Finding an original Shelby Cobra in today’s day and age is like finding a red diamond; while they are still available, they’re rarely an original. One of the most beloved racing cars of the 1960s, the Shelby Cobra happens to be one of the most replicated cars in history. And so when an original Shelby Cobra goes up for grabs, collectors around the world might want to pay attention.
The 1966 Cobra 427 Mk III went up for auction at Bring a Trailer, a platform known to showcase some of the best, classic vintage car models. The Cobra comes with the original invoice which documents the original price of the car at US $7,852.80; the bidding for the Cobra currently sits at US $950,000.
Cobra through the years
According to Bring a Trailer, there were approximately 260 street-specification Mark III examples produced. One of them was this particular model with chassis no. 3283 that Shelby American acquired from AC Cars Limited in 1966. The car was delivered to its first owner on November 15, 1966, who went about upgrading the model by adding performance-oriented modifications. These included a Holman Moody-built side-oiler mill equipped with twin four-barrel carburettors, a four-speed manual transmission, a dual rear-exit exhaust system and coil-spring suspension.
The car went through many hands, undergoing minute changes with every new owner. In 2013, the car was refurbished once again giving it a repaint in the classic factory shade of green, and adding black leather upholstery to the interior, along with an overhaul of the engine with a replacement block. Additional changes included adding a four-speed manual transmission, coil-spring suspension, 4”-diameter main frame tubes, aluminium bodywork with flared fenders, centre-lock aluminium “sunburst” wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, and a dual rear-exit exhaust system.
The classic green hue of the Cobra’s exterior is complemented by a sleek black interior. The cockpit is trimmed in black leather upholstery with fixed-back bucket seats. Features like black latch-and-link lap belts, tinted sun visors, Leveroll seat sliders, a console-mounted ashtray, and a glovebox are included along with a black zippered tonneau cover. A sleek wood-rimmed steering wheel sits by a collection of instrumentation including a reverse-sweep 180mph speedometer and an 8krpm tachometer. The speedometer was replaced in April 1967 at 1,555 miles, as per the car’s SAAC registry entry.
Engine and power
The Cobra is powered by a four-speed manual transmission which was added during one of the car’s upgrades in the mid-2010s. The double-wishbone independent suspension setup uses coil springs over tubular shock absorbers at each corner with an anti-roll bar up front. A replacement exhaust system with stainless-steel headers was also installed in 1995 in England.