It was classic Carroll Shelby, a delightfully mad idea made even madder: take the already ferocious 289 Cobra and 'upgrade' it with a 427. Ford’s engineering department assisted in redeveloping the Cobra platform to take the huge powerhouse, re-engineering the chassis to be five inches wider, and mounted coil springs all around. To contain wider wheels and tyres, the body swelled with menacing arches, as if it could barely conceal the 500 bhp being produced by the 427 V8 within.
Shelby intended to race the 427 Cobra, and planned to produce 100 examples in competition trim, in order to homologate the model with the FIA. Unfortunately, by the time FIA inspectors arrived at his factory, only 51 of the cars had been completed, and so he was denied their approval. He subsequently cancelled his order for the remaining competition cars. With a total of 53 cars produced, 16 were sold to private teams, two were retained as prototypes, and one was sent to Ford Engineering.
The remaining competition chassis were painted and completed as road cars. They were then marketed as the 427 S/C or 'Semi-Competition,' the fastest road-going car ever built. They retained the oil cooler, riveted bonnet scoop, flared arches, side exhausts, dual lightweight batteries, 42-gallon fuel tank, and external fuel filler of full 'competition' models. They were brutally quick, faster than many racing cars of the period, and can rightfully be considered the ultimate road-going Cobra.
RM Sotheby's will be offering this example at their upcoming Arizona auction between the 18-19th January 2018. The estimated value is between $2m - $2.4m. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos: Patrick Ernzen ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's.