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Desirable Early Production Example | One of Only 260 BuiltBeatrice McCracken, Maine (acquired new via Portland Motor Sales in 1966)Vaughn Wright, Portland, Maine (acquired circa 1967)Jay Cushman, Windham, Maine (acquired in 1989)David Livingston, Seattle, Washington (acquired from the above in 1989)David Keyes, Bellevue, Washington (acquired from the above in 1992)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2007)
SAAC-17, Oregon, 1992 (First in Class)SAAC-30, California, 2005 (First in Class)
Shelby’s 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 documented by historians, the big-block Cobra has always maintained a special mystique. Just 260 examples of the road-going 427 were ever produced, less than half the production of the original small-block version.
The Cobra presented here is an ideally specified and beautifully restored example of the definitive road-going 427. Its history can be traced to May 1965, when AC Cars Ltd. of England prepared CSX3107 for delivery to Shelby American Inc. in Los Angeles.
Consistent with its build date, this Cobra was equipped with several noteworthy, early production features: a 427 low-rise engine, twin Holley carburetors, “wide-hip” rear fender flares, rectangular taillights, an oil-cooler intake, and Halibrand wheels. According to factory records, CSX3107 was originally finished in Rangoon Red, the most popular color for the model.
On September 17, 1965, CSX3107 was invoiced to Tasca Ford Inc. in East Providence, Rhode Island, at a cost of $6,484.94. Four days later, the Cobra was delivered to Portland Motor Sales in Maine.
Accounts of the car’s earliest history vary, even between editions of the SAAC registry. The most recent edition states that the Cobra was sold new to Beatrice McCracken, who purchased it as a gift for her son, a student at North Yarmouth Academy. Apparently, the young man was soon consuming rear tires at an astounding rate and his mother demanded that the car be sold. At this point, the car’s new owner, or perhaps a dealership sales representative, was involved in a serious accident that damaged the front and driver’s side.
Around 1967, Vaughn Wright of Portland, Maine, acquired the Cobra and repaired the damage so that it could be driven again. Ultimately, he never finished the cosmetic work, and the car was used infrequently. As a result, CSX3107 spent the majority of its first two decades in static storage.
In 1988, Jay Cushman of Windham, Maine, discovered the Cobra, which still had less than 10,000 miles on the odometer. Photographs taken at the time show the car in as-found condition, with dull bare-aluminum bodywork, original upholstery, and Goodyear Blue Dot tires.
Mr. Cushman purchased CSX3107 in 1989 and quickly sold it to Seattle-based collector David Livingston. The Cobra was then entrusted to noted specialist TKO in Provo, Utah, for a complete restoration. The car was disassembled and appropriate repairs were made to address the damage sustained in the 1960s. The Cobra was refinished in red, and, as was fashionable at the time, 427 S/C features were added.
When the restoration was completed in 1992, the Cobra was sold to David Keyes of Bellevue, Washington. During his ownership, the car was shown at SAAC-17 and SAAC-30, earning First in Class awards at each event. The Shelby remained with Mr. Keyes until 2007, when the current owner, a friend and fellow Shelby enthusiast, persuaded him to part with it.
Over the next decade, the consignor enjoyed the car on several Cobra tours in Washington and Oregon. A few years ago, he decided to return CSX3107 to its original appearance and sent it to Cobra specialist Dave Wagner for a comprehensive restoration. During this process, the car was disassembled, stripped to bare metal, and carefully restored to factory specifications. The gearbox and rear end were rebuilt, but the engine, which had covered so few miles, was deemed to be in excellent condition. Since this work was completed in 2017, the Cobra has been driven less than 50 miles.
Significantly, this 427 Cobra retains its Shelby American Inc. engraved data plate, and chassis number stampings are present on the shock tower and opening panels. The consignor reports that the engine, gearbox, and rear end are original to CSX3107 and notes that the engine retains rare details such as the FoMoCo tags on the carburetors. Included with the sale are copies of AC and Shelby American Inc. delivery records, a reprint of the chassis instruction book, a jack, grease gun, soft top, and tonneau covers.
A truly outstanding example of a rare breed, CSX3107 presents an exciting opportunity for collectors in search of a top-tier 427 Cobra. Beautifully finished in its original color scheme, this early production car possesses the qualities one looks for in a Shelby Cobra: a limited roster of knowledgeable caretakers, a factory-correct restoration, and a proper dual-quad 427 under the hood.