Early Shelby Cobra FoMoCo demonstrator coming to auction

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Cobra Demo front side Cobra Demo front side
Cobra Demo rear side Cobra Demo rear side
Cobra Demo side Cobra Demo side
Cobra Demo interior top down Cobra Demo interior top down
Cobra Demo interior Cobra Demo interior
Cobra Demo engine Cobra Demo engine

One of the very few Shelby Cobras ordered by Ford for demonstration use

Shelby cars are set to headline Mecum's upcoming Indy auction commencing June 23; as the first Shelby GT350R ever, the original prototype, is expected by many to exceed January's world record-breaking AU$4.9 million sale of the Bullitt movie Mustang.

In the same auction however, appears this 1963 289ci V8 Cobra from very early in Shelby's history as a company. It wasn't originally a racecar, but claims collectible credentials of a different sort.

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This late-production 1963 Shelby Cobra, Chassis CSX2195, was one of the very few Cobras ordered by Ford Motor Company for use as a demonstrator and exhibition vehicle.

It was shipped to Los Angeles on October 1, 1963 and invoiced to For Motor Company General Office Accounting in Dearborn Michigan.

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It presents almost exactly as it did from factory, in Bright Blue over black interior; special-ordered by FoMoCo with a roll bar, and wide rear wings to house wider tyres. The car was also ordered Shelby’s "Class A" accessory package, which comprised of chrome rocker covers, white sidewall tyres and a chromed luggage rack - not currently fitted.

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The Cobra was later delivered to S.P. Spaulding Ford in Richmond Virginina, for use by the regional sales office as a promo car. After a doing the circuit of exhibitions at Ford promotional events, it was sold in North Carolina to a local resident Tony Fisher.

Fisher was a prolific drag racer who painted the car gold and campaigned the Cobra – with an all-female pit crew – two years before selling it in 1967 to Canadian resident Jim Walker.

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Walker continued to drag race the car into the 70s, under the pseudonym Jay Walker, reportedly winning the NASCAR Gold Cup among other titles.

The car was eventually sold to another Canadian, Larry Epworth, who continued to drag race the Cobra before selling it to an Oregon collector and enthusiast Doug Daniels.

Daniel’s family retained ownership of the ex-demo Cobra from 1985 to 2019, during which it received an extensive 12-year restoration, returning the car to as new condition.

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CSX2195 is supported by comprehensive history and documentation and, while it lived a colourful life in the past, presents as new and ready for its new owner to enjoy as Shelby’s intended sports car.

No pre-auction estimate has been publically published by Mecum. However, another ex-FoMoCo demonstrator Cobra went through Bonham’s 2014 Quail auction, and was valued between US$1.3m to $1.5m.

That’s a whopping AU$2.1m to $2.5m; although with buyers more hesistant to spend, especially at the top end, in the current economic uncertainty of the world, these Shelby sales may prove an interesting watermark as to where the market sits in today's rapidaly changing world.

View this car at Mecum.com

 

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