1964 Shelby 289 Cobra, CSX2328. Photos courtesy Bonhams.
Launched in 1962, Carroll Shelby’s Cobras quickly earned a reputation as fast and fearsome in competition, yet not every Cobra delivered turned a wheel in anger. CSX2328, a 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra, was configured as a well-equipped driver, delivering thrills to its owners on road, not track. Restored to near-original condition in recent years, the Cobra sold for a fee-inclusive $1,089,000, enough to enter the top-10 at Bonham’s Quail Lodge sale.
Originally finished in red with a black interior, CSX2328 was ordered by Washington, DC, dealership Cherner Motor Company with whitewall tires, a rear luggage rack, a heater, tinted sun visors, rear bumper guards, a front grille guard, aluminum rocker covers, a chrome air cleaner, an outside rearview mirror, an AM radio, and antifreeze in the coolant. Its first owner was Dodge Olmsted, who purchased the Cobra from Cherner in October of 1964, keeping the car for 16 months before trading it in on a 427 Cobra.
CSX2328’s second owner was Army lieutenant Robert Whittaker, who kept the car for roughly six years, painting it metallic green. The Cobra’s next steward opted for silver, but when Bill Kemper purchased the car in 1974, it was once again refinished in its original red. Three short-term owners came next, not surprising given the sudden rise in Cobra values in the late 1970s, but in 1980 the 289 found a six-year home with Peter Leon, still wearing a red finish with painted wire wheels.
Seymour Levin purchased the car in 1986, and it remained a part of his collection for 24 years. The next owner, who acquitted the car in 2010, performed a mechanical refresh before selling to the consignor shortly after. Under his care, the Shelby’s undamaged body was given a bare-metal repaint, a rebuild of the original drivetrain, and a full restoration of its interior. Today, again wearing whitewall tires on its painted wire spoke wheels, CSX2328 stands as a handsome reminder that Cobras, while successful racing cars, were designed for more than just competition.
1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America.
Other cars in the Bonhams top-10 included a one-owner 1995 McLaren F1, which sold for a record-setting $15.62 million; a 1963 Jaguar E-type Lightweight, once raced by Briggs Cunningham and team, which sold for $8.0 million in a post-block transaction, establishing a new auction record for the model; a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB alloy long-nose, which sold for $3.08 million; a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, which sold for $2.52 million; a 2003 Ferrari Enzo, which sold for $2.04 million; a 1990 Ferrari F40, which sold for $1.46 million; a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America, which sold for $1.27 million; a 1965 Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta, with Boano coachwork, which sold for $1.13 million; and a 1941 Mercedes-Benz 540 Cabriolet B, which sold for $929,500.
For additional details on the 2017 Quail Lodge sale, visit Bonhams.com.