Caroll Shelby himself handed the keys over to the first owner.
The Shelby Cobra is one of the purest sports cars on the planet. Later on, Mazda would design its own take on the British sports car and build it to be reliable. However, in 1961, Caroll Shelby requested an original Cobra from AC Cars in the UK to be modified to take a V8 engine. Chevrolet wouldn't give him one of its V8 engines as the automaker didn't want to power competition for the Corvette. Ford readily agreed, though, and the Shelby Cobra was introduced to the world with a 3.6-liter Windsor V8 under the hood. Now, replica Shelby Cobras are ten a penny, but the real thing is a rarity, and this one is going up for auction via Mecum.
The listing for this 1966 427 Cobra roadster lays it on thick with the fact that it was originally sold through the Tasca Ford dealership in Rhode Island. Tasca Ford is a performance biased dealership with serious heritage through the name Bob Tasca Sr. and is responsible for creating the 428 Cobra Jet Ford Mustang. According to the listing, this Cobra was delivered to the dealership in the spring of 1966 by Shelby's "Cobra Caravan," which was a twelve city tour that celebrated the Manufacturer's Championship win of 1965. According to the original owner, Edward Karedes, the keys for his new Cobra were handed over directly from Carroll Shelby when it was delivered.
Karedes owned the car until 1987 and, once he sold it, the Cobra went through several collections. Today it resides in a private collection but will soon be auctioned off at the Mecum Kissimmee auction event at the beginning of January. It features a 427 cubic-inch big-block Ford engine that is fed air from 4-barrel carburetors and has its power distributed to the back wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission. Mecum estimates that due to its condition and history, this Cobra will sell for somewhere between $1,500,000 and $1,900,000.