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Original 1965 Shelby Cobra 427
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1965 Shelby Cobra 427
Original Factory 427 Cobra
If ever a car had multiple lives it was the 427 Cobra. In its first life it was a Tojeiro-Bristol. Next came the A.C. Ace, followed by the Ace Bristol and finally the Ace Ford. When it looked as if it was the end of the line for A.C.’s adaptable sports car, along came Carroll Shelby and the 289 Cobra. The final and most iconic incarnation of the original Tojeiro concept came in 1966 with the 427 Cobra.
When the call came for more power to match the big block Corvettes and other potent sports cars, Ford was ready with its big and powerful 427 cid V-8 engine. But in reality the original ladder frame with its transverse leaf springs had first seen production with an 85 hp engine. There was no way that it could handle well over 400 fire-breathing horses.
A.C., Ford and Shelby American were up to the challenge. Ford’s computers helped to design a much stiffer chassis with four-wheel independent coil spring suspension. To put all that new found power to the pavement, the six inch wire wheels were discarded for much wider Halibrand magnesium wheels, but with their corresponding width, the bigger tires couldn’t fit under the standard fenders. The solution was for the craftsmen at the A.C. factory in England to construct substantial fender flares. By the time a huge front inlet was shaped to provide sufficient cooling flow for the big Ford mill, the car had a look that was nothing short of aggressive and brutal, yet still clearly a Cobra.
Billed to Shelby American on May 13, 1965 and subsequently invoiced to Sexton Ford Sales Inc in Moline,Illinois. It was delivered from the factory in blue with a black interior. The cars first owner was Donald J. Hager of Illinois. Hager retained the car for 6 years of enjoyment before handing the keys over to the next proprietor Dan Bennett also from Illinois. By 1974 Bennett had enjoyed the car and elected put the car up for sale, advertised just as when new, Guardsman Blue with black interior. Doug McClellan was the next owner and he decided that after almost a decade of use, 3104 could use some freshening, he began what would become a 4 year long restoration and then the car headed south to Florida in 1979. By the mid 1980’s the car showed up just a little further north in the state Georgia before heading to Baton Rouge LA under the ownership of Fred Buzzell. He retained the car for several years until he sadly passed away at which time his wife sold the car along with another 289 Cobra he owned to a name now synonymous with Cobras, Tom Kirkham. Kirkham began some further restoration work and actually got so far as advertising the car for sale before electing to keep it instead. He then used the car to help in designing his now famous replica Cobras. In 2012 was restored back to original specs by the craftsman here at LMC, well versed in the special processes required in Cobra restoration. During this process it became more than clear that the car retains its original factory aluminum skin. The Blue/Black 427 cobra is nicely restored and ready to be delivered to its next owner just the way it was delivered to its first owner in 1965. Its clean look without side pipes, roll bar or hood scoop is as subtle as a Cobra can be, while still retaining the unmistakable sound and look of an original 427 Cobra. A truly excellent example of what was arguably one of Carroll Shelby’s greatest triumphs, the Big Block 427 Street Cobra.
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