Known History Rack & Pinion 289 Cobra. FIA Equipment. Ideal to Race or Rally, and Outstanding Value.
1964 AC 289 Cobra
s/n CSX 2303
Metallic Blue with Black Leather
The Shelby Cobra is one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. Powerful, stunning good looks, and iconic heritage, the Cobra offers gripping performance and race-track capability for drivers of even moderate prowess.
In 1961 Carroll Shelby asked AC motors to build an AC Ace powered by a Ford 260 V8 engine. The UK built Ace had been in low volume production using aluminum body panels over a steel chassis. When modifications in suspension and drive-train were completed, the production Cobra became an immediate success, but more critically it became a media darling, featured in songs, movies, and races all over the US. Car magazines loved the Cobra, offering a bounty of editorial coverage. Of course it didn’t hurt that Shelby himself was quite the showman – a combination of Southern charm and Hollywood bravado, showcasing the Cobra as often as possible.
The Cobra itself was very much like Carroll Shelby – brash and unapologetic with just a hint of refinement. The 289 Cobra featured a hand made body with a sinewy front fender line that elegantly draped the car contrasting the muscular performance. And while contemporary competitors like Jaguar and Aston Martin used potent in-line six cylinder engines, neither contained the raspy thumping American V8. 0-60 in the Cobra was an astonishing 4.9 seconds, besting both the Jaguar and Aston by 2 seconds. Even production V8 Corvettes were a full 3 seconds slower to 60.
When production ceased, just 700 Cobras were built with the small block 260 and 289 engines. The low production numbers have only added to the mystique and desirability of these cars. Brash, powerful, and iconic in style, the 289 Cobra remains the pinnacle of American sports cars both on the track and the open road.
The history of this Cobra (CSX2303), is well-known. Built as a red street car with black interior, it was billed to Shelby American January 24, 1964 and shipped aboard the SS Diemerdyk to Los Angeles. On April 16, 1964 it was invoiced to Mid American Racing Cars in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Invoice total of $5195.00 included radio and antenna, Smith heater, chrome exhaust tips, seat-belts, twin 4 barrel carburetors with intake manifold, and rare 4:10 rear end gearing. Ed Hamill, a former Shelby American employee, took delivery at his dealership. Hamill sold the car to the first owner, Mrs. B.W. Craig of Texas.
The second owner, David Dunlap, of “The Pit Stop” repair shop in Austin, Texas, purchased the car in 1969, repainted it dark blue, installed a roll bar, front and rear sway bars and underbody side exhaust. Dunlap intended to use the car in SCCA B/Production racing, but became too busy with his business, thus selling the car in 1970s to Don Lee who flew in to Texas and drove home to Los Altos, CA. Lee returned the car back to the original red color, subsequently advertising it for sale in 1979 as “beautifully restored” with Konis, Bluestreaks, new inner panels, a trunk mounted battery, new radio, hardtop, painted wire wheels, and side pipes. 2303 was then purchased in 1980 and sold again in 1992 to Dan Caprini as a non-running car with faded paint and only 39k miles showing.
Caprini intended to race 2303 so he began a five-year restoration, removing and storing the original engine and replacing it with a 347 stroker, dynoed at 498hp. The chassis was stripped and blue printed, adding front and rear suspension mounts and frame bracing. Heavy-duty adjustable uprights and pin drives, sway bars, fuel tank, and Halibrand wheels with FIA flares completed the upgrades. The car was finished and painted white. Caprini raced the car off and on locally but health problems resulted in him selling the car in 1998, passing to Paul Andrews and later Forbes Anderson who sent the car to Cobra expert Mike McCluskey for a fresh restoration. McClusky installed an oil cooler, hood scoop and cut back doors as part of his restoration. The front and rear flares were properly reshaped to FIA specification and new paint was done, once again in dark blue, which remains today. Complete and well sorted, this Cobra retains its original body, original frame, and various number stampings as shown in the photos including the chassis number etching on the transmission tunnel, frame stamping, and original chassis tag. The ownership history is continuous (including some reference to early SCCA racing history) and is well documented in the SAAC Cobra Registry and “World Registry of Cobras and GT40s, Fourth Edition”.
Currently this car is finished in a very nice metallic dark blue paint with black interior. The paint is well maintained showing some evidence of road use in the grille area, and light buffing marks over some of the top surfaces. There is a ½” star-crack in the paint along the top surface of the left front fender. The modifications to the body remain sound and present nicely, giving the car a handsome race-ready appearance underneath good quality driver paint. The underbody exhaust exits just forward of the rear wheels, typical of competition cars. The wheels are 6.5”/8.5” Hallibrand 6 spoke FIA reproductions magnesium wheels, capped by unpolished stainless knockoffs. Wheel finish is appropriate for a car with road use. Headlights, tail lights, emblems, and parking lamps are of the original type and in good condition. The interior presents nicely as driver quality overall. Seat material is beginning to show signs of wear, broken-in without seam failure or much compression to the foam. The dashboard configuration remains largely stock featuring correct Steward Warner instruments and various switches. A vacuum gauge has been installed on the transmission tunnel with a nice leather wrapping giving it an original-like appearance. The dash also has an overdrive switch. The wood timed steering wheel is a correct type dished aluminum three-spoke reproduction wheel with a proper A/C center emblem. The windshield appears to be original to the car and is in very nice condition with no significant pitting or marks along the perimeter.
Under the hood, the 347 stroker engine has been nicely finished benefiting from several modern updates to enable reliable performance and durability. The radiator has been replaced and includes a new fan to improve cooling. While much of the engine compartment has been adjusted to accommodate the new motor, the changes are not damaging to the originality of the car. The passenger side footbox ID tag appears original and the driver’s side hood latch is correctly stamped 2303. The trunk has been refinished with black carpet added to the trunk floor and underside lid as well. The undercarriage is nicely finished with minor wear due to road use. The car retains the original 4:10 rear end, just as it was delivered from the factory. Of particular note is that an original 289 hi-po engine and what appears to be the original alloy-case transmission are included with the sale.
Driving 2303 one is reminded of the power and speed these cars could achieve. Given the updated drivetrain and significant boost to horsepower, this car is capable of amazing acceleration and slot-car cornering. The grip in corners is firm and immediate. Acceleration comes on immediately with throttle response being instant and growing all the way into the high rpms, limited only by driver courage and skill. Braking comes on strong without delay, bring the lightweight aluminum bodied Cobra to rest with confidence and little fade.
For anyone who desires an icon of the American racing scene, a fantastic symbol of power and performance from the 1960s, and featuring race-bred coachwork, this is a wonderful example ready to drive, tour, and enjoy. With a few upgrades to compete in various track events, this Cobra would prove to be a formidable competitor in any vintage racing venue and surely a dominant player in open road touring events.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608