1967 Shelby 427 Cobra
Lot 843 | Passion for the Drive: The Cars of Jim Taylor | Estimate: $1,200,000 - $1,400,000
Chassis No. CSX 3299
Carroll Shelby's entire career, some may say his entire existence, was spent in the bold pursuit of power; wringing more of it out of an automobile was his singular focus. The 289 Cobra having been taken to its developmental limits, it was supplanted by the brawny 427 V-8 to keep the car competitive against the Corvette Grand Sports and other potent competition. In fact the 427 Cobra was largely a new automobile, with an entire new frame developed, using wider four-inch tubes and coil spring suspension at all four corners, alongside new bodywork using larger, more muscular fenders, and an enlarged radiator opening with an air splitter.
Early examples of the 427 Cobra were fitted with the namesake 427-cubic-inch 'side-oiler' engine, but the supply of powerplants was soon absorbed by NASCAR and GT40s. Later in the production run, 100 roadgoing 427 Cobras were equipped with the 428-cubic-inch Police Interceptor unit, which was more readily available. Nonetheless all these cars were still identified by the instantly recognizable 427 badging on their front fenders, and all were brutally powerful machines.
Finished originally in acrylic Guardsman Blue, CSX 3299, one of the very last '428 Cobras,' was billed to Shelby American on January 31, 1967, then on that same date to the Marshall Motor Company of Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Following warranty repairs to the right-side muffler and a scratch on the lower right rocker panel, it was sold later in 1967 to original owner William Wicks of Columbus, Ohio. Driven infrequently, it then passed in 1968 with 1,930 miles to James Coleman, also of Ohio. Mr. Coleman would drive the car just over 3,000 miles in two summers, then put it away in his garage on jackstands, took the inner panels out to strip the undercoating, and then let it sit for thirty years. In 2005 it was retrieved from the garage, in exchange for cash towards a child's college fund and a Ferrari Testarossa, and sold to Jim Taylor, who became only the third owner since new.
Soon after acquisition Mr. Taylor decided he wanted the Cobra set up for touring and submitted the car to Joe Ranalli for proper sorting. The Cobra was very thoroughly rebuilt mechanically. Its original 428 V-8, complete with original exhaust manifolds, was removed to a stand, and for driving purposes a 'bulletproof' fresh new 427 V-8 was built in its stead with all-new parts including block, crank, pistons, rods, and cylinder heads, as well as an added oil cooler, Holley four-barrel carburetor, large-pulley alternator, and performance exhaust with short-tube headers. The original 428 PI engine is included with the sale of the car.
While the body is once again its original color of Guardsman Blue and the Wilton carpets were replaced, the car retains its original leather seat upholstery, door panels, and 1966-dated Impact three-inch lap belts, as well as the original 'sunburst' wheels and three-bar aluminum knock-offs. Within the dashboard are all the original gauges and switches. The chrome and emblems are original throughout, and in fact the car not only has its original top with side curtains and tonneau, but even the original windshield, wind wings, sun visors, and Talbot side-view mirror. The hood and trunk latches and doors are still the originals as is the transmission tunnel, all stamped with the chassis number, and the car retains its original chassis number plate. The jack, top irons, grease gun, and spare wheel are all still in the trunk. Even the unusual Cobra Trico windshield washer bottle is in place under the hood.
At the time of cataloguing the car showed 7,360 actual miles, and is accompanied by all its aforementioned equipment, as well as a history file of service invoices and a copy of the 1968 registration to Mr. Coleman.
While 427 Cobras do indeed exist in the wild, it is unusual is to find one that is genuinely and truly a very good car, with fewer than half of the survivors having led a trauma-free life as this one has. Sourced by a Cobra enthusiast for another Cobra enthusiast, and then meticulously prepared under his watchful eye to sit right, look right, and, most importantly, drive right, this is an excellent example of Carroll Shelby's big-block masterpiece. It superbly combines originality and fine-tuned usability in equal abundant measure.