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Carroll Shelby’s Personal 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster Sells, Makes History

A historic vehicle just crossed the auction block at Mecum’s Kissimmee event and, as predicted, it wrote history. Carroll Shelby’s personal 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster has changed hands.
Carroll Shelby’s personal, lifelong 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster sells for $5.94 million, including auction taxes 46 photos
Photo: YouTube / Mecum
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Described as a “truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance” to own a Carroll Shelby collectible and the Cobra to occupy “a hallowed place in Cobra history as perhaps the most significant of all,” CSX3178, Shelby’s lifelong Cobra, is now with its third owner. The final price tag was $5.94 million, including auction taxes and, if you’re into automotive-related drama, you can find the entire tense auction in the video at the bottom of the page.

Bought new, CSX3178 is one of only five 427 Cobras originally finished in Charcoal Gray. It was assembled in March 1966 and remained in Shelby’s possession until his death in 2012. During this time, it was driven and loved accordingly by the automotive legend, but also went through a series of changes, including an engine swap when he wanted a bit more power out of it, and two color changes (Guardsman Blue with a gold nose, and red).

The second owner (and seller at the auction), bought it from the Shelby Estate in 2016 and made sure it underwent a complete and faithful restoration, bringing it back to its original form, including the aluminum-head V8 with side-oiler setup, and Toploader 4-speed manual transmission. The restoration process was completed in 2019, and the CSX3178 was presented at Mecum as the main attraction.

Mecum did not offer a public estimate for this historic item, but one could be had by placing a call with the auction house ahead of the event. The only reference offered was the previous sale of another famous Cobra, the CSX2000, which fetched $14 million.

The CSX3178 failed to go as high but, with a final price tag of $5.94 million, it solidified its status as a highly valuable collectible and became one of the most expensive American cars sold at auction.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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