Car collectors the world over dream about owning a 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra. Their impact on the sports car world was huge back in the day. Baby Boomers still salivate at the thought of an all out run on a road course in a legendary 427 Cobra.
Motorcar Classics in Farmingdale, New York is offering a 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra for sale this week. Listed in the Shelby American Registry, it is a real deal Cobra with the CSX3105 serial number. (Follow this link to view dozens of high resolution photos.) It was billed to Leslie Motors in Monterey, California as a new car for sale in 1965. When new, the Cobra was red with a black interior. The current owner acquired the Cobra in 1988, and it has been in storage most of the time since then.
At one point, CSX3105 was sent to Jack Roush Racing in Livonia, Michigan for a car show. While there, it received a new alloy block 427 re-worked to 514 ci displacement. It was repainted to its current vibrant metallic Burgundy color and re-upholstered in beige leather. A hood scoop and drivers roll bar were also installed. The restored Shelby Cobra was pictured in the Shelby American Registry on page 60. Today it remains in show condition with only 300 miles on the odometer.
Today car collectors have a love affair with the classic Shelby Cobra. So what exactly are they so enamored of? The Shelby Cobra came about when former race car driver Carroll Shelby decided to put a Ford 289 into a Britsh AC Cobra. He wanted to race AC’s definitive two-seater sports car but he wanted to use American hot rodder engines and mechanical know-how. This potent combination of American and British sports car heritage brought Shelby face to face with Ferrari in FIA World Sports Car Championship competition.
Most of Carroll Shelby’s customers ordered the specially built Shelby Cobras to race them. But Shelby soon found that there was a market for street Cobras as well. In the U.S., Shelby was in competition with the Corvette. When Zora Duntov, the father of the Corvette, and an advocate of Corvette racing, was rumored to be coming out with a big block 427 ci V8 engine for his Corvette race teams, Carroll Shelby figured out a way to shoehorn a big block into the little Cobra. Though he built the big block Cobra to stay competitive with the Corvette in 1965, Shelby was also creating Shelby Mustangs for SCCA race teams as well as some for street use that year. He may have been a little bit distracted.
With so much on his plate, Shelby failed to get the 1965 Shelby 427 Cobras certified for FIA World Sports Car Championship that year. He had about 53 of these cars built when the FIA notified him that they would not certify the 427 Cobra for homologation (let them race in FIA) because not enough production cars had been built.
Nevertheless, his 289 Cobras took the FIA manufacturer’s chamionship three years in a row, 1963, 1964 and 1965.
Shelby sold some of the 427 cars to American race teams. But then one of his sales dealers suggested he sell them to the public billed as the “fastest street car in the world.” They were called Semi Competition models or S/C. Thus the 1965 Shelby Cobra S/C 427 came into being.
Those 427 side-oiler Cobras are the ones that have captured the hearts of car collectors. They get the biggest prices at collector car auctions. Caroll Shelby is said to have produced 343 big block 427 Shelby Cobra Mk III cars. Of those, 260 were made for street use, 27 were made for semi-competition (now called SC’s, or semi-competition roadster), and just 21 were full competition cars.
Of the 260 original street 427s built only 155 came with a 427 engine, the rest were fitted with a 428 ci that Shelby substituted in order to cut costs.
1965 was the first year for the big-block 427 Competition Cobra engine, the famed 510-hp, 427-cid “side-oiler”. They were designated Mk III models and built on the CSX3000 series chassis specially designed for the new big block cars. The 427 Cobra utilized an all-independent coil-spring suspension with a large-diameter steel tube frame. Four-wheel disc brakes helped also. The 427’s aluminun body was formed over lightweight steel-tube and provided a tremendous power-to-weight ratio. With the right tuning they were just about unbeatable.
You will find the 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra in the Shelby Section of the Cars-On-Line.com website today.