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Shelby Cobra
427 Cobra S/C
The pictured 427 Cobra S/C Cobra (CSX 3181) still tops the charts as my favorite boy toy. I bought this Cobra from an old school mate of mine in 1968 for $6,000 (he owned three at the time!) I sold it late in 1969 for $9,600 which I thought was a 'home run'. I had a choice which was to I keep the car or keep what was to become my wife. I chose well.
Guess I sold old CSX 3181 a little early as she is worth north of $1 million these days. The pictures of the car are what the car looks like today with its current owner. No smart phones back then and I have no idea where the few pictures of the car are after so many years. I've built two replica Cobras over the years hoping they'd teleport me back to the 1960s for a visit. I wasn't disappointed. One was an ERA small block and the other was a Factory 5 big block. Space is vacant in my garage so another Cobra is always fun to think about, funds willing.
A favorite quote of mine that's attributed to Dan Gurney who drove for Shelby when Cobra's were scarring Ferrari's and GS Corvettes back in the 60s is below.

“427 Cobras are loud. They smell like gasoline. They shake, shudder and buck like a wild animal. They make your arms tired and your feet hot. A 427 Cobra tries to make you crash about once every ten minutes.

They’re so damn wonderful you can’t believe it!"
1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Cobra S/C


427 side oilier with top loader 4 speeds for the 'big' cars and a warmed over 289 with a T-5 for the slab sided ERA car. The aluminum surround around the carb on the 427 single carb car was referred to as the "Turkey Pan" which helped keep the carb cool. Cobras were notoriously hot.
Brush up against those hot side pipes after a run and you will need to visit your local burn center. The scar that burn could leave behind was called 'Snake Bite'. Most Cobra owners can show you exactly what "Snake Bite" looks like - I can too. Notice the young lady above has smartly stayed away from those side pipes.
Black leather in the big block cars and tan leather in the ERA small block car. No heat, defroster, side windows or power anything in the blue car (side curtains, an awful looking black canvas top and tonneau cover were the only options). The silver and burgundy cars both had heat, defrosters and power fresh air vents (windshield defrosters are CT law these days for replicas). S/C Cobras (S/C stands for sports/competition) were crude hammers that were barley street legal that felt much more at home on a race track. The very rare full race 427 Cobras (only 21 were ever built) were slightly faster in the right hands but basically heart attacks on wheels.
AC Cobra's were about as sophisticated as a rock but actually rode pretty well.
These two were my replicas. The silver one was a 427 Factory Five Cobra and the burgundy one was a 289 SCCA ERA (small block) Cobra. Picture #3 is the original CSX 3181 as it looks today.
Very loud side pipes and terrified passengers. The passenger seat in a 427 Cobra was commonly refereed to as 'the scream seat'.

Got to love this license plate! I photographed it on a small block street Cobra I saw at Lime Rock Park during 'The Fall Historical s' in 2015.
Much like a Cobra the attractive young lady lounging on the pictured replica Cobra has great lines too.
Wheel and Tire
Pin drive 15" Halibrand aluminum wheels. Tires were bias ply Goodyear Eagles that were 11.4" wide in the rear and 8.15" wide in front. They're often referred to as 'Bill Boards' or 'Cartoon' because of the large script on the sidewalls. They were very soft, sticky, expensive and wore quickly. Cobra drivers never did burnouts - well at least not on purpose. The huge tires and bulging fenders gave Cobras a very intimidating stance.



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