The beauty of the Shelby Cobra was that it married big American muscle to a small British roadster in a package much simpler – and less expensive – than its European competition. But half a century later, prime examples are fetching big bucks.
Take this 1966 Shelby 427 Semi-Competition Cobra, for example, which just sold for $2.95 million at RM Sotheby’s in Arizona this past weekend.
Described as “arguably one of the finest, most original” of Cobras around, CSX 3030 was one of the few built for street use with nearly all the equipment of the full competition version – right down to the side exhaust and flared fenders.
The nearly $3 million paid doesn’t make it the most expensive Cobra ever sold at auction. That honor belongs to CSX 2000 – the very first Shelby Cobra – sold for nearly $14 million by the very same auction house at Pebble Beach in 2016. But it far eclipsed the $2-2.4m pre-sale estimate, and represents a high-water mark for the vaunted S/C model.
It was also the highest price paid at the event, where it was joined by Preston Tucker’s own Tucker 48 (which sold for $1.79m), a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso ($1.68m) and 250 GT Series II Cabriolet ($1.4m), and an award-winning ’55 Alfa Romeo 1900C ($1.27m). That very French-looking Ferrari F12 TdF went for $1.3m, and that black Bugatti EB110 GT for nearly a million (setting another record for its type). The restomod ’59 Mercedes van went for $162k, and that delicious little Porsche tractor for $45k.
At the end of the day, RM sold 88 percent of the lots consigned to rack up over $36 million in sales. Unfortunately that didn’t include the Jaguar D-Type that was expected to sell for over $12 million, and would have surely been the top lot of the day – had it met its reserve price.