There are few collector cars hotter than original Shelby Cobras right now. With Carroll Shelby’s passing last year, the value of the cars bearing his name has shot up to almost impossible-to-believe heights. There’s also been a surge in rare Shelbys hitting the market, as older collectors pass away or sell their collections after decades of ownership.
But even with all the crazy money and ultra-rare cars going around, this past weekend saw a new record set for small-block Shelby Cobra sales. Hemmings Auto Blog reports that an unrestored 1962 Shelby Cobra with a 260 cubic-inch V8 and just 4,700 miles on the odometer sold for an astonishing $2.07 million at the Bonham’s auction.
Just as amazing as the maddeningly-high price paid for this Shelby is the story behind it. Bought from Tasca Ford by a James Hall of Concord, New Hampshire, Hall sold the Cobra to Stan Hallinan after Hall lost his license whilst at the wheel of the Shelby. While those only familiar with the later big block Cobras may not fully appreciate it, early small block Cobras packed right around 260 hp, and weighed less than 2,100 pounds giving it a horsepowr to weight ratio of 8 pounds to 1 hp. When Hallinan bought the Cobra it had just 1,000 miles on it, and after driving it for a few summers he tucked the car away in storage with 4,700 miles on it.
Unrestored and still wearing Tasca and AC-Cobra badging, as well as the rare original tri-power intake and carbs, initial estimates put the Cobra in the $850,000 to $1 million range. Some heavy hitters were obviously on hand and drove the bidding past $2 million when the gavel fell. Why? It’s hard to say. This is one of the earliest, lowest-mileage Cobras on the planet, no doubt, and being unrestored is also another huge boon to its value. It’s really a unique, one-of-a-kind find.
Perhaps Shelby-fever is only growing stronger among the collector car crowd? Either way, this small-block Cobra landed big bucks for Hallinan’s estate, and could set the tone for future Shelby sales.