Carroll Shelby’s 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra headed to auction

A 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra owned by Carroll Shelby himself is heading to auction in January.

Bearing serial number CSX3178, the car was owned by Shelby from new, according to Mecum Auctions. Despite being registered as a 1965 model, the Cobra wasn’t built until the following year. A work order was opened on Jan. 7, 1966, and closed on March 3, signifying the car’s completion, according to Mecum.

CSX3718 was shipped from the company’s LAX workshop to Shelby’s Dallas home with the big-block 427-cubic-inch V-8, dual 4-barrel carburetors, a Toploader 4-speed manual transmission, and Sunburst knockoff wheels. It was painted Charcoal Gray, one of five 427 Cobras in that hue, according to Mecum. 

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In 1972, Mike McCluskey, a Cobra specialist and friend of Shelby, restored the car. That included changing the color to Guardsman Blue with a gold nose. Later on, Shelby installed an aluminum-head side-oiler 427 and an automatic transmission. In 2002, the Shelby American shop in Las Vegas repainted the car red.

Shelby retained ownership of CSX3718 until his death in May 2012. The car was purchased from Shelby’s estate by the consigner in 2016, and was restored to its stock configuration in 2019 by Legendary Motorcar Company. The car’s history is documented in the Shelby Registry, Mecum noted.

This car will likely sell for big bucks. CSX2000—the first Cobra—sold for $13.75 million 2016, and a 1965 427 Cobra recently featured on Jay Leno’s Garage was valued at $2.5 million. The Shelby connection should raise the value of CSX3718. Sky-high prices like these have fed a large Cobra replica business, and original Cobra chassis manufacturer AC Cars offers both gasoline- and electric-powered replicas.

The Cobra is one of the main attractions of Mecum’s Kissimmee (Florida) auction, which kicks off on Jan. 7 and ends Jan. 16.


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