An absolutely amazing Shelby Cobra replica with only 345 miles from new! A must for the serious collector!
The late Carroll Shelby earned a place in American automotive history, with his name appearing on vehicles marketed himself and by “The Big Three” beginning over a half-century ago. Although probably most well known for the series of Ford Mustangs produced that bear his name, Shelby’s association with Ford Motor Company started a few years before the introduction of America’s first pony car.
In September 1961, Shelby contacted British manufacturer AC Cars about the possibility of supplying him with a rolling chassis based on their AC Bristol platform capable of mounting a V8 engine to supplant the traditional straight six powerplant used at that time. The Bristol six-cylinder was a pre-war design whose lifespan was dated so AC agreed, contingent on locating a suitable V8 engine. Shelby first approached the Chevrolet division of General Motors about procuring their small block V8’s but Chevy, allegedly to deter competition for their Corvette sports car, declined Shelby’s request. Ford Motor Company, lacking a true competitor to the Corvette during that time period in their product line and with a brand-new V8 engine coming to production, agreed to Shelby’s request and an often-turbulent relationship that would span several decades began.
In January 1962 AC designers and mechanics created a chassis modified to accommodate the larger V8 engine. Actually, much of the redesign work was already done as Bristol had discontinued production of their straight six and AC was moving to a Ford V6 powerplant. Minor modifications like relocating the steering box outward to clear the slightly wider V8 were done and the chassis survived the testing paces AC Cars put it through. The car was then shipped to Shelby in California, where the 260 cubic inch motor and a transmission were installed in Dean Moon’s shop in Santa Fe Springs. That car became known as CSX2000 and marked the birth of a legend.
The cars entered production as the Shelby Cobra Mark I, with the major change from the prototype being the relocation of the fuel tank from the fender to the center of the trunk. Production records indicate the first 75 cars came equipped with the 260 V8 and the final 51 Mark I’s with the newly introduced 289 cubic inch variant of the Windsor powerplant. The Mark II debuted in early 1963 with a modified front suspension that allowed for rack and pinion steering. The cars were assembled in England complete less the engine and transmission, with the driveline and any body repairs attendant to their shipping from overseas being done in a California shop. Production records indicate a total of 528 Shelby Cobra Mark II’s were sold through November 1964.
Shelby was a visionary with a need for speed, so it should come as no surprise he began experimenting with shoehorning a Ford big block into the tiny AC chassis. His first attempt involved one of the popular 390 cubic inch FE engines and the combination of big block power and weight in a frame designed for a small block did not meet Shelby’s expectations. A new frame specifically designed and engineered for the larger, heavier engine would be required.
Shelby turned to his associates at Ford Motor Company in Detroit to design the Mark III chassis around the large displacement powerplant. The engine of choice was the 427 cubic inch FE series, better known as the 427 side-oiler. The engine had already made a huge name for itself in racing circles and seemed a great fit for the Shelby Cobra. While an impressive performer, Shelby failed to sell enough of the competition units to qualify the car for sports car racing and proved to be a huge financial loss for both Shelby and Ford. Today original Shelby Cobra 427’s can command seven figure price tags.
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and with the values of original Shelby Cobra vehicles zooming upward it was only a matter of time before licensed reproductions and continuation vehicles entered the marketplace. A whole industry has been built around these vehicles and while there are subtle differences both in appearance and quality, Factory Five Racing is widely recognized as one of the companies leading that revolution.
Formed in 1995, Factory Five began offering build-it-yourself car kits based on the Shelby Cobra to enthusiasts who wanted to put their personal “spin” on a vehicle. Utilizing factory specifications, modern manufacturing practices and present-day materials allow a hobbyist to design a vehicle that meets their specific tastes and requirements. Located south of Boston, the founders trace their roots back to an immigrant blacksmith and liken their craftsmanship to a modern version of the family’s trade.
Evergreen Digital Showroom offers this Factory Five replica 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 for sale. Based on a Factory Five series III kit, the car was built in 2005, titled in 2006 and is a tremendous interpretation of the original showing only 345 miles on the odometer! A new Ford Racing 347 cubic inch crate motor was selected for power, backed with a Tremec T5 manual gearbox. A stock 1989 Mustang driveshaft was shortened to 13.5 inches and balanced to connect the five-speed transmission to the Ford 8.8 inch rear end equipped with traction lock housing 3.73 gears. Braking comes courtesy of a stock Ford Mustang master cylinder and 1989 Mustang 5-lug calipers and rotors in the front and five-lug Mustang drums in the rear. Wheels are Ford Bullitt 9.0x17’s in the front and 10.5x17 in the rear wrapped in Sumitomo rubber. Tubular upper and lower control arms hold the rear end in place, while the front suspension features tubular A-arms. Coil over Bilstein shocks are found on all four corners. The fiberglass body is finished in 1994 PPG Jaguar Emerald Green Metallic with Ford Bright White stripes. The interior is made up of black racing seats with Simpson five-point harnesses and Autometer Vintage gauges keep track of all the vital engine information. The car also features a 16-gallon Mustang FI fuel tank with internal pump and inertia switch with Russell #8 braided stainless lines supplying the powerful engine. Additional options include a heater and defroster, polyurethane bushings on all suspension attachment points and Extreme Energy Poly engine mounts. A check of the Factory Five Racing's current catalog and Summit Racing's website indicate it would cost just under $45,000 just to procure the parts to build a similar car today, and you would have assembly costs plus paint and body work on top of that!
Offered at $55,000 USD, this is likely the lowest-mileage example of a Series III Factory Five replica for sale anywhere. The car has been in the portfolio of a major investor/collector since 2009 and stored since that time in a humidity-controlled environment. Evergreen Digital Showroom will gladly assist with shipping and delivery at buyer’s expense. To discuss this vehicle or to make an offer, contact sales manager Steve Russell at 417-532-8000.