The Don Davis Collection

27 April 2013

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Lot 112

1965 Shelby 289 Cobra

  • Chassis no. CSX 2332

Sold for $1,001,000

Est. 271 bhp, 289 cu. in. Ford OHV V-8 engine with Holley four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, ladder-type steel tubing chassis with independent front and rear suspension via A-arms, transverse leaf springs, and tubular shock absorbers, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.

  • Recent, outstanding, show-quality restoration
  • Listed in the World Registry of Cobras & GT40s
  • With original documentation, including Shelby & dealer invoices
  • Desirable rack-and-pinion specification

The notion of producing a hybrid sports car in the 1960s was, at its core, quite simple. While British manufacturers retained the edge in styling, road holding, and superb braking, American firms held a distinct horsepower advantage. This “best of both worlds” concept was, of course, nothing new. Post-war Allards, Cunninghams, and Nash-Healeys used the same basic premise. Carroll Shelby, however, considered chassis from Austin-Healey, Jensen, and Bristol before settling on AC, after hearing that the builders of the stylish and sturdy Ace had lost their engine supplier when Bristol ceased production.

Attractive, lightweight, and proven, the AC Ace could, by Shelby’s thinking, be turned into a successful production racer by replacing its aging six-cylinder engine with a powerful, deep-breathing V-8. In September 1961, Shelby wrote Charles Hurlock, of AC Cars, to propose a hybrid car using the AC sports car body and chassis. “I’m interested,” wrote Hurlock, “if a suitable V-8 could be found.” Shelby moved quickly when Editor Ray Brock, of Hot Rod magazine, told him of Ford’s new, lightweight small block V-8. Soon after, Shelby had an early 221-cubic inch example installed in a stock AC Ace. In fact, the V-8 weighed just slightly more than the six-cylinder Bristol.

Ford engineer Dave Evans then offered Shelby an even better solution. A high-performance 260-cubic inch small-block V-8 was already in production for Ford’s Falcon, and two engines would be on the way to him soon. They were immediately sent by airfreight overseas, and on February 1, 1962, Carroll Shelby flew to England to test drive the new Shelby “Cobra.” The rest, as they say, is history.

According to the World Registry of Cobras & GT40s, the 1964 Shelby Cobra 289, CSX2332, was originally billed to Shelby American on February 10, 1964, and it was shipped to Los Angeles aboard the SS Amsteldyk. It was later invoiced to Bill Doenges Ford, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on September 10, 1964, and it was originally painted bright blue with a red interior. An interesting note in the Registry sates, “The relative lateness of the car’s invoicing, when most cars near it by serial number were sold and delivered to dealers in the spring of ’64, might be partially explained by a note handwritten on the sales department order form, which read, ‘Note: new speedo. Clean floor mats like new, check and retune completely, do 500 miles service. Replace seat belts with new.’ This suggests that 2332 did some PR or demo service prior to being sold with a new speedometer registering no mileage.”

The first owner of 2332 was William Faulkner, of Tulsa. Faulkner sold the car, with its original paperwork, to Bob Crowder, who reportedly added the side pipes and beefed up the 289 engine. This transaction has been previously reported to be in the early-1970s, but the original registration documents that still survive with the car show Faulkner’s ownership to have lasted until at least 1978. In any case, Crowder sold the car in 1986, with 21,000 miles, to Jamey Mazzotta, of Redding, California, who retained the car for several years before selling it to Andy Cohen, of Beverly Hills. Cohen was the owner of Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories and featured the car on his 1991 parts catalogue, by which point it had been repainted in black with black upholstery. The catalogue noted that the car had 24,000 miles and had a beefed up “375+ HP 289 motor, which has propelled this particular car to a 12-second flat quarter-mile time!” The car subsequently passed to Jay Rawitzer, of Danville, California, who had the car through at least 2001. When the car was last advertised, it was noted that the car had 36,000 miles; the odometer now reads 36,798 miles, which is believed original since the mileage has been recorded throughout the cars life.

Aside from the extensive history in the Registry, CSX2332 is accompanied by a small cache of important original paperwork, including the registration application and subsequent registrations from 1965 through 1977, the original Shelby American window sticker, Faulkner’s cancelled insurance and deposit checks, the Doenges Ford retail buyer’s order, and a check receipt from Doenges Ford.

After acquiring the car, Mr. Davis commissioned a full restoration, which has made this example a standout among its peers. Finished in black with black leather upholstery and black carpeting, CSX2332 rides on chromed Borrani wire wheels and is shod with Goodyear Polyglas tires. It is also equipped with side curtains, a soft top, a tonneau cover, a spare wire wheel, and a rear nerf bar with overriders in the front and rear. The overall fit and finish of the body, paint, upholstery, and engine bay is outstanding, with nothing overlooked; it should also be noted that the chassis number stamping is clearly visible through the new paint and that the underside is just as glossy as the rest of the body. There are no blemishes of note on the paint, and the interior is stunning with its black dash and Stewart Warner gauges. Exceptionally presented and restored, CSX2332 is certainly worthy of serious inclusion in the collection of the discerning aficionado of post-war American muscle.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

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Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

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Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more