One of the surviving members of the 1965 Cobra Caravan is in search of a new home.
It may sound hard to believe, but back in 1965, most Americans had never heard of a Texan named Carroll Shelby or his company, Shelby American. Remember, it wasn’t until 1966 when, with Shelby’s help, Ford beat Ferrari at Le Mans. As part of an effort prior to that historic race, Shelby American gathered six of its cars – a Cobra Daytona coupe, a GT40, 289 and 427 Cobras, a “stock” GT350, and a GT350 R – and took them on a 12-city tour appropriately called the Cobra Caravan.
The car you’re looking at is the GT350 R from that show, and it’s heading to auction later this month at RM Auction’s Scottsdale, Arizona event. This Wimbledon White GT350 R was also not the typical fastback Mustang. Originally priced at $6,000 ($1,300 more than the standard GT350), this car came with a number of improvements, beginning with the Shelby-built 289 V8 with a supposed 350 hp. Considering the car weighs just 2,550 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio is pretty impressive. It also features many competition parts, such as the deep front fiberglass air scoop, race-ready interior, oversize wheel openings, Plexiglas side windows, competition exhaust, and 15-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels with riveted aluminum rear louvers.
Performance? It's capable of 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13.6 seconds at 104.4 mph. Following its caravan tour, it ended up in South America to participate in a series of grueling Alpine-style rallies. Somehow, it survived South America’s treacherous roads and was later sold to a US collector in Arkansas. It was quietly brought to the US in a military cargo plane to avoid Drug Enforcement Agency officials from ripping it apart in search of hidden drugs. It was the 80s, after all. It ultimately ended up with its current owner who funded a proper Concours restoration. Considering its history and the fact it’s an original Shelby, RM Auctions estimates it will sell for between $1 million to $1.2 million. Photos courtesy of RM Auctions.