Perhaps the best introduction to CSX 3195 is the recollection of David Freiburger, Editor-in-Chief of Hot Rod magazine, following a ride in the car at Laguna Seca in the summer of 2014…
“I strapped into the passenger seat like a sausage in its casing, hardly prepared for the punishment I was about to take. Jim (Farley) throttled around a makeshift roadcourse at probably seven-tenths, and the other three might have killed me. The car shrieked, my helmeted head weighed 100 pounds in the corners, and I discovered that 3.75 pounds per horsepower can wrap my spleen around my spine…It’s low, fast, loud, windy, and brutal in a way that only a gearhead can crave…I’ll never forget it.”
On its launch almost six decades ago, the 427 Cobra represented the pinnacle of performance. Whether on circuit or waiting at the lights, the Shelby simply blew away the competition, offering a breathtaking experience to those brave enough to drive the car to its limit. As experienced by David Freiburger, this example is doubly special, having been honed and perfected by a succession of gifted drivers and owners into what has been described as “the ultimate Cobra.”
Completed in December of 1965, CSX 3195 was originally finished in black with a black interior. The car’s first owner was Gerard K. Baer of Pensacola, Florida, who purchased the car in May 1966 for a cash price of $7,000. Unfortunately, the car was hit on the driver’s side during a road accident in his first year of ownership, damaging the left door, rocker panel, and rear quarter panel. The car was subsequently sold to Dave Truhaft of Toledo, Ohio, who, over the course of 18 months, took on the task of repairing the car himself. Over the ensuing decade, the road car passed between a handful of owners in the Midwest. During this time, it was repainted white with a blue stripe and was fitted with later-style round taillights.
In 1985, CSX 3195 was sold to Shreve McLaren “Mac” Archer of Carmel Valley, California. A pediatrician who pioneered research and treatment in shaken baby syndrome and traumatic brain and spinal injuries, Archer’s profession overlapped with his passion for vintage racing, leading to his advocacy for safer barriers at race tracks and his work designing improved automotive seating and back protection for motorcyclists. He obtained several patents for safety devices and was published in numerous medical journals; on track, he won the Autoweek Vintage Motor Racing challenge in 1993 in a Can-Am McLaren, showcasing his talent behind the wheel.
Shortly after he acquired the car—which was then sporting a 1977 repaint in red—Archer tasked Entropy Racing in Monterey with rebuilding it as a vintage racer. It was duly finished with 7.5-inch and 9.5-inch Halibrand wheels at the front and back, respectively, as well as a hood scoop, side-exit exhausts, a race windscreen, and—crucially—a fully race-prepared 427 cubic-inch V-8 engine.
Archer proved quite successful in vintage racing in California and across the West Coast. A list of events that accompanies the car details some ninety-one race meetings entered by Archer between 1985 and 2006, with numerous appearances at Willow Springs, Laguna Seca, and Sears Point, as well as the occasional outing at tracks further afield, including Watkins Glen and Road America. A photo exists of Carroll Shelby sitting in the car at a car show with Mac Archer, which is included in the history file.
With so many appearances in California in particular, it is no wonder that CSX 3195 is remembered fondly by those lucky enough to see it at speed. In 2003, after two decades of racing, Archer commissioned a cosmetic refresh of the Cobra. Marque specialist, Bruce Terry, removed the paint to reveal years of unsatisfactory repair work from previous owners, rectifying all imperfections to a remarkable standard. Once the work was complete, the car returned to racing in the summer of 2004.
Following Archer’s tragic passing in 2007 at the age of 58, the Cobra was retained by his family before being sold to John Linfesty of Santa Monica, California. Linfesty owned CSX 3195 for a short period of time, racing the car once at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and attended The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering in 2012, prior to trading it to Jim Farley, the current CEO of Ford Motor Company, in November of that same year.
No stranger to fast Fords or, indeed, Shelbys, Farley was, at the time, employed by Ford Motor Company as Executive Vice President for Global Marketing, Sales & Service. In the hunt for a serious, race-prepared 427 Cobra, he swapped a 289 Cobra and another Shelby with Linfesty for CSX 3195. Farley had the car fully restored and repainted blue with white stripes, and it made several appearances at race meetings with him in his capacity at Ford. The car’s color scheme was inspired by Farley’s prior ownership of CSX 2513, one of the six USRRC Cobras built for 1964, which bore an identical livery. As was the case in Archer’s ownership, the car was looked after by Eric Bernhard of Entropy Racing, with an engine rebuild being carried out by Jack Roush, a good friend of Farley’s. Prior to the car’s repaint in its current livery under Farley’s ownership, the car was raced at Laguna Seca during the Monterey Pre-Historics and Historics in 2013. While at a Ford Racing press event in May of 2014, Farley gave David Freiburger the aforementioned ride in CSX 3195, resulting in an article titled “The Most Brutal Car I’ve Ever Been In.”
A promotion to President of Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa necessitated a move overseas for the Farley family in late 2014, which, in turn, led to the sale of CSX 3195 to the current owner. In an email written after his purchase, Farley said: “I intended to own the perfect Cobra and 3195 is it. I have put all my own expertise as well as the best of the best experts to perfect the ultimate Cobra.”
The current owner acquired the car several years ago, upon the recommendation of both well-known Cobra authority Lynn Park and Cobra registrar Ned Scudder in searching for his ideal 427 Cobra. With him, the car has been shown at several local events, though has not raced since Farley’s stewardship. Several modifications were made to make the car more street-able, including fitting interior carpets, swapping its previous race seats for S/C-style bucket seats sourced from Shelby American (the car’s original seats are included in the sale), and a dashboard-mounted rearview mirror.
Shown one year at the Shelby Family Car Show in Dallas, Texas, the current owner had the opportunity to meet Peter Brock and have him sign the car’s engine bay, adding his name alongside those of Jack Roush, Lynn Park, Eric Bernhard, Jim Farley Jr., and Aaron Shelby. With the current owner, the engine was recently rebuilt with compression tuned to 13.5:1 for street use. Dynoed on 93-octane gasoline, the engine now produces between 525-550 bhp at the rear wheels. The car’s history file contains numerous invoices from Entropy Racing throughout the 1990s and early 2000s while in the ownership of Mac Archer, a handful of invoices from John Linfesty’s ownership, its racing logbook from Archer’s ownership, and a selection of magazines and publications in which the car has been featured.
A well-known car in the Californian vintage racing community that was later owned by the current President and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, CSX 3195 has a fascinating story to tell and offers all the performance and panache one expects from a 427 Cobra. All it needs now is a new owner looking to enjoy it on either road or track.