Presented by RM Sotheby’s Private Sales – When he shoehorned an American V-8 into the shapely, British-built AC Ace, Carroll Shelby knew he was creating a sports car with potent performance both on-and off-track. But he could have scarcely imagined that the first 1962 Shelby Cobra would touch off a sensation that is still going strong today. By 1965, the Cobra had been developed into what is perhaps its most iconic form: 427-cubic-inch Ford V-8-powered Mark III, which featured a new chassis to make better use of its greatly increased output, and, above it, curvy bodywork with wide, flared fenders. Conceived with competition in mind, the 427 S/C, or “semi-competition,” model was also made available for those willing to contend with the Cobra’s raw power on the street.
The enduring popularity of the Shelby Cobra is such that numerous companies supply chassis, bodies, and components, often with home construction in mind. The cost and quality of these products vary, with only the finest replica Cobras—including the “4000 Series” of continuation cars—each earning CSX chassis numbers, offered in either fiberglass or aluminum. But when it comes to building bodies for these special cars, Provo, Utah-based Kirkham Motorsports undoubtedly sits in the upper echelon of suppliers.
Since 1994, Kirkham has offered exacting Cobra replicas in a range of configurations, including street and racing variants of the original 289 and the 427. From the very start, each has featured bodywork hand-crafted by a team of artisans in Poland—an unlikely transatlantic alliance said to have been forged when company founder David Kirkham was called to help repair the damaged nose cone of a recently imported jet fighter!
CHASSIS CSX 4600
Kirkham Cobra bodies are typically rendered in lightweight aluminum, but for discriminating enthusiasts in search of something exceptional, it can also create distinctive bodywork in unexpected and challenging materials like copper and, in the case of chassis CSX 4600, bronze. In addition to the eye-catching, unexpected medium, these unpainted bodies reveal any underlying flaws, making them the ultimate demonstration of the quality of Kirkham’s offerings.
CSX 4600’s gleaming bronze bodywork, hand-polished to a mirrorlike finish, is broken only by a pair of racing stripes—here cleverly brushed into the metal surface, rather than applied with paint. Stainless steel side exhaust pipes and a chromed roll bar add contrast, and the car is equipped with Halibrand-style pin-drive knock-off wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle “billboard” tires.
The car’s cockpit is suitably minimalistic, featuring tinted sun visors, period-style black leather bucket seats, and a leather-covered dashboard equipped with a suite of Speedhut performance gauges, with the speedometer and tachometer bearing Carroll Shelby’s signature; the center emblem of the wood-rimmed steering wheel is also engraved with Shelby’s signature. The bottle for the onboard fire-suppression system sits below the dash.
This Cobra’s spectacular appearance is matched by its mechanical specification. An impressive aluminum-block 427 FE V-8, built by the Carroll Shelby Engine Company and stroked and bored to 511 cubic inches of displacement, is to be found underneath the hood. Breathing through eight 58-milimeter Borla Induction throttle bodies, this fuel-injected engine produces over 650 horsepower and over 670 pound-feet of torque (as accompanying dynamometer data attests). It is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which sends power to the rear wheels via a 3.54:1 differential.
Nearly six decades after it first appeared, the Shelby Cobra still makes a powerful statement anywhere it goes—something that is doubly true of this spectacular Cobra 427 S/C “4000 Series.” Crafted in bronze by Kirkham Motorsports, CSX 4600’s dazzling hand-formed body and powerful fuel-injected 427 FE V-8 would make it a prized addition to any collection celebrating American sports car performance.
This special Cobra is available for immediate acquisition via RM Sotheby’s Private Sales Division.