1964 Shelby 289 Cobra
The original iconic, badass American sports car
Authentic rack & pinion street Cobra
Concours-level cosmetic restoration by Canepa, mechanical restoration by Cobra Automotive
289 HiPo V8 engine, 4-speed manual transmission
Documented in the World Registry of Cobras and GT40s
1,511 miles since restoration
There was one name in the world of American sports cars that made your head turn when heard: Shelby. The American-blooded racing car driver turned car manufacturer, Carrol Shelby created one of the most iconic and authentic sports cars of all time: the Shelby Cobra. Powerful, agile, and lightweight, these American icons took to the tracks and racked up wins which quickly spread their popularity throughout the world. Driven by the likes of Dan Gurney, Steve McQueen, and many other celebrities and racing drivers, the Shelby Cobra was an instant classic which today is now considered one of the best sports cars of all time. The combination of accessible performance, drop-dead looks, and its everyday usability allowed it to become one of the most desirable American cars in history.
Channeling the American ingenuity that Lance Reventlow’s Scarab racing builders did in the late 1950s, Carrol Shelby’s Cobras were hand crafted from aluminum for an extremely lightweight body. Practically shrink-wrapped to the steel frames underneath, the street Cobras had curves and beauty that were most often reserved for only some of the finest hand-built race and coach-built cars. Powered by the mighty Ford 289 V8 engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission, the Shelby Cobra 289’s power-to-weight ratio was approaching race car territory, all in a road-legal package. This raw performance coupled with the Cobra’s winning streaks on the race track boosted them into the stratosphere, and becoming the de facto best American sports car ever made.
This 1964 Shelby Cobra 289, CSX2518, was billed to Shelby American on June 21st, 1964, and was shipped to Los Angeles on July 30th aboard the SS Dongedyk. On November 3rd, 1964 once the Cobra was completed at the Los Angeles headquarters it was invoiced to Reynolds Motors, Inc. in Syracuse, New York, delivered by a Shelby transporter. According to the World Registry of Cobras and GT40s, the car’s MSRP was $6,150.05.
The 289 Cobra first appeared with its owner Ray Danton in Colorado in the late 1970s who in 1981 brought the car to Bill Murray of Longmont, Colorado for racing preparation where after he entered the car in the SCCA races at Road Atlanta. John Baldwin became the next owner of the car who commented that it was one of the best-handling Cobras he had ever driven.
The Cobra was later acquired by its most recent owner, Roger Werner Jr. of Greenwich, Connecticut. The founder of Speedvision and the Outdoor Life Network, he made sure the Cobra was properly cared for by Cobra Automotive in Wallingford, Connecticut during his ownership. Before the Shelby left Cobra Automotive for the last time, it was completely mechanically restored to ensure that it was in excellent running order, ready to drive without question. When he decided that it was time for the Cobra to be enjoyed by a new owner, he spoke to Bruce Canepa after being longtime friends. The 289, being the rare automobile that it is, took no time in finding its way to Canepa. Immediately after arriving, the car was put through the “Canepa Difference” process.
The “Canepa Difference” process is an intensive scrutineering of all mechanical systems and cosmetic finishes. This attention to detail ensures that all systems are addressed as needed and that ever surface is inspected, making sure that the cars that have gone through this rigorous process are nothing short of perfection. The entire chassis was cleaned by hand, as well as the interior, engine bay and trunk. The Cobra had been restored in Guardsman Blue within the past decade, but Bruce made the decision to take the Cobra to the next level of fit, finish and quality. Fully serviced and cleaned, Canepa began the process of restoring the car cosmetically, gracing the Cobra with its new concours-level paint work along with an extensive list of other cosmetic finishes, because nothing is more sinister than an all-black Shelby Cobra.
Canepa began disassembling the car, removing all trim and components for paint work. With making the decision to paint the Cobra black, an immense amount of effort and time was put into the panel gaps and fitment of panels, with the bodylines finished to a concours level. The entire car was block sanded multiple times to ensure an incredibly smooth surface, and prepped to receive a flawless, deep black finish. With the paint process well under way, the rest of the cosmetic restoration included most of the chrome pieces on the car being rechromed to bring back their stunning shine. FIA alloy wheels were refinished and added to the car, and the roll bar was powder coated black to blend in with the rest of the Cobra. This extra care and level of detail would pay dividends with the new concours-level paint work that would soon be finished.
When done, the Shelby was reassembled, buffed and polished to a concours-level, and final touches made to create a truly menacing and stunning Shelby 289 Cobra. This level of prep and work is only accomplished with 500 plus hours of labor by the most skilled workers. Canepa also installed a new convertible top after restoring the framing and sourced new side curtains, and the car now presents as a stunning example of what a Shelby 289 Cobra should look like. Pair the concours-level cosmetic restoration by Canepa with the mechanical restoration by Cobra Automotive, this Cobra is the definition of stunning. Being one of the most iconic and American sports cars within the past century, the Shelby Cobra 289 never disappoints.