1. 1962 Shelby Cobra

  2. 1962 Shelby Cobra

  3. 1962 Shelby Cobra

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  30. 1962 Shelby Cobra

Lot Number
1962 Shelby Cobra
The Pacific Grove Auction

ESTIMATE: $950,000 - $1,150,000
• Extremely rare as 1 of only 75 first-generation 260 Cobras
• Presents with the original engine, transmission and body panels
• Representing the genesis of the Shelby American legend
• Tested by Tom McCahill for August 1963 Mechanix Illustrated
• Owned and enjoyed by the same owner since 1976
• Restored by Jeff’s Resurrections to exceptional standards
• Incredibly correct benchmark example in original black on black livery

260 cid Ford V-8 engine, four-barrel carburetor, 260 BHP at 5,800 RPM, Borg-Warner T10 aluminum-case four-speed manual transmission, chassis with independent front and rear suspension via A-arms, transverse leaf springs and tubular shock absorbers, four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes; wheelbase: 90"

Without doubt, Carroll Shelby’s AC Ace-derived Cobra roadster remains the single most important American performance icon of the 20th Century. As the spearhead that successfully launched Ford Motor Company’s fledgling “Total Performance” corporate racing program onto the international stage during the early 1960s, the Cobra marked a crucial step in Shelby American’s 1965 FIA GT championship with the Daytona Coupe and Ford’s eventual dominance over Ferrari at Le Mans with the 1-2-3 GT40 finish in 1966. While volumes have been written about the exploits of Shelby, the Cobra, and its larger-than-life drivers and crewmen, suffice it to say that from the Cobra’s first win at Riverside – a convincing 1-2 in January 1963, motor racing changed forever.

In all, Shelby American produced 654 small-block Cobras in growing numbers from 1962 through 1965, including 579 289-powered cars and 75 of the earliest cars with original 260-cid engine. Among those historic, early 260-powered Cobras stands CSX2061, the example offered here, which benefits from single ownership since the mid-1970s and detailed, expert-level restoration in factory-specified colors.

Documented in the Shelby Registry, CSX2061 was finished in black over black livery and billed by AC Cars to Shelby American on December 21, 1962. Notably, CSX2061 was the first Cobra by chassis number recorded with the comment, “Exhaust headers and manifold piping to mufflers” on the invoice issued by AC to Shelby American. Following assembly at AC in England, the Cobra was shipped to Los Angeles and invoiced on March 11, 1963 to Ford dealer Grant Motor Co. of St. Petersburg, Florida at a base price of $5,095 plus desirable features including aluminum rocker covers ($35.40), Wind wings ($13.97), sun visors ($15.04), front bumper ($23.97), rear bumper ($26.97), chrome exhaust tips ($4.25), chrome hood latches ($14.09), heater ($62), a luggage rack ($29), chrome air cleaner ($11.25), seat belts ($29), and Goodyear racing tires ($171.23) for a total of $5,531.17 and a $6,600.55 MSRP. According to the Shelby Registry, the Cobra was driven, rather than shipped, to St. Petersburg, Florida, and the car was reportedly intended for the dealer himself, Bill Grant, Jr.

Interestingly, CSX2061 was the cover car for the August 1963 edition of Mechanix Illustrated, with a highly entertaining article penned by pioneering road tester Tom McCahill. Pictured with Shelby American’s large, round early-style Cobra badges and mounting 5.5-inch painted wire wheels, CSX2061 was put through its paces by McCahill, who wrote it was “...a real hairy-chested, swashbuckling little rat that will snap Gramp’s head right off his shoulders if you hit the go pedal when he isn’t ready.” The Cobra was pictured on the magazine’s cover blasting through the sand along the St. Petersburg coastline and as noted by McCahill, “…in hard cornering and bends this job bites in and holds like a nailed-in toupee…On smooth pavement it flies like a magic carpet and its brakes will wrestle you down from better than 100 mph faster than your stomach can understand.” Prophetically, McCahill declared, “…I for one feel the Cobra will make quite a name for itself before it reaches retirement age.”

By the mid-1970s, the Cobra was repainted in red and then purchased by the consignor from a Ford dealer in Ogden, Utah during early 1976. He had first seen it over the Christmas holidays of 1975/1976 while on a skiing trip, and having already possessed racing experience, found the Cobra to be an ideal high-performance car well-suited to autocross competition. In fact, he earned the SCCA Panamerican Region B/Stock Autocross championship with the Cobra in 1977. Other racing entries included the A/Stock autocross at the May 1977 Tulsa, Oklahoma SAAC Mid-America meet and an entry at the August 1978 Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca, California, where the Cobra was photographed in action, closely dicing with a Ferrari 250 GTO. Around this time, CSX2061 had accumulated just over 50,000 miles and, in 1978, the Cobra accompanied the consignor to an Army posting from Texas to the Judge Advocate General’s Office in Falls Church, Virginia. However, the often-rainy weather conditions stymied further attempts at racing the car. A growing family and the need for more sedate transportation dictated the Cobra’s limited use and storage until the 2011, when it was completely and professionally restored to show-quality standards and down to the last nut and bolt by Jeff Snyder and his staff at Jeff’s Resurrections of Taylor, Texas.

In addition to total disassembly and a bare-metal body strip and refinish, the Cobra was returned to its factory original black-on-black livery. All fasteners were correctly re-plated or refinished, the heater was rebuilt and detailed, leaf springs wrapped in cloth as original at AC, and factory chalk markings expertly replicated. Unlike many surviving Cobras today, CSX2061 retains its original body panels, its original 260-cid Ford small-block V-8 engine, which was rebuilt, plus the original aluminum-case Borg-Warner T10 four-speed manual transmission and the original differential. All other components are either refurbished original items or New Old Stock (NOS) equivalents, lending exceptional authenticity to this rare early Cobra’s incomparable character. As offered, this beautifully restored, early “slab-side” 260 Cobra is correct, down to fine details including the minute windshield washer nozzles. As offered, the black paint finish remains excellent and the car’s visual appearance is consistent with an excellent, highly detailed restoration. Appropriately following completion in 2012, the Cobra returned to Laguna Seca to take part in the 50th Anniversary of the Cobra celebrations held during the Monterey Historic Races. Numerous accolades have been earned on the show field for CSX 2061, which is regared as one of the most pure examples of its kind. Accompanied by before-and-after restoration and racing images and an original owner’s manual, CSX2061 is, simply put, an exceptionally rare, investment-grade early Cobra ready to anchor any fine collection of historic race-bred automotive icons.

1962 Shelby Cobra
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