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Despite the 289 Cobra proving to be immensely successful during its racing career, the original Ford 289 V8 reached its limit of reliability at just under 400 horsepower. At the 1963 Nassau Speed Week competition Corvettes were lapping more than nine seconds quicker than the small block Cobras. It was the suggestion of Shelby's leading driver and race engineer, Ken Miles to install an even bigger engine into the petite Cobra.
Initial plans chose the Ford 390 FE V8 with an alloy block, however a switch to Ford's heavier cast iron 427 block was initiated by resistance from the NASCAR division. Despite proven reliability at much higher horsepower figures the block was heavier causing a well needed redesign of the cobra chassis. To ensure the Cobra offered the complete package and with help from Ford's own engineering department the chassis was widened by 5 inches and suspension redesigned to house a far more modern coil spring and fully independent design all round.
Reliable at over 500 horsepower the new 427 cui (7.0l!) proved to be immensely quick by any metric. Due to homologation issues the 427 was only to be raced by privateers. However, that did not hamper the ever-growing competition record of the Cobras.
This example was invoiced new to Shelby American on 10th June 1966 and delivered to its supplying dealership, Dick Brandt Motors by Hayward Ford. From here it was sold to its first owner, Martin Langsam. Purchasing the car in early 1967, Langsam would use the car as his daily driver. A student at a college in Arizona, his use of the car caused quite a stir with the ladies!
Still at college, the car was parked up in late ’68 until it was purchased in 1973 by Brian Classic of London. Importing the car to the UK, the car was returned to the factory where it would be restored over the course of a year and at that time converted to right-hand drive – believed to be the sole factory-converted RHD Shelby 427.
Purchased by John Stevens, the car would be used very sparingly covering no more than 1,300 miles in his nearly 10-year ownership registered as ‘427 COB’ and during this time featuring in many books and magazine articles. The car moved around several European owners, in Switzerland and then Germany before returning to the UK in 1988 when it was purchased by its current owner
In 1990 the car attended the AC Owners Club 40th Anniversary ‘Champion of Champions’ Concours event where it won outright overall.
Since then, the car has been used sparingly, serviced and maintained by Thunder Road Speed Shop and stored in Concours condition. Absolutely in show-winning condition, this unrepeatable RHD Shelby 427 presents superbly ready to be enjoyed by its next custodian, accompanied by its thorough documented history.
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