One lucky buyer at Mecum's auction held in Kissimmee, Florida, last week took home a piece of history.
A 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra owned by Carroll Shelby himself crossed the block, with the final bid coming in at $5.94 million.
Bearing serial number CSX3178, the car was owned by Shelby from new. Despite being registered as a 1965 model, it wasn't built until the following year. A work order was opened on January 7, 1966, and closed on March 3, signifying the car's completion, according to Mecum.
Following completion, the car was shipped from Shelby American's LAX workshop in California to Shelby's Dallas home with the big-block 427-cubic-inch V-8, dual 4-barrel carburetors, a Toploader 4-speed manual transmission, and Sunburst knockoff wheels. It was painted Charcoal Gray, one of five 427 Cobras originally painted in that hue.
Dan Gurney (left) and Carroll Shelby with a 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra - Photo credit: Mecum Auctions
In 1972, Mike McCluskey, a Cobra specialist and friend of Shelby, restored the car. That included changing the color to Guardsman Blue with a gold nose. Later on, Shelby installed an aluminum-head side-oiler 427 and an automatic transmission. In 2002, the Shelby American shop in Las Vegas repainted the car red.
Shelby retained ownership of CSX3718 until his death in 2012. The car was purchased from Shelby's estate by the consigner in 2016, and was restored to its factory configuration in 2019 by Legendary Motorcar Company, at the hands of expert restorer Peter Klutt. He spent an estimated 3,000 hours on it.
1965 Shelby 427 Cobra owned by Carroll Shelby - Photo Credit: Mecum Auctions
It's no surprise the car sold for big bucks, given its history. It isn't the most expensive Cobra, though. CSX2000—the first Cobra—sold for $13.75 million 2016, and there was also CSX2601—the Daytona Cobra Coupe that became the first American car to win an international title—that sold for $7.25 million in 2009.
Other stars at Mecum's Kissimmee auction included a Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe originally owned by the Prince of Salm Salm ($1.56M), a Shelby 427 Cobra previously owned by Jim Inglese ($1.37M), a C2 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 previously owned by Mickey Thompson ($506,000), and the world's only Dodge Shelby Viper coupe ($236,500). An original Ford Shelby GT350 Competition also fetched $1.1M at the auction, but failed to meet its reserve.