration Inc. (PA) during the next decade. A dossier of invoicing for this work, totaling $23,013 will accompany the sale of the car.

This proved to be money well spent as # 3045 won a Gold at the 1998 SAAC Convention in Charlotte, NC plus Best Cobra and Best Comp Cobra at SAAC Ann Arbor, MI in 1999 in addition to many regional SAAC Show First Place Awards.

With only 30 Shelby 427 Semi-Competition Cobras built, these raucous roadsters are seldom offered for public sale. It is even more unusual to find a genuine, 17,000 mile S/C with this car ’ s perfect provenance and stunning appearance, providing here a very tempting purchase consideration for a serious collector of American racing history.

Reference Number 5820

as of 1/10/2007

Overview
Car 1967 Shelby 427 S/C Cobra Roadster Roadster
VIN CSX 3045 
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