Monterey | Lot 341
1964 Shelby 289 Cobra
$995,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
14 August 2021
- An investment-grade, highly authentic, late-production 289 Cobra
- Retains its numbers-matching body and engine
- Benefits from a photo documented, meticulous restoration competed in 2016 and recently freshened
- Documented history by the SAAC Registry and copies of its factory documentation, invoices, and sales literature
- Multiple concours exhibitions, including a Palmetto Award at Hilton Head
In the early 1960s, there were two schools of thought concerning performance cars. American cars were known for their size, power, and straight-line performance. Meanwhile, European cars were small, lithe, and focused on finesse through handling. A few companies, such as Allard, Cunningham, and Nash-Healey, believed that blending these two schools of thought would make for an incredible sports car, and they succeeded to some degree. However, none saw a level of success akin to Carroll Shelby and his now immortal Cobra.
Shelby’s fame and success is owed to his third iteration of the AC-bodied Cobra, which utilized Ford’s new 289-cubic-inch V-8, that provided the perfect balance of handling and raw power. Rated at 306 horsepower, the 289 was tasked with propelling a car that weighed only 2,000 pounds. With such exciting performance, it is no wonder that the Cobra became an instant success, making both Cobra and Carroll Shelby household names and, ultimately, besting Ferrari to bring the FIA International GT Championship to the United States for the first time in 1965.
On 24 February 1964, AC Cars Limited invoiced Ford Motor Credit for a Cobra body finished in red with black trim, top, tonneau, and rack-and-pinion steering. CSX 2328 left the UK aboard the SS Potosi for arrival in Los Angeles by 28 March. Upon arrival in California, it was transported to Shelby American in Venice, California, where it received its 289-cubic-inch Ford V-8. Additional “Group A” and “Group B” factory equipment provided by Shelby American is listed on an accompanying invoice to dealer Cherner Motor Company in Washington D.C. dated 8 April for a cost of $4,791 USD.
Notable items specified include tinted sun visors, white sidewall tires, aluminum rocker arm covers, and a Smith heater. This Cobra also received a bevy of chromed fittings including an air cleaner, luggage rack, and front and rear bumper guards. The window sticker from Cherner lists CSX 2328 as a 1965 Cobra Sports Roadster at an MSRP of $6,704 USD.
On 29 October 1964, CSX 2328 was purchased from Cherner by Dodge Olmsted of Arlington, Virginia. Olmsted, obviously an astute Cobra enthusiast, later traded in the car to Archway Motors in Baltimore, Maryland towards his purchase of CSX 3173. As listed in the SAAC registry, the car then passed through a series of midwestern custodians until arriving under the care of Peter Leon. He kept this Cobra until 1986, whence it passed to Seymour Levin of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, who restored the car himself during his first several years of ownership.
After 24 years with Levin, CSX 2328 was acquired by its next owner in 2010 and was mechanically refreshed prior to being resold. Five years later the car was reacquired, and beginning in 2015, was treated to a complete year-long restoration executed by marque specialists Legendary Motorcar Company Ltd., of Ontario, Canada. This restoration work is documented in a series of photographs which accompany the sale. With restoration underway, CSX 2328 was taken down to bare metal, with significant attention paid to rebuilds of all major mechanical systems, executed in parallel to a factory-correct refinishing in red over black leather, as originally delivered when new.
Since completion of this high-level restoration, this 289 Cobra has been exhibited at some of the most exclusive concours in America, including a Palmetto Award-winning outing at the 2017 Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance; it was also a crowd-pleasing entrant at the 2018 edition of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
A late-production 289 example, CSX 2328 is equipped with rack-and-pinion steering, factory side vents, and Ford electrics with Stewart Warner gauges, a combination considered the most desirable of all 289 Cobras. Copies of factory invoices and sales literature illustrate that CSX 2328 retains its numbers-matching 289 cubic-inch V-8 engine. Observable date codes on the powertrain are clues to this example’s high degree of originality, as are the factory serial stampings on the car’s hood and trunk latches.
This superb small-block Cobra is now accompanied by copies of its factory documentation, sales literature, and a color photo with its original owner. In addition, included are restoration photos, tools, chrome wire mounted spare, a canvas soft top, and jack. Recent freshening has included a new set of chrome wire wheels wrapped in period-correct Michelin XWX tires.
This is a superb 289 Cobra for a discriminating collector. It boasts a known history since new, and an excellent restoration to original specifications, in addition to its fantastic documentation and proven show pedigree. It is, perhaps, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.