Auctions and Brokerage
*Please note this vehicle is titled as a Ford. Please also note that neither a tool kit nor a jack accompanies the sale of this car.
Herb Wyman, Los Gatos, CaliforniaRandy Francis, Beaverton, Oregon (acquired from the above July 1971)John Francis, Beaverton, Oregon (acquired from the above)Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired circa 1987)Tang Frieddhelm, Bad Godesberg, Germany (acquired circa 2000)Bill Gardiner, East Hampton, New York (acquired in June 2005)Lynn Park, La Cañada, California (acquired from the above in 2009)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
While the story of how Carroll Shelby combined Ford’s powerful new small-block V-8 engine with AC’s lithe Ace roadster to create the Cobra is well known, the early success of his inspired Anglo-American hybrid owes much to the early press coverage it received. Of all the early articles on the Cobra, Shelby is said to have cited the May 1962 edition of Sports Car Graphic and its feature on the new Cobra as being primarily responsible for generating the early demand and excitement for the first-generation Cobra. In the article, John Christy’s evaluation of his drive in the 260-powered CSX 2000 made it easy for virtually anyone with a pulse to grasp the Cobra’s brilliance: “We spent a day playing with the car and can safely say that it is one of the most impressive production sports cars we’ve ever driven. Its acceleration, even with the much mal-treated and dynamometer-thrashed single four-barrel engine, can only be described as explosive…”
The Cobra’s purpose was racing, especially in American SCCA ranks and international FIA Grand Touring classes, with Shelby gunning for Ferrari in particular. As the new cars were completed in Shelby’s California facilities, many headed straight to the track. The first 75 cars were powered by the 260 cid Ford V-8, which was quickly enlarged to 289 cid. In racing tune, it delivered up to 385 hp in a car weighing just 2,000 lbs. – some 500 fewer than the Corvette. On the track, the Cobra gave the Corvette camp endless fits, starting with Dave MacDonald’s first victory at Riverside on February 2, 1963. There, MacDonald smoked a field of Corvettes, Jaguars, Porsches, and Maseratis; from that moment, every red-blooded sports car aficionado in the US wanted a Shelby Cobra.
Documented in the Shelby American World Registry and numbered CSX 2390, this 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra was billed by the UK’s AC Cars to Shelby American on April 7, 1964, and shipped to Los Angeles aboard the S.S. Hoyhanger. On June 22, 1964, it was invoiced to Los Gatos, California, and freighted by truck to California-based dealer Paul Swanson, Inc., equipped with the “Class A” accessory package, including white sidewall tires, antifreeze, and outside rearview mirror, for a total of $5,533.25. The Cobra remained on Swanson’s lot alongside another, no. CSX 2382, until approximately August 31, 1964. According the SAAC Registry, CSX 2390 was sold to first owner Herb Wyman, also of Los Gatos, who retained the Cobra until July 1971. Then, it was acquired by Randy Francis of Beaverton, Oregon, through whose ownership it quickly passed to his son John Francis, of Damerow Ford in Beaverton.
Eventually, CSX 2390 was sold to Europe, and nothing more is known of its intervening history until it was offered for sale in Switzerland during December 1987. In 2000, CSX 2390 was owned by Tang Freiddhelm in Germany and, during early 2005, it was advertised for sale and reported to retain its original black upholstery, Cobra radio, top, side curtains, jack, unopened tool kit, and the bulk of its original red paint finish. Stated mileage at the time was approximately 13,000 miles. Next, the Cobra was purchased by Bill Gardiner of East Hampton, New York, who had it flown back to the US in June 2005. The following caretaker of CSX 2390 was noted Cobra enthusiast, collector, and racer Lynn Park of La Cañada, California, who performed light maintenance and placed the low-mileage Cobra into his noted private collection, using it only sparingly. Having acquired the phenomenal 289 in 2011, the consignor followed the example of all of CSX 2390’s caring owners by maintaining the Cobra beautifully and striving to preserve its wonderful highly original and unrestored condition. This is likely one of the finest unrestored Cobras extant and presents a unique opportunity to the well-heeled collector.