If you want a car that is capable of winning the world’s toughest races, the Shelby 427 Cobra price is one of the most affordable. When new in 1966 it was priced well above any other American car. This served to cover the intense engineering costs and keep it away from inexperienced drivers. Today, an unrestored original Shelby 427 Cobra for sale will start at over one million dollars.
A question we often hear is: “How much is a Shelby Cobra, and why?” The biggest determinant is supply versus demand. As these cars get older, inevitably a few will be lost from theft and forces of nature. Because there were only 998 Cobras built by Shelby American, to call them scarce is an understatement.
For a long time, the AC Cobra prices were directly proportional to their Big Block brothers. The team delivered 655 AC Cobras riding on leaf springs with Small Block power. At the time of press, the 289 Shelby Cobra price is just shy of one million dollars. AC Cobra prices have stayed under seven figures because of continuation cars, so they will remain in the shadow of the Shelby Cobra 427 price.
When you consider $7,500 for the Shelby Cobra original price, they are a great investment. As of March 2021, an original Shelby Cobra 427 price was nearly six million dollars. So to answer the aforementioned question, Shelby Cobra original prices were expensive and that limited the supply. Six decades later the Shelby Cobra 427 price represents a car and an automaker that tugs at the heartstrings of all automotive enthusiasts.
Shelby 427 Cobra Review
The Shelby 427 Cobra began life in England as the AC Ace in 1953. It was initially offered with leaf spring suspension and an anemic straight-six. Carroll Shelby was a racer who was looking to take on the world. Ford supplied their 289 V8 and the combination was christened the 1965 Shelby Cobra.
Small block Cobras are fun, but there was a limit to their power. So after a few experiments with the 390 Big Block, Ford realized the potential of the 427 Shelby Cobra horsepower. Starting from scratch, the chassis was made of 4″ steel tubing instead of 3″. Coil springs replaced the leaves and a massive radiator was used to keep the beast cool.
For a proper Shelby 427 Cobra review, imagine incredible power, sound, heat, and vibration in one package. It turns well for an old car, but you really feel the 600-lb engine as the center of gravity. Being so nose-heavy, plan your maneuvers well in advance, and be ready for adversity. A 5-point harness and a helmet are recommended. Considering the original AC Cobra prices reflect their leaf-spring chassis, the coil-spring design that underpins every Shelby 427 Cobra makes it much more confident over broken pavement.
Shelby 427 Cobra Specs
Nothing beats the feeling of a 427 Shelby Cobra specs. That is because it has a massive engine while only weighing 2,355 lbs. Depending on differential ratios, the nominal Shelby 427 Cobra top speed is 160 mph. Surprisingly quick for the era, most Shelby 427 Cobra 0-60 is 3.4 seconds.
Engine: Ford 427 (7-Liter) V8
Transmission: 4-speed Manual
Torque: 419 lb-ft
0-60: 3.4 seconds
1/4 Mile: 12.2 seconds @ 118 mph
Top Speed: 160 mph
Shelby 427 Cobra Engine
When purchasing a Shelby 427 Cobra for sale, you receive a capable chassis wrapped around a monster engine. The Shelby 427 Cobra engine was designed for racing and heavy-duty environments. Known as the “Side Oiler” Ford added an oil gallery on the driver’s side to feed the crank bearings first and cam bearings second.
Known as priority oiling, it kept the bottom end cooler than competitors. While the Shelby 427 Cobra competition models used aggressive camshafts, the showroom model was very conservative. It is a hydraulic flat tappet with 500 lift and only 78 degrees of overlap. This allowed the Shelby 427 Cobra mpg to be on-par with other exotics of the era. The engine and its condition can make or break the 427 Shelby Cobra price. So make sure the numbers match those stored in the Shelby Cobra CSX registry.
Perhaps the rarest aspect of the Shelby Cobra 427 engine is that some of them were larger than reported. Considering Ford was supplying the side-oiler 427 to many teams, Shelby American was forced to deliver cars with the larger 428 Cobra Jet V8. Nevertheless, it received Shelby’s custom camshaft along with carburetor, intake, and a tuned distributor. Considering it is only 1 cubic inch larger, it hasn’t caused much division among those looking for a Shelby 427 Cobra engine for sale.
Shelby 427 Cobra Transmission
Much like most performance car of the era, the Shelby 427 Cobra was only available with a manual transmission. Ford’s Top Loader 4-speed is nearly indestructible, and the hydraulic clutch linkage was easy to modulate. Beefy synchros can be felt through the shifter, and the close ratios make it easy to drive without using the clutch. Why can’t cars be this good again? It is doubtful that a modern manual gearbox could withstand the 427 Shelby Cobra horsepower.
Late-model Ford transmissions offer five and six speeds for those who desire closer ratios. Adding one or two overdrive gears to your Shelby 427 Cobra transmission is a stealthy way to make the car more livable on the highway and more fun when driving deep into triple-digit speeds.
Aside from adding carpet, the original Cobra interior was carried over from the AC Ace. It offers two leather seats without headrests, a massive wood steering wheel, all necessary gauges, and an ignition switch. A rollover hoop was optional for the driver. Designed for the average Englishman in the early 50’s, it is a tight squeeze for many. An offset pedal box and lack of a roof are common grievances.
Shelby 427 Cobra Brakes
Prototypes of the AC Cobra all had inboard brakes. This offered the lowest unsprung weight possible. It was a costly system, so Carroll chose traditional disc brakes by Girling. Much lighter than drums of the day, it allowed the Shelby Cobra weight to be under 2,400 lbs. Given the Shelby Cobra top speed of 160 mph, it was nice to know you had world-famous brakes at each corner.
Given the size of the original Shelby 427 Cobra brakes, they tend to fade in hot weather. Shelby and his team solved this by changing the entire spindle in pit lane. Modern metallurgy has improved the original design to the point it is no longer an issue. However, should you wish to add safety, larger disc brakes can be made to fit under the original wheels of your Shelby 427 Cobra.
Shelby 427 Cobra Standout Features
Perhaps the most copied car of all time, there are a dozen companies that offer reproductions of the Shelby 427 Cobra. One reason is that the price of an authentic Shelby Cobra is unreachable by the average enthusiast. Every original Cobra has a unique 4-digit code.
Starting with the first production car “CSX 2000”, every authentic car is known as a CSX Cobra. Carroll Shelby and his team kept incredible records of each car, so validating a Shelby Cobra CSX number is as easy as a phone call. A real Shelby Cobra is worth a fortune in any condition, while replicas rise and fall with the market.
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