Cars & Auto

Damn! That’s A Nice Shelby Cobra That Just Pulled Up!

Many classic cars can be the center of attention for a minute or two. The Shelby Cobra is a collector’s car that has very few rivals. Its unique look and speed are legendary. These cars will have six-figure prices at auction. Or there is the Shelby Cobra replica market.

“Damn! That’s a nice Shelby Cobra that just pulled up!” Those were the first words said this morning after “Hello!”

You just never know what kind of cars are going to pull up in your office parking lot. “I’ve got more into it than its worth!” were the famous introductory words from the owner of a ground up restoration Shelby Cobra from 1965. Not all Shelby Cobra builds are introduced this way. Still, it’s a very honest introduction.

Shelby Cobra

A car’s frame is just the introduction to collector personalization. A replica car that is built in the eyes of one collector may not resonate the same with another classic car collector. Many companies create support components to eager collectors who want to own and enjoy a Shelby Cobra.

Collectors Dashboard evaluates high-end collectibles as an alternative asset class. The same capital that could have been invested into stocks or bonds is being used to buy high-end collectibles. Classic car collectors may want to own certain classic cars for years. Investors would be buying an asset to sell at a later date for a profit.

It is important to show both sides of the coin for those who want to pursue this iconic 1960s muscle car. One thing is for certain for those who want to own a Shelby Cobra — get out your checkbook!

A classic car collector will recognize one of the original 1965 to 1967 Shelby Cobra as a known asset. The body has the familiar shape shared by each of the three production years. An original Shelby Cobra 427 may be valued at nearly $6 million according to the DuPont Registry.

Since original production ceased there has been aftermarket demand for kit cars based on the originals. The kit cars use officially licensed Shelby Cobra frames and are customized by either the future owner or a car shop constructing the car with a future collector in mind.

As the owner of a kit car introduced this car to me, a lot of collectors use the expression “technically a 1965”. This is not a fault despite the sound of it. Collectibles are meant to be enjoyed and there are companies that support the demand for collectors who build their own 1965 Shelby Cobra.

FantomWorks is a popular classic car oriented television program that showcased one of these kits in season six of its show. The company is known as a “continuation cars” company and was authorized by Shelby in the late 1980s. This is in some ways almost identical to being able to build a 1980s Delorean car from the ground up today. The final 1960s serial number of the original Shelby Cobra was CSX3660, and the aftermarket or continuation examples available in kit-form began with serial number ‘CSX4000.’

The website for the show explains that frame production of CSX4001 to CSX4999 took nearly 20 years and many different business relationships to complete. The authorized chassis are produced in Las Vegas, Nevada. Like any reproduction, variations can occur and that should be expected this many years after the original car model.

Collectors and investors are frequently competing head-to-head for the exact same assets in auctions. Both parties know, or at least need to know, that there are no guarantees of a profit. Collecting classic cars is also an expensive proposition as cars need constant attention. They need to be kept in a garage, they need constant cleaning and detailing, they need to be driven, and they need fresh oil and gas. They also have to be insured, and getting replacement parts can be expensive and time consuming.

Here are two listings (and links to each description) for aftermarket kit Shelby Cobras for sale in 2021:

1964 Shelby-American Cobra Crate 302 V8 Very Accurate Kit selling for $34,900.00 in Lenexa, Kansas.

2003 Superformance Cobra Mark III Vehicle Description selling for $79,997.00. The car description by the seller defends the price desired.

Mecum Car Auctions is a easy source to find past prices paid for Shelby Cobra replicas and classic cars in general. Here are some of the sales including the year sold, price realized, and the mechanical description:

  • 1965 FORD SHELBY COBRA REPLICA Fuel-Injected 427 CI, 4-Speed sold at Mecum’s 2021 Monterey Auction for $60,500.00.
  • 2005 KITV SHELBY COBRA REPLICA Hot Rod Magazine Project Sidewinder Feature Car sold at Mecum’s 2021 Monterey Auction for $59,400.00.
  • SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION SHELBY COBRA REPLICA 392 CI, 5-Speed sold at Mecum’s 2021 Monterey Auction for $56,100.

The above items have rather long and detailed descriptions that will show a step-by-step and inch-by-inch review of each sale.

One standout Shelby Cobra replica was from Mecum’s 2021 Houston Auction for $108,900.00.. This was a 1965 Shelby Cobra Replica 427/525 HP. The simple description said:

“Titled as 1964 Ford, Ford Performance 427/525 HP engine, Tremec 5-speed transmission, Power-wheel disc brakes, Independent rear suspension, Chrome side exhaust, Halibrand style wheels.”

Customization of a replica car should not be seen as a deterrent for collectors. Mecum Auctions has dozens of recent sales of Shelby Cobras from the last few years. To their credit, adding the word “replica” in the auction sale history helps everyone better understand prices paid for replicas versus prices paid for originals.

Classic car collectors who want an original classic rather than replica cars will have to get their checkbooks out even more. A “Main Attraction” 1967 Shelby 427 ‘Semi Competition’ Cobra sold at Mecum’s 2021 Monterey auction sold for the sum of $2,860,000.00. Model serial number ‘CSX3045’ was listed as just 1 of 29 produced. Needless to say, there are a lot of reasons that auction matters so much.

Again, checkbooks out!

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