There is simply no other American icon of performance that rises above the 427 Shelby Cobra. Since its release, the Cobra mystique has captivated enthusiasts with ground-pounding performance, breathtaking design, and of course, Shelby bravado. Critical to their ongoing success years after release, several modern iterations and replicas have been developed for a wide range of enthusiasts. But through all the years, changes, and history, aluminum bodied Shelby-built Cobras still reign as the ultimate example of one of the greatest American sports/competition cars ever constructed.
In 1961 when Carroll Shelby and AC motors launched the Cobra, it became an immediate success. Everybody loved Shelby’s unique blend of spicy Texas-chili charm and Hollywood charisma. Like Shelby himself, the unapologetic, brash 289 Cobra delivered 0-60 times in an astonishing 4.9 seconds, beating out all competitors with a powerplant that offered the rare combination of performance and durability. Cobras racked up hundreds of race victories making legends of Ken Miles, Pete Brock, and Phil Remington as much as Shelby himself.
Then came the 427. Not merely a 289 with a larger motor, the new 427 Cobra featured a handmade steel frame, hand formed aluminum body, and muscular fenders to allow for impossibly wide tires. The stance, power, and brutish delivery were jaw-dropping in both visual and performance categories. No car dared to approach the Cobra. And just as quickly as the legend came to be, production ceased, leaving Shelby American with several leftover frames and components. As Shelby would do in the decades to come, he quickly pivoted to new ventures, while remaining frames stood dormant at Shelby American.
In the 1980s as more and more Cobras were beginning to enter the market, prices for original Cobras began to rise. By the 1990s Shelby himself, exhausted from litigating against others who were building cars using his names and likenesses, decided to return to making his own distinct and legendary cars, just as he had in the 1960s. The first of these Shelby American CSX 4000 series cars is believed to have been constructed in the early 1990s with production moving slowly by individual purchases to exclusive clientele. Built in Las Vegas, Nevada at Shelby manufacturing headquarters, these cars were available with either fiberglass or aluminum bodies, the latter of which were priced significantly higher and took longer to complete.
CSX4187 is a genuine aluminum-bodied Shelby American 427 Cobra. In addition to being a rare factory built 4000 series 427 Cobra, this car was built using a rare all-aluminum 427 side oiler engine. The car was built with the following options:
427 wide hip aluminum body
427 cu. in. aluminum block V8 Side Oiler
Dual Holley 4 bbl carburetors
Tremec 5-speed transmission
Correct tubular suspension arms
Outside filler fuel cap
Chrome roll bar
Wood steering wheel
Removable soft top with side curtains
15” Trigo knock off wheels
Factory chrome side pipes
Rack and Pinion steering
Rear axle ratio 3.77
Constructed with better cooling, more insulation, and improved materials, the CSX 4000 series cars were delivered with Shelby American MSOs signed by Shelby himself. This car was finished in Whittington Green with black leather interior and delivered to All Pro Cars in Muncy, PA on November 8, 2001. In addition to being listed in the Shelby World Registry, this car enjoyed singular ownership until 2014 when the current owner purchased the car at the 2014 Dallas Leake Auction. In March 2022 Bob Smith Coachworks, Gainesville, TX installed a new Fuel Safe Systems replacement bladder for the fuel cell, installed two QBT RED 6V batteries, and tested the car for proper operation.
In August 2022, this Cobra was serviced by marque experts at Cobra Performance Inc., Martinez, Ca. The lower metal and upper radiator hoses were replaced, both master cylinders replaced, valve cover gaskets replaced, and the carburetors were both serviced with new carburetor kits. The brake system was bled, new coolant installed, and the car was tested for operation. A new set of tires were balanced and installed.
Today the distinctive wide fender arches and muscular stance of the legendary 427 create a menacing appearance perfectly matched to this beautifully finished Cobra. Outfitted with a chrome roll bar, chrome bumper ends, chrome plated side pipes, and true knock-off wheels, the visual impact is impressive. The green paint is very well done throughout accentuating the lurid curves and undulations of the epic 427 aluminum bodywork. The exterior trim, riveted hood scoop, and polished aluminum fuel filler cap all contribute to the powerful presence of this car. The lights, lenses, and emblems are in excellent condition while the knock off wheels display a fine polished alloy finish with painted casting centers and raw cast knockoffs with safety wires, similarly matching the original Halibrand designs. The stance is perfect, filling the flared fenders with ample rubber, though the tires currently mounted are out of date. The stance and presence of this 427 evokes a competition feel beguiling the street trim these cars offered. Correct touches include a racing style side view mirror, aluminum finish side vents, and raised cowl and deck fittings to facilitate the black tonneau cover attachment. A single pane windscreen leans back on the cowl, flanked by Cobra branded twin plexiglass side screens and tinted sun visors.
The interior has been faithfully depicted with leather seating surfaces correctly contoured with proper pleat lines, black carpeting, and black door panels. The driver’s seat is now gently relaxed with a hint of use, consistent with the 3,200 indicated miles. The dashboard and instruments are properly arrayed with correct original type dial faces displaying beautiful numeric details and chrome trim. A chrome plated fire extinguisher is mounted in place ahead of the 5-speed shifter. The chrome roll bar is outfitted with a Simpson seat belt anchored to the roll bar. A pair of recently replaced 6V batteries are located behind the seats. The brake and clutch foot pedals are CS branded delivering a nice detail to the key control elements in charge of regulating the massive power of this potent beast. A wood-rimmed Shelby steering wheel exhibits a handsome warm tone proudly displaying the red, white, and blue Shelby center emblem.
Under the hood, the all-aluminum 427 side-oiler engine is purposefully topped with twin Holley 4bbl carburetors and twin chrome air cleaners. Correctly finished details throughout include cast aluminum and black CS Shelby valve covers, painted surge tank, and raw aluminum inner fender panels. A contemporary aluminum Fluidyne radiator, electric fan, upgraded lines and fittings, and silicone resistor core spark plug wires are welcome modern enhancements to the driving experience. The engine compartment and powerful engine display correct finishes with appropriately deserving attention to detail including a Shelby American manufacturers plate and stamped frame member, both of which bear the CSX 4187 number. The trunk is correctly finished with exposed aluminum panels and painted black frame construction members, twin fuel pumps, and roll bar support braces. The underside of the car is exemplary in finish and detail with beautifully prepared and preserved components consistent with the reported ownership, Shelby American construction methods, and indicated mileage.
This Cobra is accompanied by two tonneau covers, a soft convertible top (material only, no armature or top bows), side curtains, a knockoff hammer, a pair of cloth gloves, tire inflator canister, a car cover and bag, and a zippered tool case.
This Shelby American CSX 4000 series 427 Cobra represents a rare opportunity to purchase a uniquely constructed roadster with known history and documented ownership since construction, Shelby history, and superb cosmetics. Legendary design coupled with Shelby construction, CSX 4187 is a captivating part of Shelby motorsports history, delivered as a ready-to-drive roadster, eagerly awaiting to reward the driving ambitions of the next fortunate owner.