Barn finds don’t happen every day. If they did, they wouldn’t capture our attention and imagination as much as they do. But even in such rare company, this one stands apart.
It’s a 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra that Ford originally used for promotional purposes until selling it in 1969 to one Dr Bryan B. Molloy – an Indianapolis-based pharmacologist who helped develop Prozac.
Molloy had it repainted from its original white over red to a bronze finish, enjoyed it for a few years, then put it in a barn on his farm. And there it sat in obscurity for decades until a delivery man spotted it on the property and bought it from Molloy’s widow.
Despite its many years of neglect, the car started after just 15 minutes of work, with a new battery and a splash of fuel. 30 days later, the barn burned to the ground, and would have taken the Cobra with it had it not been unearthed just a month earlier.
The Shelby passed through the hands of a couple of subsequent owners until being acquired by noted expert Tom Cotter, who told its story in his book “The Cobra in the Barn.” Restored to its original condition, the car’s place in the history of barn finds was cemented.
Its current owner has held it for the past 13 years, but is now putting it up for auction. RM Sotheby’s will sell it off at Amelia Island next weekend, where it’s expected to fetch upwards of $1 million.