Of all the great 1960s sports cars, few are as influential or as infamous as the legendary Shelby Cobra. A fortunate partnership between AC and their lightweight British sports car and Le Mans-winning driver Carroll Shelby resulted in the latest Ford lightweight V-8 sitting in the European fettled chassis of the Ace.
The result of this transplant contributed enormously to Ford’s motorsport dominance of International Sports Car racing during the late 1960s. European chassis dynamics partnered with the power of the new V-8 meant that in competition trim, Cobras achieved an impressive record.
The 260ci (4.2-litre) prototype first ran in January 1962, with production commencing later that year. Exclusively for the USA initially, Cobras - minus engines - were sent from England to be finished off by Shelby in California, and it was not until late in 1963 that AC Cars in Thames Ditton got around to building the first fully finished cars to European specification. After 75 cars had been built, the 289ci (4.7-litre) unit was standardised in 1963. Rack-and-pinion steering was the next major up-date; then in 1965 a new, stronger, coil-suspended chassis was introduced to accommodate Ford's 427ci (7.0-litre) V8, an engine that in race trim was capable of producing well in excess of 400bhp. Wider bodywork, extended wheelarch flares and a bigger radiator intake combined to create the definitive - and much copied - Cobra 427 look.
This 1965 specification Shelby Cobra 289 was built by UK racing Cobra specialist Steve Gilbey, clearly using only the very best components available with no expense spared. Equipped with latest and highly competitive FIA specification 289 Cobra race engine built by Steve Warrior. The power is driven to the rear wheels by an equally capable competition T10 gearbox by another UK based Cobra specialist, Gary Spencer, who is also responsible for the high-quality uprights, hubs, sub axles and leaf springs fitted on the car. At the corners of the car, the wheels and brakes were supplied by Crosswaite & Gardener, who were additionally responsible for the diff casing.
Presenting in the attractive specification of Blu Genziana metallic (a Ferrari colour), complimented by the centre white stripes, the paintwork was entirely bespoke, costing over £10k and was completed by Normadale. It’s not just the specification that was adapted to mirror this period example, in fact, a further £25k was spent with Lawrence Kett of GA Fabrications on bespoke bodywork modifications to mirror the exact specification of the Willment Racing Team 1964 Goodwood Tourist Trophy entry, even including the Le Mans hardtop. The chassis and aluminium bodywork were provided by Kirkham.
Inside of the car, the interior is complimented by a gorgeous blue corduroy fabric in the centre of the lightweight Tillet racing seats (driver & passenger) and blue leatherette on the remainder of the seat. Also equipped is of course the roll cage, built by Andy Robinson, and additionally is equipped with VBOX Video HD2, Monit G200 GPS rally computer and Stilo DG-10 noise cancelling intercom system making the car ready for rallies such as the Tour Auto and Modena Cento Ore.
The specification list is remarkable and going to the fine details such an aircraft quality wiring loom, by Adrian Butt, shows just how much care was taken into the build of this car. The build was finished in April of 2021 and since then has only seen 6.5 hours of test running.
The additional spares complimenting the car is as follows; oil cooler, clutch kit, drive shaft, 4x wheels fitted with tyres, brake ducts, and both silenced and unsilenced systems by ELWELD.
Presenting on the button with fresh HTP papers, valid until 31.12.2033, this stunning creation of the ever-famous Cobra is ready to be enjoyed on the track by its next custodian and is physically available to view by appointment here at our showrooms just outside of London.
Please note, the cherished number plate '20AW' is not included in the sale.