Desirable COX Chassis Number FIA-Spec 289 Cobra Built at AC Cars Ltd. All Alloy Body Formed on Original Bucks, Road Registered and Titled, Very well-Documented.
1965 AC 289 FIA Competition Cobra
Viking Blue with Black Interior
Without question, the Shelby Cobra remains one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. Since its release, the mystique around the Cobra has continuously captivated enthusiasts, lauding original cars for their amazing performance and striking design. Critical to their ongoing success years after release, several modern iterations and replicas have been developed for a wide range of enthusiasts. But through all the years, changes, and history, the original AC built cars still reign as the ultimate examples of one of the greatest American sports/competition cars ever constructed.
In 1961 when Carroll Shelby and AC motors launched the Cobra, it became an immediate success. Not only was it a great car, it was repeatedly featured in songs, movies, and races all over the US. Car magazines loved the Cobra, offering a bounty of editorial coverage complete with Shelby himself serving up his unique blend of spiced Texas-chili charm and Hollywood bravado. The unapologetic, brash Cobra delivered 0-60 times in an astonishing 4.9 seconds, besting both Jaguar and Aston Martin by 2 seconds. Even the contemporary V8 powered Corvette was a full 3 seconds slower than the Cobra. Following its first competition outings, the Cobra proved to be a durable, quick, and extremely capable car evolving from the 260cid V8 to the 289cid and eventually 427cid variants, all of which went on to achieve tremendous racing successes. In all, Cobras racked up hundreds of race victories many of which were achieved by 289 powered competition cars which retained the original lightweight, high-revving balance of power and handling, true to the original Ken Miles and Phil Remington engineered Cobra built to Shelby specifications at AC Cars. Ltd., UK.
Although sales were strong and popularity high, profits were not, so the Cobra ceased production in 1967. Yet interest for these cars continued into the 80s, in 1982 the AC name and tooling were purchased, and business resumed, advancing further in partnership with Ford in 1986. Under new ownership by 1996, AC Car Group produced a new car which sold well enough to gain some confidence to announce a new offering in 1999, a run of 25 289 FIA cars, the first of which would be chassis 1001. Although AC Car Group relocated to Frimley, UK where ambitions grew to produce more cars. Unfortunately, without substantial backing, sales faltered as the next century unfolded AC Car Group would construct their last two cars, one of which is the FIA 289 car featured here, COX2610.
Unlike many of the Cobras constructed after the original AC series cars from the 1960s, COX2610 has the distinction of direct lineage to the last cars built in the 1960s. On the books at that time, CSX (Carroll Shelby Export) 2610 and CSX2620 remained as complete chassis, logged into inventory long after COB6127 (the last factory Cobra) shipped in 1968. With the designation of COX (Cobra Export)2610 to indicate construction in the UK and export as an AC car, the car was finally completed after decades of patient waiting housed at AC Cars. The first outing for the as yet completed car was in 1998, then displayed without an engine, finished in bare polished aluminum at the Birmingham Motor Show, hoping to gain new interest in future builds.
According to Jim Price, owner of AC Cars in 2006, his research confirms that COX2610 was built at the Firmley, UK Plant using the original AC tooling as directed, referencing the original drawings and specifications. Just as the originals had been constructed, the leaf-spring chassis car was fitted with an authentic AC aluminum body constructed to FIA specifications. Upon completion, this Cobra was used for displays and shows until 2003 when it was sold to the first owner who exported it to North America. The second and consigning owner purchased the car in 2005 where it has since remained in the company of other historically important performance cars. In 2006 it was awarded “Best English Sports Car” at the Greenwich Concours Europa. In 2010, it was awarded 1st Place at the Lime Rock Historic Festival Concours in the 1958-1965 sports car class.
The car was outfitted with a Weber carbureted 289 Ford Engine mated to a Top-Loader four-speed transmission and finished in competition colors Viking Blue and black interior. In addition to being a factory 1965-model chassis with period serial number and 1965 year designation on title, the car is eligible for numerous premier events including the much coveted Le Mans Classic, confirmed by correspondence with Competition Relations in 2019 for the event. The car and associated provenance is acknowledged by many experts including Cobra historian Trevor Legate, Jim Price, former owner of AC Cars, and is further documented in the authoritative World Registry of Cobras & GT40s, 4th edition. In addition to the historic confirmation from numerous sources, the condition and construction of this fine car truly delivers the most comprehensive statement of excellence and build authority when viewed in person.
Today COX2610 presents in beautiful condition still retaining the superb Viking blue AC factory finish applied when first constructed, now accented with vinyl rondels and period-appearance sponsor decals. The paint is remarkably nice with excellent gloss over the hand-formed aluminum body. The distinctive wide front fender arches and purposeful rear wheel openings create a menacing appearance perfectly matched to the exposed Le Mans type fuel filler, black roll bar, bumper jacks, and Halibrand true knock-off wheels. The exterior trim, red racing stripe, and sponsor logos are all in excellent condition. The lights, lenses, and emblems are also in excellent condition as well showing only modest evidence of age. The wheels display a fine polished alloy finish with painted casting centers and raw cast knockoffs, giving a purposeful look to the car. The stance is perfect, filling the flared fenders with ample rubber, evoking a competition look while still echoing the elegant lines of the first AC Ace design. Additional period touches throughout the car include dual racing mirrors, side exit exhaust pipes, and twin trunk “dimples”. These alloy dimples were originally constructed to allow the trunk to close over the larger volume endurance racing fuel tank installed to meet FIA requirements for a fully closed trunk lid with a suitcase inside. Legend has it these dimples were first made by a frustrated Shelby racing team member as depicted somewhat exaggeratedly by Ken Miles in the movie “Ford v Ferrari”.
The interior has been faithfully depicted with correct materials and pleat lines in black upholstery, with black carpeting and matching door panels. The front seat is specially contoured to provide additional support while cornering. The dashboard and instruments are properly arrayed with correct original type dial faces displaying beautiful numeric details and chrome trim. A nice authentic touch, the DYMO tape label pays tribute to the then new Berkeley, CA invention (1958) allowing custom hand labeling, used on many Cobras, vintage race cars, and aerospace products throughout the 60s. Both seats are outfitted with competition lap belts, flanked in the center by the T-handle 4-speed Top-loader gearbox. The aluminum AC foot pedals deliver a nice detail to the key control elements that dare to regulate the power of this potent beast. The wood-rimmed steering wheel exhibits a handsome warm wood tone proudly displaying the AC center emblem.
Under the hood, the street-tuned 289 engine running on pump gas is purposefully topped with a fantastic array of Weber carburetors and correctly finished details throughout including cast aluminum COBRA valve covers, aluminum surge tank, and the wrapped leaf spring spanning the front suspension. A contemporary aluminum radiator, electric fan, braided stainless fuel lines with upgraded fittings, and MSD ignition are welcome modern enhancements to the driving experience. The engine compartment and powerful engine display correct finishes, again with attention to detail with modest updates befitting the racing legacy of these great cars. The trunk is finished with matching black carpeting and exposed aluminum fuel tank. The underside of the car is also correctly finished and detailed showing no evidence of structural compromise and properly preserved components consistent with the reported ownership history and mileage indicated.
The car fires up instantly, generating a thumping growl and performance lope that instantly captures anyone within 100 yards of view. The side exit exhaust cuts through conversation, demanding both your attention and respect. Competition belt latched, emergency brake dropped, and a first gear engaged, the street-tuned 289 lights up and delivers the glory. Surprisingly nimble and manageable, the car opens up smoothly and rapidly as your ease builds at the wheel. Handling and ride are quite composed, with everything dialed in mechanically, in keeping with the superb cosmetic presentation. Though this Cobra was built to emulate the competition FIA Cobra in great detail, the driving manners, cornering and braking are very much at home for street use. The car is accompanied by reference documentation citing the AC history and build details around this car, copies of period photos of the car when originally shown, an AC Cobra Chassis Instruction Book, and an owner’s folio containing reference literature on the car.
This AC built 289 FIA Cobra represents a rare opportunity to purchase a uniquely constructed car with provenance directly associated with million-dollar original competition Cobras built in the 1960s. With unique looks and superlative construction, COX2610 is a stunning roadster, eagerly awaiting the open road, ready to reward the driving ambitions of the fortunate new owner.
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.
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