Who wouldn’t want to own a Shelby Cobra? With its bright red body, retro wire wheels and collection of delicate dials peppering the dash, it’s a vintage delight.
But this automotive icon didn’t have the easiest of starts. The brainchild of chicken farmer-turned-racing driver, Carroll Shelby, it began as the unholy marriage between the British-made chassis of the A.C. Ace and Ford’s American small-block V8.
Even the name is of questionable origin: ‘Cobra’ allegedly came to Shelby in a dream.
Yet, despite this shaky provenance, once the Shelby Cobra steered itself onto the right track, it stayed there.
Today, it is rightfully regarded as one of the all-time greats; a classic sports car. And this 1964 example, up for auction at Bonham’s, shows why the Cobra remains to this day the ultimate intercontinental sports car.
White sidewall tires are just one of the period features of the speedster. A small front grille, wooden steering wheel and that low slung ride all also add to the car’s distinctly fifties feel.
And, restored to its original vibrant red (this model has been painted metallic green and silver in its time) this is one of the best aluminium examples of the Cobra we’ve seen go to market.
Under the bonnet, that famous Ford V8 is still pulling 306bhp — not quite the power of the many Cobras that made their names on the racetrack — but perfectly serviceable for your Sunday drive.
Though if you’re buying a Cobra for performance, we’d suggest you look elsewhere.
This is a car built for beauty, restored for its historical significance and intended to be cherished. It’s a throwback to a time when British and American carmakers worked together; overlooking brands and bottom lines to create something not only ground-breaking, but truly global.
1964 Shelby Cobra 289
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