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Carroll Shelby’s 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 Heads to Auction in January

Little did he know back then, but Carroll Shelby went on from chicken farmer to 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and one of the most legendary figures in the automotive industry. Of the many cars he owned through the decades, this 427 Cobra is arguably the most expensive of the lot.
Carroll Shelby’s 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 (CSX3178) 46 photos
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CSX3178 is one of five 427-ci (7.0-liter) models finished in Charcoal Gray from the factory, and Carroll owned this Cobra from the day it was assembled in March 1966 to his death in 2012. Purchased by the seller from the Shelby estate in 2016, the big-block roadster was restored from the ground up last year.

The original body and chassis are complemented by an aluminum-head V8 with a side-oiler setup and dual four-barrel carburetors, translating to 385 horsepower or thereabouts. All that suck-squeeze-bang-blow is channeled to the Sunburst knock-off wheels at the rear by a Ford-developed Toploader transmission, a four-speed stick shift that’s renowned for being very stout.

From 1972 to the period-correct restoration in 2019, the car used to feature a Ford C6 three-speed automatic transmission and two paint jobs. From the original Charcoal Gray, CSX3178 switched to Guardsman Blue with a gold nose in 1972 and red paintwork at some point during Carroll’s ownership.

Even though CSX2000 is the most desirable Cobra out there because it got the ball rolling with a small-block V8, this fellow is certain to sell for big bucks. The first-ever Shelby Cobra hammered four years ago for the princely sum of $13.75 million, including auction fees, and I’m pretty certain CSX3178 is a multi-million dollar collectible as well given its provenance.

Kissimmee 2021 is where Mecum will try to sell this open-top unicorn with a detailed history in the Shelby Registry. The vehicle is joined by copies of the Shelby American invoice, AC Cars invoice, and miscellaneous items like a picture of Carroll and Dan Gurney posing next to the car.

 
 
 
 
 

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