Get your checkbooks ready.
Cars like this don't come up for sale very often. What you're looking at is Carroll Shelby's privately-owned 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra that was purchased from his estate after he died in 2012. Not only does it have a legendary original owner, whose name remains attached to today's Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, but this example is just one of five 427 Cobras painted in Charcoal Gray. CXS3178, which will cross the stage at Mecum Auction's Kissimmee event next month, was built in March 1966 and was owned by Shelby himself since day one.
It first arrived at his LAX facility with a black interior and no engine or gearbox, as was the case with all Cobras. On January 7, 1966, "Build 427 Street Cobra CSX3178" was opened and closed on the day of completion, March 3, 1966.
It was then shipped to Shelby's home in Dallas with its new 427 V8 and four-speed gearbox. Six years later, Shelby's friend and Cobra specialist restored the car and repainted it Guardsman Blue with a gold nose. At a later unknown date, Shelby had it modified with an aluminum-head 427 side-oiler engine paired to an automatic transmission.
Years later, in 2002, the car was repainted red during its time at the Shelby Museum in Las Vegas. Four years after Shelby's death, the car was bought by the seller and underwent a complete Concours restoration by Legendary Motorcar Company.
At that time, it was returned to the original Charcoal paint and four-speed manual. CSX3178 has often been overlooked in the world of original Cobras. For example, CSX2000, the original small-block Cobra, was sold at auction a few years ago for nearly $14 million, but it was never personally owned by the man himself like CSX3178 was.
The sale includes a detailed history of the car, tools, and some vital documents like the invoices for both AC Cars and Shelby. There's even a photo of Shelby and Dan Gurney standing next to a then-new CSX3178. Mecum didn't provide an estimated price range though it's pretty obvious we're looking at least a seven-figure sum.