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toward gettin’ ‘em, fixin’ ’em and

sellin’ ‘em. I had seen this many times

before, from car hobby people who dab-

ble in Cobras, Corvettes, Ferraris,

Alfas, Bentleys, Rolls and any “mucho

expensivo” vehicle on four wheels that

had even the slightest bit of collec-

tability in its DNA. It’s wonderful that

car enthusiasts, with deep seven-fig-

ure pockets or shallow four-figure

pockets, with a lot of mechanical abil-

ity or little or no mechanical ability, all

seem to be the same sixteen year-old

kid when talking about whatever year,

make, or model is “special” to them.

I’ve even met fanatical Yugo collectors,

although they freely admit they’re the

ones who are actually a little, well let’s

just say, “special.”

Okay, now I’m back to work be-

cause parked next to the 540 K is the

1963 Shelby 289 Cobra Dragonsnake,

and my right index digit is snapping

photo after photo of this SCREAMING

fuchsia, fire-breathing beastoid. Why

is it so special to those of us in the

Cobra world? Well, according to the

RM/Sotheby catalogue, this slithering

quarter-mile critter is one of only

three Cobras independently prepared

to Dragonsnake specs, has won multi-

ple NHRA National Championships,

and is a national record holder. Add to

that, it is unquestionably the most

successful drag-racing Cobra ever and

you just know it has earned the repu-

tation of being one of “the” Cobra


Right now though, I do have a com-

plaint about this car. The bright,

flashy, super metallic finish, combined

with the ultra-shiny reflecting sun, is

wreaking havoc with my pics – black

shadows, white glares, black shadows,

white glares! Leave it to me to gripe

about the weather being too good

when photographing a Cobra.

After thickening the callous on the

tip of my camera finger, I set out to

find the main reason for my attending

the RM/Sotheby preview – a 1965

Shelby 427 Competition Cobra owned

by gentleman, scholar and long time

SAAC member Don Lee. Throughout

this article I will be sickeningly gratu-

itous toward this fine individual be-

cause he has invited me to join his

lovely wife, Amanda (a great writer),

and a few others to sit with him

Thursday evening at the RM/Sotheby

auction. There, I will be honored and

privileged to watch, in great apprecia-

tion, as Don’s black on black, gold leaf-

striped, #19 road racer, CSX3010,

crosses the block.

I am a little worried I may have

only been invited to assist in carrying

Don’s supine form out of the auction

hall after his beautiful Cobra goes on

the block to pass on to another realm.

Let’s face it, this image is not unusual

when you consider he will be losing a

“loved one.” A tad extreme perhaps,

but hey, it could happen!

My Cobra quest is successful, be-

cause there finally sits the elegant,

venomous ophidian, a sight for sore

eyes, coiled dangerously in the warm

sun, directly in front of the main en-

trance to the Arizona Biltmore. Pho-

tographers and onlookers are keeping

a respectful distance, speaking in

hushed tones, so as not to disturb this

magnificent example of regal Co-

bradom, for one knows not to disturb

a king on his throne. The bright sun is

creating a fluid image of velvet black

shadows flowing from the jet black

paint, to meld an even more muscular

image of the 427’s already over-testos-

teroned body shape. Sometimes I get a

little dramatic when confronting


Why is this particular 427 Cobra

an example of automobile greatness?

Well, once more consulting the R/M

Sotheby catalogue, one finds this par-

ticular writhing skinned, aluminum

sculpture is one of just 23 Competition

427 Cobras ever produced and the

winner of both the 1968 U.S. SCCA

A/Production Championship and the

Eastern Canadian Endurance Cham-

pionship in 1970, making it the only

427 Cobra to win championships in

two countries. It is also the veteran of

many historic racing events and 1,000-


Spring 2016 45