1966 AC Cobra MkIII / Shelby 427 Cobra Project For Sale
1966 AC Cobra MkIII / 289 Sports / Shelby 427 Cobra Project
- Exciting project with original parts from 1966 AC Cobra MkIII / 289 Sports chassis COX 6118
- Uncovered in Belgium in 2016 amongst remarkable private collection of historic Ferraris, ACs, Shelbys, Bizzarrinis and other rare 1960s cars (photos on file)
- Chassis to correct specification (origins not known but NOT believed to be original)
- History file with project including details about the project’s history from previous owner of COX 6118
Due to my focus on restoring another Cobra to FIA-HTP specification, I have sadly decided to sell my 1966 AC Cobra MkIII / 289 Sports / Shelby 427 Cobra project. My original intention was to one day restore the project whilst doing the least amount of restoration work to all the old original parts, to generate a ‘ratty’ looking car in a similar style to Shelby Cobra CSX 3047 (https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2014/01/17/unrestored-1965-cobra-427-sc-turns-up-at-petersen-museum-cruise-in/), but have realised that restoring one Cobra is ambitious enough, let alone two!
Origins of the Project:
I was in the process of trying to source some original parts for my other Cobra when I ended up stumbling across what I was told was an original crashed 427 Cobra project in a rural part of Belgium. The collection of parts were located in a remarkable private collection of cars including an ex-Le Mans car, a number of Ferraris 250s (including a SWB), a Bizzarrini, a number of other ACs and even a Stutz Bearcat (photos on file). The owner didn't know a huge amount about the history of the project and after a number of trips out to Belgium I finally managed to purchase the Cobra project in 2016.
I then spent a long time trying to solve the mystery of the project (with the AC Owner Club registrar being very patient and helpful with my correspondence – on file) and finally I managed to crack the puzzle last year. One of the helpful clues was the holes for the VIN plate in the original footboxes didn't seem to line up with a Shelby plate but did align with an AC Cars plate, which suggested that the parts could be from a Cobra MkIII / 289 Sports, not a 427 Cobra. Another piece of information I was given was the name of one of the previous owners who I actually managed to track down and then went out to visit in person in France. When I met with this previous owner he explained the whole story of the car and how the majority of the parts I have were from when 1966 AC Cobra MkIII COX 6118 (technically called a AC 289 Sports) got badly crashed on the outskirts of Paris in a place called Neuilly-sur-Seine (explanation by previous owner on file).
Apparently what happened was that COX 6118 was being serviced at a local garage and one of the people working at the garage drove the car causing an accident. When the car was rebuilt and restored a lot of the damaged original parts and also parts that were replaced during the restoration were set aside. These original damaged parts are the ones that I managed to purchase in Belgium. Whilst I have a chassis with the project I believe that the original chassis was actually restored after the crash and is still with the continuous historied COX 6118, and that mine is in fact a recreation chassis probably made in the 1970/80s. During my correspondence with the ACOC Registrar, this account seems to be consistent with their knowledge (all correspondence with ACOC in the history file).
The Original COX 6118:
Chassis COX 6118 was built by AC Cars during 1966 and was a 289 Sports (often referred to as AC Cobra MkIIIs), which meant that it had the same chassis as a 427 Cobra but with the 289 engine. It was Vineyard Green and was originally delivered in January 1967 to Claude Dubois in Brussels, who was the Shelby importer for Belgium. In the 1970s the car came to the UK and was raced by Steve Hitchins with a 427 engine fitted and its colour changed from green to black (photos of Steve Hitchen racing COX 6118 in the file). The car was then sold to a French gentlemen who apparently lived on the outskirts of Paris. During his ownership is when the accident at the local garage apparently took place. As mentioned above, the car was then restored and the original parts I have with this project were set aside. When the restoration of COX 6118 was completed it was apparently painted red and from what I have been told still resides in France (though I have been unable to contact the current owner of the continuous historied COX 6118 as my original intention was to try and reunite all my original parts with the continuous historied car).
Please note that this project for sale does NOT claim to be the continuous historied COX 6118, but it a project made up a selection of original parts from COX 6118. Also please be aware that this project does not currently have a V5 registration document.
The parts included in this listing are as below (I do have quite a number of other original parts which I might be willing to sell but this would be subject to a separate negotiation):
- Chassis: correct specification for an AC Cobra MkIII / 289 Sports / Shelby 427 Cobra, i.e. coil sprung with 4 inch main tubes. The origins of the chassis are not known but it is believed NOT to be original but built in the c.1980s. The chassis is in good solid condition but requires a small amount of restoration as there is some surface rust on a couple of the body tubes due to its age and also some of the welds need to be tidied up (see photos). The original chassis of COX 6118 is believed to have been restored when the car was crashed and is believed to still be with the continuous historied car – i.e. this is NOT claiming to be the original chassis for COX 6118.
- Original front aluminium bodywork – in damaged condition on N/S front corner from when COX 6118 was crashed in France in 1970/80s
- Original aluminium boot skin – slightly damaged in one spot
- Original aluminium door skins (x2) – these are believed to be the original doors for COX 6118 in its original colour of Vineyard Green as it left the AC Factory. There is evidence of the original interior on the inside and there is also some numbers/letters on one of the doors which are hard to make out (see photos)
- Original fiberglass footboxes (x2) - the original footboxes from COX 6118. Although the same as a Shelby 427 Cobra these have the correct holes for an AC Chassis/VIN plate, not a Shelby Chassis/VIN plate as COX 6118 was originally a Cobra MkIII / 289 Sports sold by AC Cars as opposed to a 427 Cobra sold by Carol Shelby. COX 6118 was sold new in Belgium via the Shelby importer Claude Dubois and so the footboxes are LHD.
- Original dashboard – aluminium covered in the original material which is in good condition for its age. LHD.
- Original 427 side exhausts (x2) – some surface rust.
- Very rare original 427 Cobra 9 ½ x 15 Halibrand magnesium racing wheels (x2) – these are some incredibly rare original magnesium wheels which I believe were made by Hallibrand and fitted to 427 Cobras and GT40s. There are some maker’s stamps on the wheels (see photos) including the wording “COBRA II”. The fronts are partly painted red and they are in very good original condition (some minor surface reaction of the magnesium). These were purchased from one of COX 6118’s previous owners who also owned at one point 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra chassis CSX 3013, which was a red car raced by Scuderia Filipinetti, and these could have originally been off that car given also being painted red.
- BF Goodrich Radial T/A P275/60R15 tyres (x2) – two unused but old looking tyres fitted to the rear Cobra 9 ½ x 15 Halibrand magnesium racing wheels.
- 7 ½ x 15 Halibrand aluminium wheels (x2) – reproduction front aluminium Halibrand wheels in as new condition. No tyres fitted.
- Original front fiberglass air scoops (x2)
- Original soft top frame – original soft top frame that is in good condition and fits the chassis mounting holes (note: actual soft top not included)
- Original soft top bow for fixing to windscreen – comes in two sections
- Front nudge bar – overiders not included
- Original 427 side badges (x2)
- 427 exhaust manifolds (x8) – exhaust manifolds for a 427 engine. In eight separate pieces.
- Original aluminium air intake panels (x2) – two separate aluminium panels to divert the air at the front of the car to the radiator
- Aluminium strips believed to be trim for doors (x2)
- Engine mounts (x2) – rusty and need tidying up
- Boot hinge tubes (x2)
- Green leather seats (x2) – not original Cobra seats (potentially older) but similar style in worn green leather.
- Original Lucas side lights (x2) – with clear lenses.
- Unknown bits of trim (x2)
- Pedal box template – not made up and not original.
- Selection of original suspension components – in varying conditions but including an A-arm, a wishbone and four other components (see photos).
There is a file that comes with the car which includes details of the history of the project from one of the previous owners of COX 6118, along with details of COX 6118’s history. There are also a number of photos of COX 6118 before it got crashed and the odd race programme from when it was racing in the UK. There are also photos showing the private collection of cars in Belgium from where I purchased the project. I have also included all correspondence with the AC Owners Club about the project in the file. There are some other documents as well, including a very rare original AC 289 Sports sale brochure and some period driving test cuttings.
I have uploaded detailed photos of all the parts included in the project at the following album on Flickr:
Given the interesting history of the project and the number of original parts, I hope that it will make a worthwhile project for someone to take on. Fortunately all the parts not included in the project are easily purchasable from a number of companies, with one of the best sources being Hawk Cars Ltd (they not only build replicas but also supply original specification parts). When I was considering doing the project myself I had already lined up a company called North Devon Metalcraft to do the bodywork and chassis restoration, and I believe they would be a very good company for the next owner to speak to.
As I have stated above, the project does not have a V5 registration document and is sold ‘as seen’, with no warranties or returns. My description above and explanation of what is original and its history, is all to the best of my knowledge and although I am confident I am correct, it will be any bidders responsibility to make their own assessment of what is original and its history. Please note that you are bidding to buy.
The project is located near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire and I recommend that people that are interested go and view the project in person, which can be arranged.
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