Carroll Shelby's personal 427 Cobra just sold for $5.9 million
As all eyes were turned to the auction block in Kissimmee, Florida last week, a piece of automative history went under the hammer. Auto industry legend Carroll Shelby's personal 1965 427 Cobra (Lot F145) became the Mecum Auctions event top-seller. Its $5.94 million price made it the most valuable 427 Cobra ever sold at public auction.
By most accounts, Shelby was a character. After a childhood in Texas, Shelby enrolled at the Georgia Institute of Technology and enrolled in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After flying various aircraft during World War II, Shelby was discharged from the Army following V-J Day.
After the war he started a dump truck business, then became a poultry farmer, before starting a career as a professional driver at age 29. He went from drag racing near his Texas home to lapping cars at Sebring, Le Mans, and Silverstone. He set national speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats before being seriously injured. He revived his career by racing Ferraris then opened Carroll Shelby Sports Cars in Dallas.
He continued to race, suffering additional injuries along the way as the result of various crashes, which finally caused him to retire in 1960. Within a year, the Shelby AC Cobra was born. Shelby jumped back behind the wheel, proving that the Cobra had the right stuff to win races. That attracted the attention of Ford Motor Company, who worked with Shelby to create the Ford Mustang-based Shelby GT350 and eventually the GT500.
After Ford and Shelby parted ways, he went on to produce vehicles in partnership with Dodge and Oldsmobile. All the while, he continued to build Cobras.
The '65 Cobra that sold as part of the auction wears a charcoal gray exterior and has a black interior. It's one of only five 427 Cobras finished in the color. The car underwent a ground-up concours level restoration in 2019 by Legendary Motor Company. It still has the original body and chassis. The engine is an aluminum-head 427 side-oiler power plant that is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The just-sold 427 Cobra is the only one Shelby owned from new until his passing in 2012.
The 427 Cobra is the big brother of the CSX2000, the original small-block Cobra. That model recently sold for almost $14 million.