Mecum Auctions

Carroll Shelby's personal 427 Cobra just sold for $5.9 million

The 427 Cobra that went under the hammer is the only Cobra that Shelby personally owned from the time it was built until his death in 2012.

Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions

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.

Carroll Shelby's 1965 427 Cobra

Carroll Shelby's 1965 427 Cobra

Photo courtesy of Mecum Auctions

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.

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American muscle cars

Ford Mustang continues sales dominance

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has good reason to be proud of the Mustang. Now almost 60 years on from its introduction, Ford continues innovating with new versions and performance upgrades. It's all good news for buyers, as it's hard to find a "bad" Mustang in Ford's current catalog. The efforts have paid off, too, as the automaker just announced that the Mustang outsold its competition for the seventh year in a row.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Mustang continued outselling the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, and did so without help from the Shelby GT350, which was discontinued. The Mustang Mach 1, with its 5.0-liter V8, led the charge, but Ford notes the performance of its most powerful Mustang, the Shelby GT500.

Ford says Americans are the most prolific Mustang buyers, representing 76 percent of the car's worldwide sales. Mustang sales in New Zealand grew 54 percent and Brazil saw sales climb 37.3 percent, so the car is a global effort for Ford. The automaker notes that retail orders, where a customer places an order for a car instead of shopping for one off the lot, almost doubled last year.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Photo courtesy of Ted Fontenot

The 2022 Mustang may mark the last year of the car's current generation. Spy photographers have caught next-generation cars testing in the wild, and the current-gen cars have been on sale since 2015. Ford also expanded the Mustang name in 2021 with the addition of the new electric Mustang Mach-E, which was met with huge demand and several awards from around the auto industry.

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This 2020 Ford GT drew over $1 million at the auction.

Mecum

The world may be going through some tough times right now, but you'd never know it looking at auto auction results. One of the largest, Mecum, just reported sales from the auctions it held in Arizona last week, and the results are astonishing. Mecum says it took in $66.3 million in sales, which is a big increase over the previous year's auctions. Attendance was also up, and the event was packed with high-dollar, desirable vehicles.

Mecum Arizona AuctionHow about a 1967 Ferrari for a little over $3 million?Mecum

Mecum says that private collection sales generated $20 million of the $66.3 million, as some brought dozens of vehicles to participate in the auction. The Hooked on Vettes Collection, for example, brought 13 cars and sold every one of them. It even sold a load of neon signs for well over a million dollars.

The top ten vehicles sold at auction drew big dollars. A few include:

  • 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4: $3,025,000
  • 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe: $2,365,000
  • 2005 Porsche Carrera GT: $2,200,000
  • 2020 Ford GT: $1,100,000
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster: $698,500

Mecum Arizona AuctionThere was even a Duesenberg, which sold for almost $2.4 million.Mecum

If you've got money to burn and you're sad to have missed out on the Arizona auction, your next shot will be at the end of this month when Mecum hits Houston with 1,100 vehicles. The flagship Mecum auction in Indianapolis takes place in mid-May, and will feature 3,000 cars.

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