1962 London and Paris Auto Show Car. Among The Purest, Unmodified, and Historically Significant Cobras on The Market Today.
1962 AC 289 Cobra
s/n CSX 2025, Engine date coded 3/1/63
Red with Black Leather
When AC lost their supply of Bristol and later Ford six-cylinder engines, it appeared that they would have to stop building the Ace, whose lightweight attractive aluminum body and sophisticated chassis and suspension made it in many ways the quintessential British sports car. At the same time, Carroll Shelby had recently retired from motor racing and was running a driving school and selling Goodyear tires, but wanted something more exciting. Having always wanted to build his own sports car, he approached the various Detroit manufacturers and was eventually offered a small but light eight cylinder engine by Ford from their pickup truck line. Aware of AC’s predicament, he approached the management with his inimitable flair, and the Cobra was born. The bodies were built by the AC factory in the United Kingdom before being shipped to the Shelby American’s Southern California factory. Initial impressions of the car, which was still in bare aluminum, were extremely favorable. Following its first competition outings, the bugs were gradually ironed out, and the car proved to be a durable, quick, and extremely capable car. The rest, as they say, is history, and the Cobras, in 260cid, 289cid and 427cid versions went on to achieve tremendous racing success, in addition to becoming culturally ingrained as one of the greatest and coolest cars ever made.
CSX 2025 is among the first production Cobras, has a particularly interesting early history starting in the Fall of 1962. The AC cars ledger shows s/n CSX 2025 designated as the 1962 Paris and London Auto show car. Although Shelby ordered the car in red with black leather, AC Cars evidently felt the steel grey over blue leather would be more in keeping with European tastes, and it was in these distinctive colors that it appeared at the motor shows.
After the Cobra served its duty as a show-stand display, the car was invoiced to Shelby American on December 21, 1962, and was subsequently shipped via the S.S. Loch Avon to the Los Angeles factory, to be prepared for sale to its first owner. It is believed that prior to delivery to the first owner, Shelby American installed the currently fitted 289 c.i. engine block, which date code shows a production date in March of 1963. Following that, the car was invoiced to White-Griffith Ford of Hicksville, New York in May of 1963.
Kelly Wakefield, of New York was the lucky new owner of CSX 2025, who confirms that at the time of his purchase the car was equipped with the Ford’s new 289 c.i. unit, and was indeed steel grey over blue.
Wakefield drove the car on the street for some years before sending the car to Corpus Christi, and preparing it for racing events with the Sports Car Club of America. In its original delivery specification the Cobra was already among the highest performance cars available to the public, so the only performance upgrades that were deemed necessary were Koni shocks, forged differential mounts, upgraded brake lines, a remote oil filter, the addition of a second four-barrel carburetor, and a scatter shield around the bell housing area for safety.
Mr. Wakefield recalled running against 427 Cobras for the first time at Green Valley Raceway alongside an eclectic grid that included a Hemi-powered Genie, a Lotus 30, a Cooper F1, the Penske Xerox Special and a few of the early GT350 R Mustangs.
George Gibbons, also of Corpus Christi, purchased the car from Mr. Wakefield in 1971, and after two years of minimal use, resold the car to an exotic car dealership, who in turn, sold it to a broker in Connecticut in late 1973.
It was at this time that the current owner purchased CSX 2025, starting an unbroken 38 year ownership period- an almost unheard of duration in the Cobra world. The Cobra became part of growing and exciting stable of sports cars, which also included an AC Aceca. The current owner notes that at the time of his purchase, the Cobra- now red- was fitted with four Weber carburetors and a Super T-10 transmission. The car was otherwise unmodified, and remained a straight and solid example, with no history of major damage or repairs. No “Powered by Ford” side script was fitted, although the car did have large round Cobra emblems typical of the early cars. CSX 2025 was still trimmed in the blue leather it had left the AC factory with.
During the current ownership period the car has been sympathetically restored as necessary, and presents very well. The car has never required a complete disassembly and refurbishment from the chassis up, which is an important distinction for originality connoisseurs. Factory serial number stampings can be found on the hood, truck, and on both doors. Further, the 289 HiPo engine block currently installed is believed to be that which powered the car in May of 1963 when it left Shelby American works.
Unlike many Cobras, the body on this example has never been the subject of any significant modifications and retains the desirable box flairs, small mouth grill, “slab sides” without air inlets, and T-handle hood release mechanisms typical of the very early production models. The paint and chrome is generally very nice, with a uniform light patina. The car sits on nicely refinished 5.5” painted wire wheels, with period typical Good Year tires.
The interior presents very well, and is largely correct in terms of gauges and switchgear. The seats are trimmed in soft, high quality leather, and the dash in the correct pattern vinyl material. The carpets are wool, and in excellent condition.
The engine bay is in very clean, unrestored condition. Unlike freshly restored lawn queens, this Cobra is a fine example of how well a 49 year old car, properly cared for car can present itself. Much of the original cloth wrapped wiring loom is still in place, and the transverse leaf springs are still wrapped in what appears to be the original waxed fabric. The underside has been equally well cared for, and presents well, with evidence of recent work done in the form of newly rebuilt Koni shocks (likely originals), and replaced hardware. There is no evidence of corrosion, or corrosion repairs anywhere.
Included with the sale of this Cobra are the side curtains and top, as well as a historical file containing correspondence with AC Cars Ltd., restoration photos, receipts and other documentation.
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