2022 | Amelia Island Auction
1966 Shelby 427 Cobra
$1,200,000 - $1,400,000
One of Only 260 Road-Going 427 Cobras Built
Desirable Early Production Features; Well-Documented History
Upgraded with S/C Features
Offered from Current Ownership of over 20 Years
Accompanied by Soft Top, Side Curtains, Wind Wings, Jack, Restoration Photographs, Owner’s Handbook, and Dyno Sheets
427 CID OHV V-8 Engine
Twin Holley 4-Barrel 600 CFM Carburetors
Estimated 500 BHP at 5,900 RPM
4-Speed “Top-Loader” Gearbox
4-Wheel Girling Disc Brakes
4-Wheel Fully Independent Suspension with A-Arms, Coil Springs, and Tube Shock Absorbers
Chris Keefe, New York, New York (acquired new via Larsen Ford Sales in 1966)
Jim Gottfried, Iowa (acquired in late 1960s)
Chris Hartwig, Appleton, Wisconsin (acquired from the above in late 1960s)
Mike Gaffney, Bloomington, Illinois (acquired from the above in 1974)
Richard De Jarld, Illinois (acquired from the above in 1975)
Bob Jordan, Chicago, Illinois (acquired in 1987)
Bob Lee, Rolling Hills, California (acquired from the above in 1988)
John Leonard, Georgia (acquired circa 1990)
Current Owner (acquired in 2000)
Northern Illinois Cobra Club Concours, 1975 (First Place)
There is little doubt that the Shelby 427 Cobra is among the most recognizable, beloved, and imitated sports cars of all time. While the origins of the legendary model have been well established and the entire production run carefully documented by devoted historians, the big-block Cobra has always maintained a special mystique.
The road-going 427 Cobra was a natural evolution of the original 289, with its idealized sports car proportions, sculpted rear haunches, and high-performance Ford V-8. Not only was the big-block Cobra one of the most aggressive-looking sports cars of its day, the 2,350 lb., 425 hp, tube-frame Cobra offered unforgettable performance and demanded the respect of accomplished professional drivers.
The fact that the 427 Cobra could be used as a practical road car was often overlooked in favor of its ability to spin its rear wheels at 100 mph and achieve awe-inspiring performance figures. Ken Miles’ famed 13.8-second 0–100–0 run in a production 427 Cobra remained the ultimate performance benchmark for more than two decades. In total, just 260 examples of the road-going 427 were ever built; less than half the total production of the original 289.
The Cobra presented here, chassis CSX 3192, has a well-known ownership history back to new and is now fitted with desirable S/C features, making it a superb example of the definitive road-going 427. According to the World Registry of Cobras & GT40s, the history of this Cobra begins in September 1965, when AC Cars Ltd. of England prepared CSX 3192 for delivery to Shelby American Inc. in Los Angeles. A copy of the AC Cars Ltd. invoice remains on file. The official Shelby work order for CSX 3192 opened on December 8, 1965, and closed when the completed Cobra received its finishing touches on January 11, 1966.
3100-Series Cobras such as this car were typically equipped with several noteworthy, early production features such as a 427 low-rise engine, twin Holley four-barrel carburetors, chrome pent-roof valve covers, and a rear-exit exhaust system. Outwardly, they featured standard “wide-hip” rear fender flares, small rectangular AC taillights, an oil-cooler intake, and the Pete Brock-designed 7 1/2" Kelsey-Hayes Sunburst aluminum wheels. Originally finished in brilliant silver paintwork with black leather upholstery, CSX 3192 carries the distinction of being one of only 26 big-block Cobras delivered in this attractive livery.
On January 11, 1966, CSX 3192 was invoiced to Larsen Ford Sales in White Plains, New York, at a cost of $6,413. Upon delivery, Larsen made several minor warranty repairs and in February, the new Shelby Cobra was sold to its first owner, Chris Keefe. It is thought that Mr. Keefe sold CSX 3192 in 1967 when he purchased chassis CSX 3041. In the late 1960s, the Cobra was owned by Chris Hartwig of Appleton, Wisconsin, and when he advertised it for sale in 1974, the ad read as follows: “1966 427 Cobra, CSX3192. Mint condition, 14,000 miles, side pipes, roll bar, oil-cooler, plus many parts from wrecked CSX3202.” In 1975, the Cobra was owned by Richard De Jarld of Illinois, and CSX 3192 won the concours event at the Northern Illinois Cobra Club meet that August.
By 1990, the Cobra was owned by John Leonard of Georgia who sent the car to Torrance, California, for a nearly 1,000-hour concours restoration overseen by some of the most respected names in the Cobra world, including paint and bodywork by Bruce Kimmins and a mechanical rebuild by Dave Dralle. In 1999, the Cobra was offered for sale, with an ad that read: “980 hour concours restoration of an original, excellent history, 19,000 mile car, all S/C mods completed to original specs, body prepared by Kimmins, suspension by Dralle, 590 Dyno hp by Kasse. If you want the best nut and bolt restoration, this is the car.” The current owner purchased the Cobra in 2000 and for the last 22 years it has remained in his impressive collection of vintage sports and racing cars.
A truly outstanding example of a rare breed, CSX 3192 presents an exciting opportunity for collectors in search of a top-tier 427 Cobra. Beautifully finished in black over a black interior, the roll bar, side pipes, and hood scoop add to the Cobra’s menacing and competition-oriented appearance. Its stunning condition, early production features, very clear and known history make CSX 3192 undoubtedly one of the most appealing 427 Cobras to appear at auction in many years. As such, this Cobra is deserving of a place in the most discerning collections.