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.