How Strange Is It For A 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra To Have An Automatic?


Yes, but that's what makes this one particularly rare.

Not everyone may know this, but Carroll Shelby's personal cars were often times equipped with an automatic transmission. The reason was because of his long legs and lanky build. Without a clutch pedal there was some additional legroom. Shelby figured correctly that he wasn't the only Cobra driver out there with the same issue, so some of his cars were built with an automatic. This extremely rare 1965 Cobra 289 was one of them.

Set to hit the auction block at Mecum's upcoming even in Las Vegas, CSX2549 is one of just twenty 289 Cobras equipped with a C4 automatic gearbox. Not all of those original 20 or so still exist, but this Silver on Red color combo example is in pristine condition. Its history is also pretty interesting because it originally couldn't find a buyer. The Syracuse, New York, dealership where it first went on sale back in January 1965 sent it back to Shelby in California after a buyer couldn't be found. That's kind of a shame because that color combination was quite desirable at the time (still is) and it featured whitewall tires, five chromed knock-off wire wheels, a dash-mounted mirror, wind wings, and a quick-fill gas cap. Original price: $6,047.05, including delivery.

It'll sell for a lot more than that next month based on what original Shelby Cobras are worth now. It's had a number of owners over the decades, including a Texas-based auto journalist who wrote about it several times. He also had the car re-painted in its original silver after a previous owner had it painted black. Everything else is all original. Photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions.

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