One of Carroll Shelby’s personal cars is going up for sale at Barrett-Jackson next month. That by itself is pretty cool but not entirely uncommon – what isn’t common is the car itself. It’s one of just two examples of a Cobra 427 Super Snake.
Dubbed the “Cobra to end all Cobras” by Road and Track in 1968, the Super Snake was based on a standard 427 Cobra. In a bid to outpace one of Shelby’s friends in a Ferrari, it received two superchargers to push power to a reported 800hp (596kW), quite a lot for a car weighing less than 1200kg.
Shelby also added a three-speed Lincoln automatic that fed power to the rear wheels. The car could hit 60mph (96kmh) in just over three seconds and Shelby himself once told a story about being pulled over by police in Nevada at 190mph.
The Super Snake was never really intended to be a road car, originally coming without things like mufflers, bumpers and a windscreen. It doesn’t have the grille over the front intake either, offering a peek at the cooling fans and some of the drivetrain.
After a stint over in Europe, it returned to American where it was reclassified as ‘Semi-Competition’ in order to make it road-legal.
Shelby sold the car to songwriter Jimmy Webb for US$10,500 back in 1970, who owned it until the IRS seized it in 1995 and sold it for US$375,000. Three years later, billionaire Richard Scaife bought the Super Snake off Cox and held it for eight more years before selling it back to Cox.
As for the other Super Snake, it wound up in the hands of Bill Cosby who quickly sold it on to a California dealer who went on to sell it to Tony Maxey. Maxey would go on to crash the car off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean.
Barrett-Jackson auctioned it for the first time in 2007, where the car fetched a hammer price of US$5.5 million (around NZ$7.5 million). In 2015, the car sold once again for US$5.1 million (just under NZ$7m).
This time around, it’s expected the Super Snake will ask between US$5m and $8m (NZ$6.8m and $10.9m).