Shelby Cobra Super Snake Strikes Again

March, 2021

Barrett-Jackson’s upcoming high-profile auction in Scottsdale will feature an incredible lineup of valuable and coveted classics, including one of the most significant Cobras in existence.  Built personally for Carroll Shelby, this particular Cobra (CSX 3015) is the most powerful roadster his company produced, and it is the only remaining one of its kind.  It’s anyone’s guess what the final hammer price will be when it crosses the auction block.  However, there’s no doubt the sale of this only-one-of-a-kind classic will have the auction hall rocking, and it just might be one for the record books (again).

How Shelby Cobra Started

The Shelby Cobra is a British-American sports car. It all started in 1961 when Carroll Shelby, an American race car driver, approached AC Cars of Britain with an idea.  In a letter to AC Cars, he asked them to build a race car body and chassis. When the engine-less body was completed, it was sent to his speed shop in California.

Shelby initially went to Chevrolet, but his request for an engine to use in his Cobra project was declined because the company wanted to focus on the Corvette. Not being denied, Carroll next went to Ford for a power plant, whereas it turned out, they were looking for a way to counter the Chevy’s Corvette.   A deal was struck, and in 1962, the first Shelby Cobra was introduced.  Initially powered by a Ford 260 V8 engine, the Cobra was soon upgraded to the 289 V8.

Shortly after its introduction, the Shelby was the talk of the town, especially among sports car enthusiasts. Its brute power in a small and lightweight body made it an instant competitor in the global competition

Developing the Shelby Cobra 427

Being known for his bold ambition, Shelby did not stop after the first iteration of the Cobra. He knew that the car was destined for even greater things, and he had bigger dreams. In 1964, he started his work on the Shelby Cobra 427.   

While its design was based on the original with a few stretched body parts, the new snake incorporated the massive seven-liter Ford engine that had been developed for NASCAR racing.  At 425 hp and more than 480 ft-lb of torque, it takes only four seconds to go from zero to 60 mph and roughly 10.3 seconds to reach 100 mph from zero.   This acceleration rate, exceptional even by today’s standards, was one of the car’s biggest selling points during its heyday.  Some would think it was crazy to think of putting such a huge and powerful engine in such a small race car, but to Carroll, it was just another day at the office.

The Only Surviving Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake

Carroll Shelby always said his favorite car was “the next new car built.”  So, how do you top the Cobra 427?  That came with the development of the 1966 Cobra 427 Super Snake.  With its added twin Paxton superchargers, it’s considered to be the ultimate Cobra, turning out 800 hp.

Super Snake Engine

Only two of these supercars were built, and only one remains in existence today, the CSX 3015. This rarity, coupled with the fact that it was originally titled to Carroll Shelby, himself, elevates an already highly collectible Cobra to unbelievable heights. Interestingly, this very special roadster has already passed through the hands of celebrities and at least one billionaire, selling most recently in 2015 for an astounding $5.1 million. For the upcoming sale at Barrett-Jackson, some estimates are as high as $8 million. As an additional data point, earlier this year, another Shelby Cobra 427 owned by Carroll, CSX3178, (not a Super Snake), sold for $5.94 million.

Got at least $5 million to spare? Even if you do not have millions of dollars available, you might still want to follow the event and see who the next lucky owner of the Shelby Cobra Super Snake will be. This amazing car will cross the auction stage again on March 27th.

  Barrett-Jackson 2015 – 1966 Shelby Cobra Super Snake (CSX 3015)


I’d Sure Like to Have a Shelby Cobra So How Can I Get One?

Aside from having a friend that will loan you his Cobra (a very good friend indeed), there are four ways to get into the driver’s seat of any vehicle – direct purchase, leasing, renting, and subscription services. Fortunately, there are many Cobras available for sale, including a limited number of originals built from 1962 to 1967, and many non-original replica cars built in the decades that followed.  If you can find one of the originals, the price will be at least $500,000 and could go well into the millions.  Replica Cobra body kits have been one of the most popular classic cars ever produced, so the supply is huge.  These Cobra clones regularly sell for $30,000, to over $100,000.

Unfortunately, leasing or renting a Shelby Cobra isn’t possible.  However, it is curious to note that one of Carroll Shelby’s most innovative ideas in the ‘60s was to supply Hertz with specially prepped Shelby GT350H Mustangs.  Perhaps we need a little of Carroll’s marketing skills to kick-start a Cobra option for these services.

  1966 Shelby GT350H – Hertz ‘Rent-A-Racer’

The latest way to hit the road is through subscription services.  For a weekly or monthly fee, you can get the total package of mileage, maintenance, insurance, roadside assistance, and more, depending on the specific plan.  For subscription services like Hertz My Car plan, you still won’t be able to get a Cobra but they do have a variety of late-model cars to choose from. With this plan, you can drive a luxury car through the week and trade it in for a fun car on the weekend.  Now if someone at Hertz is listening, please add Cobras as a weekend fun car option, we know Carroll Shelby would approve.

Update (Post Auction)

The Super Snake set another record, selling at the March 2021 Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale auction for $5,500,000, including sales commission.   

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