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By Ben Selby
Every time a genuine AC Shelby Cobra goes to auction you can be sure it won’t be a cheap. Only a handful of original 289 and 427 big-block cars were ever built. As a result, you would need to set aside at least seven figures to get a look in. So, what about Carroll Shelby’s personal 427ci Cobra?
Well, this very car has been sold as part of Meccum Auctions in Kissimmee Florida, for $5,400,000US ($7,562,494). Chassis number CSX3178, owned by Carroll Shelby from new for a period of 46 years, sold in a matter of minutes during an intense bidding war.
Accoridng to the auction listing, chassis number CSX3178 left the Shelby American production line in March 1966. It was delivered to Shelby’s home in Dallas, Texas with Carroll Shelby himself using it has personal car. CSX3178 was one of five Cobras built in Charcoal Grey with the race derived 427ci 7.0L V8 mated to Ford’s four speed Toploader gearbox.
Shelby held on to the car right up until his death in 2012. During his time with the car, it underwent a number of mechanical and cosmetic tweaks. In 1972, CSX3178 was painted blue with a gold nose by Cobra specialist Mike McCluskey.
The Cobra also received a new beating heart. Shelby swapped out the original 427 for an aluminum-head 427 side oiler V8 with automatic gearbox. This gave the Cobra more oomph. Shelby was always adamant in his belief of there being “no such thing as too much power.” The automatic transmission probably made the Cobra more user friendly.
Come 2016, CSX3178 underwent a full nut and bolt restoration to original spec by revered Cobra restorers Legendary Motorcar Company. According to Meccum, “Shelby restoration expert Peter Klutt spent between 2000-3000 hours restoring Shelby’s car.” The car is now back to its original Charcoal Grey with period correct 427 V8 with four speed manual transmission.
Shelby’s own Cobra is sure to make the perfect centerpiece of this new owner’s collection. This is not the most expensive Cobra ever sold at auction. That honour went to the first Cobra ever built which sold for an eye watering $18,000,000NZ. However, the fact that Shelby himself went to the shops and back for almost 50 years in it, makes this Cobra pretty darn special.