Words Bob Sblendorio, photos Thomas Sblendorio:
A 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 is a car that you just don’t get to see very often…or ever. It’s a legendary car.
“The 427 is just monstrous to drive” is how Jim Taylor describes driving the car. Of the many cars in his collection, it’s one of the exceptions when it comes to letting his friends drive it. He is pretty open with letting his friends drive and experience his cars, but the Cobra can get “squirrely” in a hurry. He explained that excellent driving (or racing) experience is needed to handle it.
Jim purchased his Cobra in 2005 at an RM Auction in Boca Raton, FL. It had only 5,504 miles and was all original with the exception of a new paint job. He is the third owner.
First AC Cobra, Mark I
The very first AC Cobra was shipped to the Shelby shop in Los Angeles in 1962. It was shipped without an engine and transmission. The car, known as CSX 2000, was a successfully made British AC Ace sports car, in which Shelby installed a Ford 260 ci V-8 engine. That prototype was light, very fast and did well on the road and at the track. The first 75 Mark I Cobras were fitted with the 260 ci Ford V-8 engines, and the next 51 cars with a 289 ci engine.
Many years ago, Carroll Shelby was known for the simple mantra that he once told Car and Driver: “Little car, big engine, it’s as simple as that.”
The major change for the Mark II was a newly designed front end to accommodate rack-and-pinion steering. By November of 1964, there were 528 produced and shipped to the United States. The cars were shipped painted and trimmed, and then Shelby installed the engines and transmissions.
To accommodate a big-block V-8, a new Cobra was designed in cooperation with Ford in Detroit. The new car had bigger chassis tubes, coil spring suspension all around, a bigger opening for a larger radiator, and wider fenders to fit the big-block engine. The shipments of the Cobra Mark III were started in 1965 and lasted until 1967.
There were two models of the Mark III, the production model and the competition model. The production model, like Jim’s, is rated at 355 bhp with a top-speed of 164 mph. The competition model has 485 bhp and a top-speed of 185 mph. The production models, intended for street use, were fitted with either a 427 ci or a 428 ci engine (even though it is referred to as a Cobra 427). More specifically, the 3100 and 3300 series have the 427 ci and the 3200 series have the 428 ci engine.
Having the opportunity to see and study the details of such an iconic car in person was special, but the real thrill was when it was started and was driven out of the building for the photo shoot. The sound of that big-block engine was a thrill that even my grandma would acknowledge. The thing that was striking is that in-the-day, these cars were raced at very high speeds with virtually no driver protections…the nerve and skill needed had to be extraordinary!
Jim Taylor’s – 1967 Shelby Cobra 427
|Engine||Ford 428 ci V-8|
|Performance||355 hp, 460 lb-ft torque|
|Chassis||4” main tubes, coil spring all around|
|Chassis number||CSX 3299|
|Cobra 427, cars manufactured||291 (260 production, “street” & 31 competition)|
|Value||Priceless…more or less|