Monterey 2024

1966 Shelby 427 Cobra


$1,000,000 - $1,300,000 USD  | Offered Without Reserve

United States | Monterey, California



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Chassis No.
CSX 3259
Canadian Registration
  • Fully restored, correctly specified example of the ultimate American sports car
  • Documented in the SAAC World Registry with well-known ownership history
  • Formerly owned by British Touring Car Champion Frank Sytner
  • Powered by the legendary 427-cu.-in. "Side-Oiler" V-8 engine
  • Previous cosmetic restoration by noted Shelby guru Mike McCluskey of California

Rooted in the brilliant racing career and boundless grit of its creator Carroll Shelby, the Shelby Cobra is unquestionably one of the most important high-performance American cars of the 20th century. It singlehandedly vaulted Ford Motor Company’s corporate racing program onto the international stage with its dominance over archrival Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1960s.

Under Shelby’s leadership, and with the help of Ken Miles, Phil Remington, Pete Brock, and other racing luminaries of the period, Ford-powered Cobras won virtually anywhere and everywhere they raced. Brutally fast and dead-reliable, the Cobra took the US Manufacturer’s Championship three years running—1963, 1964, and 1965—and with the sleek Pete Brock-designed Daytona Coupe bodywork, Shelby American Inc. won the hotly contested 1965 FIA World Manufacturer’s Championship.

Uncompromising and fiercely aggressive on the racetrack, the 289 Cobra with its 289-cubic-inch V-8 was an instant icon, yet Shelby knew that to stay competitive, it was essential to continually increase power. Enter Ford’s mighty 427 engine: a big-block monster of otherworldly power. Shelby was initially promised a new aluminum-block version of Ford’s 390 FE engine, but corporate infighting at Dearborn left him with an allotment of the heavier cast-iron-block 427. The new Cobra creation debuted at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1964, driven by Ken Miles. While early handling challenges clearly needed addressing, the tremendous performance potential was unmistakable.

Shelby’s team then set about creating a chassis capable of handling the 427-cubic-inch behemoth’s increased power and weight. The revised design featured a four-inch tube frame and seven-inch wider body with larger fenders. Ford engineers crafted a highly sophisticated coil-over suspension, all within the original 90-inch wheelbase. Dubbed the 427 Cobra in a staff meeting on 7 April 1965, Shelby’s big-block beasts were never mass-produced, with just over 300 built. The cars were incomprehensibly fast, and driving one today is as mind-bending of an experience as ever.

CSX 3259

The 427 Cobra presented here, chassis number CSX 3259, is a stunning, genuine street Cobra that enjoys both excellent history and outstanding preparation. According to the Shelby American World Registry, it was originally billed by AC Cars to Shelby American on 12 April 1966, before being invoiced to Stark Hickey Ford, of Royal Oak, Michigan, in suburban Detroit, for $6,275 on 30 June. It was sold to its original owner, Jim Rayl of Kokomo, Indiana, in August 1966 and remained in the United States until the 1970s. It appeared at the First Annual Brown County, Indiana, Shelby American Automobile Club meet in 1978 and is said to have accumulated only 21,700 miles by 1979.

The car went to the West Coast for a few years, having been purchased by Nick de Courville of California, and was exported to England in August 1981, then later sold to Michael Burgel of Germany in 1982, who registered it as BO-W8. While mostly street driven, it was raced occasionally in European Cobra events. Later, it was acquired by Frank Sytner, the 1988 British Touring Car Champion, before its return to the United States.

In 2003, Doug Johnson acquired the car, and the chassis was prepared for entry into the Monterey Historics where it contacted a guardrail in competition. Following the incident, the Cobra was completely restored and has since been shown numerous times.

In 2014, the Cobra underwent a comprehensive cosmetic restoration by noted Shelby guru Mike McCluskey of California. It was refinished to its original “street car” configuration in red over black Connolly leather, just as it was when new, with proper Smiths gauges and Lucas ammeter set in a stock dashboard, as well as correct seat upholstery and carpeting. The 427 “side-oiler” was fitted with a C-6 code aluminum intake, as well as a single four-barrel carburetor and cast-aluminum Cobra valve covers. Correct Halibrand wheels with BF Goodrich performance tires complete the ensemble.

Under previous ownership, the car received a major tune-up by RM Auto Restoration, which included the installation of high-performance pushrods.

With a well-documented chain of ownership from new and work by numerous marque experts to bring it to the highest levels of presentation, CSX 3259 offers an exceptional avenue into the ranks of 427 Cobra ownership.