Fifty years after the 427 Shelby Cobra was first introduced, the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust will complete and offer to the public the remaining original Competition Chassis race cars that were started in 1965. Built faithfully to the original specifications, the roadsters will be sold as race cars, just as Carroll Shelby intended when he launched the car in 1965
"Carroll simply couldn't and wouldn't let the competition overtake him, especially Ferrari"
"The Shelby 427 Cobra is the most iconic car in post-war history," said Neil Cummings, co-Trustee of the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust. "Shelby American didn't complete the mandatory 100 units in time to race for the FIA World Championship in 1966. This was because Henry Ford II ("Henry the Deuce") wanted Carroll to drop what he was doing and take over Ford's GT-50 race program. Carroll famously replied 'Ferrari's ass is mine,' which it was, with the Shelby-led team promptly winning Le Mans and three straight FIA World Championships in the hallowed 'Prototype' racing class. Carroll put the 427 S/C program on hold after building 53 of the original 100 homologation cars. The 50 year anniversary of the big block Cobra seemed an appropriate time to finish the last of the Cobras."
Each authentic 427 S/C Shelby Cobra comes with the CSX VIN and badge number originally assigned in 1965, as well as an "MSO" and "Title" document signed by Carroll Shelby himself. As a pure race car, this vehicle cannot be registered for use on the streets. But, each car will be specially registered and have a unique place in the Shelby American World Registry, not to mention American muscle car history.
The Shelby 427 S/C indeed has a fascinating history. From 1962-1964, Shelby American dominated racetracks worldwide with its powerful, diminutive 289 Cobra, leading to the now internationally famous Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, which won the FIA World Manufacturers' Championship in 1965. This is the first, and to this day only, time an American car has won the World Championship on European soil. Then rumors swirled that GM was readying a new big block Corvette and Ferrari was said to be building a more powerful car to outrun the Shelby.
"Carroll simply couldn't and wouldn't let the competition overtake him, especially Ferrari," said Joe Conway, co-Trustee of Shelby's Trust. "The Ford small block engines had reached their limit for power and the leaf spring suspension could not handle additional stress given the 289 Cobra's paltry weight, making it lighter wasn't an option. Ever looking forward to "the next car," Carroll and his Shelby American team designed an entirely new Cobra. It was bigger and faster, but at the same time maintained the unique, classic features of all the Cobras."
Shelby American and Ford Motor Company together designed an entirely new coil spring suspension and a stronger frame to accommodate more power. At Ford's behest, Shelby fitted the 427 NASCAR-based engine into the model. In January 1965, the CSX3000 series Cobra was unveiled at Riverside Raceway.
The first 100 cars were designated to be competition versions so that the car could compete in FIA races, ergo the "S/C" designation appearing after "427." Only 53 were completed before Henry Ford II made his special request of Carroll to take on Ferrari in the "Prototype" class. This, in reality, marked the end of the Shelby Cobra builds - 998 in all. Until now!
Carroll Shelby began the sacred task of completing the "Remaining 4" in 1988 when he hired the legendary restorer Mike McCluskey, who began the painstaking job of making the tooling, jigs and fixtures necessary to build these vintage cars true to their original specifications.
Carroll completed and sold five of the 427 S/C Cobras for $500,000 each between 1990 and 1992. Then AC Cars foolishly tried to claim the Cobra and its heritage by spreading false rumors about Carroll and Shelby American in automotive publications and newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. Shelby brought suit to establish not only his rights, but also to compel this English company, once and for all, to acknowledge America's and Shelby's place as the "Manufacturer of Record" of all the original 260, 289 and 427 Cobras (998 in all), and the ones responsible for the Shelby Cobra's incredible racing successes. The litigation with AC Cars went on for years. But, ultimately, Shelby prevailed on all fronts, and the owner of AC Cars signed a written statement (published worldwide) acknowledging the truth that Shelby was the "creator," "Manufacturer of Record" and racing guru for all of the Cobras.
"After we forced AC Cars to admit that the Cobra was purely Carroll's vision and all Cobras were built by, or under license to Shelby American, Shelby contemplated restarting production," said Cummings. "But, he was already busy building continuation component Cobras and moving his operations to Las Vegas. Carroll told me he wanted to suspend the 427 Cobra Competition Chassis program until after his passing so he could focus on other projects involving new model year vehicles."
In 2014, the Carroll Shelby Trust followed Carroll's wishes and undertook the job of gradually finishing the remainder of the 427 S/C Cobras.
Each competition chassis Cobra features a spectacular aluminum body clad in a customer's choice of color and with a black interior. The engines will be period correct and supplied by the Carroll Shelby Engine Company, which is owned and operated by Bill DenBeste. Each will be fitted with an cast-iron Ford side oiler 427 block, forged internals and correct medium riser cylinder heads. The engine will be dressed with period correct parts including an Aviaid oil pan, sandcast Cobra valve covers, medium riser intake, Le Mans carburetor and turkey pan air box.
All of that power will run through a blueprinted 4-speed correct gearbox. The Shelby features the original style swept forward shifter, horn button, Raydyot mirrors and Lucas headlights to add to the overall aesthetic authenticity. It comes with a MSO listing it as a 1965 Cobra signed by the late Carroll Shelby for ownership purposes.
A portion of the sale from each 427 Shelby Cobra Competition series car will be donated to help construction of the "Shelby Automotive Museum" in Los Angeles, California, which is now in the design and build stage. This tax exempt 501(9)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation was created by Carroll Shelby to celebrate American racing heritage, including Mr. Shelby's contributions to that history.
Stephen Becker Automotive Group realizes how difficult it is purchase any automobile over the internet from a classic car dealer or private party.
Is the engine original? Are all the vehicle identification numbers where they should be? Has the car been tampered with? Is the car really worth the asking price? Stephen Becker has bought/sold/inspected/appraised/certified over a thousand GT 350's, GT 500's & GT 500KR’s to happy buyers all around the world. 35+ years in business with a sterling name and reputation in the hobby. We buy/sell/broker/inspect/appraise all makes and models of classic, antique & muscle cars. Stephen Becker is a long-time NADA advisory board member.
Stephen Becker was business partners with Carroll Shelby from 1977 until his death in 2012.
Stephen Becker offers an inspection service, an appraisal service and can be very helpful with transportation details. We can inspect the Shelby, handle all financial details and take physical possession of the vehicle for safe keeping. We've shipped numerous muscle cars, of all types, to Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland and all over Europe.
Contact us before you drive to the bank and send a stranger your life savings!
Stephen Becker personally works side by side with the Shelby American Automobile Club registrars and have supported their efforts to keep Carroll Shelby’s automobiles and contribution to the automotive industry alive.
Stephen Becker is one of the most renowned Shelby authorities in the world, announced the introduction of a new certified appraisal program for 1960s Shelby Cobras, GT350s and GT500s. Previously available only to a select group of companies and celebrities, SGB’s invaluable expertise is now available to individuals contemplating the sale or purchase of a vintage Shelby car.
“For years, MOPAR, Corvette and Ford collectors have had access to detailed appraisals from experts in those cars, but enthusiasts have not been able to tap a form program when considering the purchase or sale of a Shelby,” said Becker. “With the expertise, records and access to details of Cobras, GT500s and GT350s available through me, collectors can now have the knowledge they need when making a decision on a Shelby they want to purchase or sell.”
Becker personally has performed evaluations for years and attended key collector car auctions for a small group of corporate clients like insurance companies and manufacturers. In late 2009, Stephen Becker provided an appraisal of 75 cars in the corporate and museum collection of Shelby American. The appraisals were done for Shelby’s insurance company, which requested current values of the extensive collection of significant cars. Other high profile corporate and celebrity clients have included the famous Shelby Parts & Restorations company, as well as leaders in the music and entertainment industry.
“Shelby cars are usually considered blue chip collectibles, but each must be carefully inspected and appraised to understand the true value,” noted Becker. “Not only is it important to ensure a car is a genuine Shelby, it’s critical to understand its history. The value difference between a survivor car with great provenance and a Shelby ‘rebuilt’ from a few major components left over from a wreck can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Stephen’s knowledge and extensive library led to the creation of the Becker Certified Shelby Certification program. A proprietary 25 point inspection and exhaustive research provides the most thorough report on the market for genuine Shelby vehicles.
Over the past decade, Stephen Becker has been retained by key automotive groups, collectors and industry leaders to authenticate and value Shelby vehicles. This led to the creation of a program for individual collectors and enthusiasts. When completed, a client received a detailed report with a history of the vehicle, if available, and documentation to validate the value.
Since 1977, Stephen Becker has been regarded as a leading authority on 1960s era Shelby Cobras, GT350s and GT500s. The company’s expertise and in-depth knowledge have been tapped by clients to purchase, broker and restore original Shelby’s. SGB has represented clients around the world on stage when their Shelby’s crossed the block.
Founder Stephen Becker was one of the youngest people to ever be selected as a finalist for the Ernst & Young/Inc. Magazine “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the early 1990s.
Stephen Becker Automotive Group Inc. is a licensed and insured Georgia car dealer.