Presented by Mecum Auctions – Much has been written over the years about the Shelby Cobra, especially in 427 trim like the car offered here. Its unadulterated track prowess, ongoing mechanical development and international attraction are part of that. The encroaching pressure of federal automotive regulations was what finally caused the storied import-based package to disappear from the marketplace. CSX3318 was invoiced to Shelby American on October 11, 1966, putting this 427-powered roadster into the exclusive company as a final-year example before Ford and Shelby American agreed to pull the plug on the AC-supplied body program.
If this car seems familiar, it could be because it was shown on the cover of “Car & Driver” in April 1981, as well as the epic Roger Huntington domestic production book “American Supercars.” This well-presented FE-powered Shelby was sold to its first owner through Marshall Motor Company in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. In 1978, the car’s second owner sold it to Jim Inglese, founder of Inglese Induction Systems, the noted experts in Weber and EFI fuel systems development. During that era, a cosmetic restoration was administered by Cobra expert Geoff Howard of Accurate Restorations in Danbury, Connecticut, with S/C modifications including flares, hood scoop, side pipes and competition fuel cap being added at that time.
This 427 Cobra was displayed at the 1987 SAAC-12 meet in Charlotte where it received First Place honors in the popular vote 427 Cobra Class. It was the lone 427 Cobra to participate in the inaugural “Cobras in the Mountains Tour” in 2004. Most recently, in April 2018, this motorcar was restored to its original as-delivered specifications by Drew Serb at the Cobra Experience in Martinez, California, allowing it to attain the level of excellence now expected in today’s ever-advancing hobby.
Today, CSX3318 features a correct 427 CI side-oiler V-8 engine under the hood, with the correct 4-barrel carburetor and intake in place as well. The engine is detailed with Ford chrome components and displacement callout decals. This big-block engine design was enough for Ford’s most noteworthy racers to compete and win against the very best packages in the world during its classic era, and the term “side-oiler” retains a notoriety that has come down to the current era. This mill is backed by a 4-speed transmission.
With correct Rangoon Red paint covering the aluminum body, the exterior is accented with chrome trim, Cobra and 427 callouts, front-fender louvers, and the trademark bumper design and grille opening. The svelte fender lines, windscreen with vents, stacked tail lamps and special Sunburst knock-off wheels with blackwall rubber combine to give this Cobra its all-business impression, leaving the possible occupants with a “dare to enter” sense of excitement. This car can be driven as aggressively as the BF Goodrich radial rubber will allow and the pilot desires.
The interior on all Shelby Cobras was the definitive “cockpit,” sporting the type of functionality that is based on a serious attention to driving. The two bucket seats are split with the shifter and a chrome ashtray. The dash is in flat black, equipped with fully functioning gauges to monitor engine conditions. A 3-spoke wood-rim steering wheel with a Cobra-logo center completes it.
The 427 Cobra was designed as a streetable performance masterpiece, an ultimate expression of its owner’s commitment to be respected. The 1967 model run would signify the end of that possibility for new car buyers (Shelby sold the final available example in 1968). The history of CSX3318 is listed in the Shelby Registry, but few can match its notoriety as a “Car & Driver” road-test subject, ownership by Inglese, book-cover subject, present condition and its potential in the future.
This vehicle will be auctioned off at Mecum Auctions’ Kissimmee 2021 event (January 7-16, 2021).
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