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AC Cobra Mk II

The collection

The biggest difference between an AC Cobra Mk I (chassis numbers CSX2000 to CSX2126) and an AC Cobra Mk II (to CSX2602) is the new rack-and-pinion steering (from the MGB, by the way) of the second generation; the steering rack, by the way, came from the VW Beetle. There were also a few visual adjustments to the front, but you can’t necessarily go on that, nor on the side air vents. All Mk IIs had the 4.7-litre Windsor engine.

Of course there is a collection; we will try to show only “clean” examples.

Chassis number: CSX 2216

Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Petersen Automotive Museum 2018, estimate $850,000 to $950,000, not sold, offered with the following text: «On 28 October 1963, AC Cars Limited invoiced Ford Motor Credit for a Cobra body in White with Red trim, top, tonneau, and rack-and-pinion steering. The body left the UK aboard the SS Pacific Fortune, which set sail for the U.S. on 7 November 1963 destined for Los Angeles, California. Upon arrival in the States, the Cobra was transported to Shelby American, Inc. in Venice. There, the car received its Ford powertrain, which included a 271-hp, 289-cu. in. Hi-Po V-8 engine, a four-speed manual transmission, and a Powr-Lok limited-slip differential. Shelby American invoiced Pearson Ford in San Diego on 13 January 1964 for a total of $5,525.20, less the $1,000 deposit. The window sticker MSRP shows the “Cobra Sports Roadster” listed at $5,995 plus $391 worth of Group A factory-installed optional equipment and $64.50 in Group B extras for a total initial investment of $6,747.50 with the license and taxes. CSX 2216 was originally purchased by Henry Hartwell Hester, an award-winning mid-century architect and avid motorsports enthusiast. Hester raced Formula 1 cars, enjoyed motorcycles, held his pilot’s license, and sailed with various yacht clubs. His business card is even attached to the inside front cover of the original AC Cobra Chassis Instruction Book. Below the card are handwritten notes on his car’s particulars. His recorded purchase date is 21 September 1964 with the chassis and engine numbers chronicled, as well. Mr. Hester also made notes on his choice of service agent (Precision Motors of Beverly Hills), plus tire specs, sources, and the Shelby factory information. His contact’s names, addresses, and phone numbers are all dutifully logged. Mr. Hester placed the car for sale in the May 1965 issue of Road & Track magazine, though the car did not sell. Hester then had the car repainted in black in 1967. In 1969, Hester dropped CSX 2216 off at an Oldsmobile dealership in La Jolla for an oil change, only to return and find out an employee had been involved in an accident. With the damage repaired, Hester sold the Cobra in 1970 to James Gauthier of El Cajon, California. Under Gauthier’s ownership, CSX 2216 was modified for Solo I competition, and he campaigned it for several years before selling the Cobra to Ken Champion in 1982; it was noted at that time that a new engine was fitted. Champion enjoyed the car before selling the Cobra through Grand Prix Classics in the late 1980s to Investment Motorsports of Illinois. Investment Motorsports commissioned a rebuild back to original specifications, sending the Cobra to Baurle’s Autosport in Addison, Illinois. Gerald A Schwalbach of Minneapolis, Minnesota, acquired the car in 1989. Most recently, the Cobra benefitted from a restoration back to the way it originally left the Shelby American facility. The ‘slab-side’ body was refinished in its original white and features front and rear nerf bar bumpers, wind wings, and sun visors. The car rides Michelin XWX tires which are mounted on chrome wire wheels. Though a replacement, the Cobra is powered by an original 289-cu. in. K-code engine and fitted with stock exhaust. It retains its original Borg Warner T-10 aluminum four-speed manual transmission. The interior is completed in red leather and features a wood-rimmed steering wheel with AC center cap, Stewart Warner instrumentation, clock, dash-mounted rearview mirror, and bucket seats with three-in. seatbelts. A tonneau cover and convertible top with top irons provide weather protection. The Cobra retains its original doors, hood latch, and trunk latch, each of which are stamped correctly “2216.”»

Chassis-Nummer: CSX 2247

Auktion: RM Sotheby’s, Amelia Island 2022, sold for 1’132’500 Dollar, offered with the following text: «CSX 2247 was billed to Shelby American on 20 November 1963 and shipped to Los Angeles two weeks later aboard the SS Loch Gowan. Upon completion at Shelby American, CSX 2247 was invoiced to Coventry Motors in Walnut Creek, California on 12 February 1964. Finished in the stunning, uncommon, and desirable shade of Bright Blue over red, it featured Class A accessories which included a radio with antenna, a luggage rack, aluminum rocker covers, five chrome wheels, and WSW tires, and it was topped off with five quarts of antifreeze. In February 1964 the car was purchased by its first owner, Andrew Wortman of Santa Monica, California. Mr. Wortman paid $6,250 for the Cobra, a figure brought down by a $1,000 credit for the 1962 MG Midget he traded in on the purchase. By the 1970s Don Price of California owned the car; at this point modifications had been made to the car for Solo I competition including a full roll bar, side pipes, and fender flares to accommodate wide Ansen slotted wheels. According to the SAAC registry the car sustained slight damage to its right side in a June 1973 Solo I run. In April of 1974, Don Price parted ways with CSX 2247, with Bob Schiro Motors making the $5,800 purchase. Remarkably, the Cobra would remain in the Schiro family for the next 40 years. After many decades under the same roof, the car exchanged hands again in 2020 and found a new home in Texas with Don Davis. Soon after, Don Dickenson was commissioned to fully restore the vehicle. Photo documentation on file shows the car stripped down to bare metal and rebuilt. At this time, it was confirmed the car’s chassis and engine matched the chassis tag. Today, the Cobra sports its original color combination of Bright Blue over red and shows in superb quality. After the work completed early in the spring of 2021, Mr. Davis sold the vehicle to its current owner later that same year in June.»

Chassis number: CSX 2342

Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Arizona 2007, sold for $500’000.

Chassis number: CSX 2541

Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Fort Lauderdale 2009, not sold.

Chassis number: CSX 2561

Auction: RM Sotheby’s, Burbank 2013, sold for $825,000, offered with the following text: According to the World Registry of Cobras & GT40s; the 1964 Shelby Cobra 289, CSX2561, was originally billed to Shelby American on August 25, 1964 and was shipped to Los Angeles aboard the SS Alblasserdyk. It was initially used as a demonstrator at Shelby American and was then invoiced to Hayward Ford Motors, of Hayward, California on January 27, 1965. At the time it was originally painted white with a red interior, just as it is currently presented here today. The Registry also states that CSX2561 came with an uncommon C-4 automatic transmission and was sold at a “Factory Demonstrator” price of $5,250. The first owner of 2561 was Edwin Ovilice, of Oakland, California. By the early 1970s, the car was owned by Jim McCarthy, also from Oakland. The Cobra was later offered by Norm Sinai of Hayward in late 1980. A gentleman named Mr. Cole from California bought the car and then sold it circa 1982 to Donald Mansker of Houston, Texas. Jim Yancey of Paris, Texas next bought 2561in 1983. By this time the car had been fit with a chrome rollbar and had blue interior (both have since been removed and returned to original specifications). The Cobra was next seen being advertised for sale in spring of 1990, then later in 1992 was offered by an auction house. In 1993, the car reappeared in the classifieds and was sold later in the year to Guy C. Eavers from Staunton, Virginia. It is last mentioned in the aforementioned Shelby Registry as being for sale in the December 1996 duPont Registry as completely and immaculately restored with an unwrecked aluminum body, 38,950 miles and the rollbar removed and the interior color returned to its proper red leather.»

This is part of our works on AC Cars, we already have a collection of the AC Cobra Mk I, here, plus a nice story on the AC MA-200 Prototype and the AC 427/428 Frua; more to come. There is much more in our archive.

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