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Russo and Steele
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1964 Shelby King Cobra 

For Enthusiasts By Enthusiasts!

Click on image to ENLARGE

Country State / Province City / Town Zip / Postal Code
United States AZ Phoenix 85040

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Color Exterior:   
Color Interior:  
Odometer: 0 Miles
Transmission: MANUAL
Convertible: N/A
Advert No: 192983


Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale August 14th – 16th, 2014 at Russo and Steele''s 14th Annual Monterey California Auction. Please contact us for more information. With Carroll Shelby’s racing team honed into a tight unit and his 289 Cobras utterly dominating the opposition in SCCA and USRRC competition with both championships all but guaranteed for 1963, plans were laid for a Shelby attack on the USAC-sanctioned West Coast “Fall Pro Series.” While Shelby used Ford V-8 engines, this effort was a Shelby-only operation and received no formal involvement from Ford Motor Company. Since extremely lightweight, mid-engine cars such as the Lotus 19, Cooper Monaco, and Roger Penske’s thinly disguised and barely legal Cooper GP-based “Zerex Special” were dominant in this fast-growing new arena, Shelby obtained two Monaco rolling chassis from the UK’s John Cooper. Once at Shelby American, the cars were quickly fitted with race-prepped 289 Ford V-8s pushing 400 horsepower and Colotti gearboxes. Briefly tested at Riverside, the new Shelby Cooper-Ford, soon dubbed “King Cobra” by the press, was blindingly quick in the hands of Shelby team drivers Dave MacDonald and Bob Holbert. Sorting out the cars’ teething pains paid off at the Times GP, the second “Fall Pro Series” race at Riverside, California, where MacDonald took victory. Dave MacDonald also won the Pacific Grand Prix at Laguna Seca the following weekend in the Shelby Cooper-Ford. Four more Monacos were purchased from Cooper for 1964, including this car, numbered CM/5/64. Shelby’s King Cobra drivers would include Bob Bondurant, Parnelli Jones, Ronnie Bucknum, Richie Ginther and Augie Pabst. The 1964 season was particularly poignant for the Shelby team, with the loss of Dave MacDonald at Indianapolis in May and the subsequent retirement of his teammate Bob Holbert. The history of this King Cobra, numbered CM/5/64, has been exhaustively researched with impeccable detail in conjunction with a number of excellent sources including the SAAC World Registry, historic racing results, period correspondence, personal interviews and conversations, detailed examination of photographs, and the rich documentary evidence provided by the car itself. Following arrival at Shelby American’s facilities in the Summer/Fall of 1964, CM/5/64 received its 289 racing engine and gearbox and it was race-prepped. Finished in Shelby team colors of Guardsman Blue with white racing stripes, it was driven by Bob Bondurant (the eventual Le Mans GT-class champion co-driver for Shelby in 1965), with Frank Lance the crew chief at the big-money Times GP at Riverside on October 11, 1964. There, it was race-numbered 93 and finished 5th. The next week on the 18th, Bondurant drove CM/5/64 to a third-place podium at the Pacific GP at Laguna Seca, where it was numbered 96. According to the SAAC Registry and conversations between successful Cobra driver Allen Grant conducted by SAAC King Cobra Registrar Chuck Brandt and the consignor, Carroll Shelby offered Mr. Grant the opportunity to race CM/6/64, the Parnelli Jones-driven car in 1965. While Allen was working to prepare CM/6/64 after its bodywork was destroyed in an incident at the Pacific Grand Prix, Shelby changed his mind and instead sold CM/6/64 along with the body from CM/5/64 (the Bondurant car) to facilitate the sale to Lothar Motschenbacher. Next, during late-1964, CM/5/64 was used as the test bed for a development program involving relocated front and rear shock mounts for improved suspension travel. The suspension modification remains on the car to this day and is clearly unique among other Shelby Cooper-Fords and Cooper Monaco T-61s in general. However, with the debut of Shelby’s Daytona Coupes and Shelby American’s takeover of the GT40 development and World Championship racing program for Ford, CM/5/64 was sold to Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) in England for 1959 Le Mans-winning driver Roy Salvadori (who co-drove there with Carroll Shelby) to drive in the early British races of 1965. Letters between Al Dowd of Shelby American and John Wyer of Ford Advanced Vehicles plus photographic evidence from the book “Racing Mechanic” by Jeremy Walton and subsequent owner Fran Larkin describes this fascinating chapter of CM/5/64’s early career. A new body, described as more “Cooper-like” and including modifications for spare-tire stowage, was fabricated in England. A ZF transaxle replaced the Colotti unit, and the car’s forward frame and dashboard were modified to accommodate the spare tire. Later during 1965, CM/5/64 was returned to Shelby American and offered for sale in Shelby’s famous “Garage Sale.” The first advertisement appeared in the 1/15/66 issue of Competition Press. Oscar Koveleski purchased CM/5/64 – along with CM/4/64 and all of Shelby’s spare Cooper bodies and parts – in March 1966. Next, CM/5/64 passed through Mr. Koveleski to James E. “Jim” Brown of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. In a May 1979-dated letter to Steve Dole, who owned CM/4/64, Mr. Koveleski stated in reference to CM/5/64 that the “…other “King Cobra” at last was supposedly a special one built in England for Roy Salvatori, and we sold it to a Mr. Brown of Pittsburgh.” One key photograph provided by the Brown family shows the unique shock/spring mounting location on CM/5/64 from Shelby’s late-1964 development work. Another from the Brown family shows the unique fuel-tank configuration of the car at Nelson Ledges in 1967, which is consistent with an image of the car provided by SAAC King Cobra Registrar Chuck Brandt in Shelby American’s shops three years earlier. Mr. Brown raced the King Cobra successfully from 1966 – 1968, achieving several National wins and finishing a creditable 4th in points in the SCCA Northeastern Region A/Sports Racing class for 1968. In 1968, CM/5/64’s former owner Oscar Kovelevski brokered a deal between then-current owner James Brown and Fran Larkin. Mr. Koveleski refreshed CM/5/64 with new paint. This moment in time is documented by photographs in the consignor’s files provided by Mr. Koveleski’s crew chief Jack Deren and Frank Larkin and by an interview conducted by SAAC King Cobra Registrar Chuck Brandt with Mr. Deren. From 1968 through 1971, Mr. Larkin raced CM/5/64 in SCCA National and Regional events. Larkin hit a tire wall on his first outing and destroyed the front nose piece. He subsequently replaced the entire body with a fiberglass (most likely a Cicada) body purchased from fellow racer “Tex” Arnold. Mr. Larkin provided the consignor with incredibly important photographic evidence. After he crunched the nose at Watkins Glen, Mr. Larkin decided to completely go through the car himself with the help of a mechanic. In the process, he took detailed photos of the bare chassis, suspension components, brakes, and other systems. These photos supply crucial documentary evidence positively identifying the car’s chassis as CM/5/64. These photos all show the unusual shock/spring mounting location and the unusual frame modification made by England’s FAV for revised fitment of the spare wheel/tire. Further, during a conversation between the consignor and Mr. Larkin during 2012, he said he was told the car was the Bondurant car, which is consistent with what Oscar Koveleski stated in his letter on file. This fact carried forward to every subsequent owner, including Barry Brown. Next, Mr. Larkin traded CM/5/64 for a BMW Trans-Am racecar in 1971. The new owner was Mr. Larkin’s mechanic, Mark Scarano of Vestal, New York. Mr. Scarano rebuilt the 289 engine and then sold CM/5/64 to Craig Smith of Robesonia, Pennsylvania in 1971. Mr. Scarano did not race the car. Craig Smith raced CM/5/64 in 6 PHA hillclimb events during 1971. When the consignor spoke with Mr. Smith during 2012, he also stated that he raced the car at Watkins Glen, although an official record of that entry has not yet been located. Mr. Smith further stated that the car had been painted a yellow-gold color prior to his ownership. Interviews, plus photographs and race results provided by Mr. Ron Mann, PHA Archivist, document this phase of the car’s history, other than the aforementioned Watkins Glen entry. In 1972, Richard “Dick” Johnson acquired CM/5/64 and raced it in the SCCA’s A/Sports Racing class, competing primarily in the Midwest and Southeast regions. When he purchased the car, it was still painted yellow-gold; however, he changed the paint scheme Penske-style blue and gold colors. In addition to an interview conducted by the consignor with Mr. Johnson, two period photos are on file, along with one other excellent historical document containing the car’s specifications and typed on “Dick Johnson Autobody” stationery. In 1976, Mr. Johnson sold the car to a “very tall” autocross racer from the Midwest. Unfortunately, the man’s name is unknown today. Two photos of the car are on hand from this period, which came to the consignor inside a box of spares. The photos were taken sometime between 1976 and 1979, and show CM/5/64 wearing the old body from Mr. Larkin, now painted brown. Examination of the photo also indicates that it was taken at an autocross event in Denver, Colorado. The rolling chassis made its way to Southern California by 1979, where CM/5/64 was purchased by Wayne Lyndon of Roseville. Mr. Lyndon states that he believes the car was purchased in Sunland, CA, although he does not recall the name of the prior owner. At the time of purchase, CM/5/64 was still wearing the old fiberglass body purchased from “Tex” Arnold. The engine was missing and the chassis showed the extensive but understandable wear and tear from many years of hard competition. Mr. Lyndon stated in a recent conversation with the consignor that he was told by the prior owner that the chassis was the “Bondurant car.” Barry Brown, formerly of Pacific Palisades, California, purchased CM/5/64 in 1981. He mistakenly restored the chassis as CM/6/64 and replaced the fiberglass body shell with a new Cooper Monaco body made by Len Pritchard in England. However, the consignor has since confirmed that Mr. Brown was indeed told by prior owner Wayne Lyndon that the chassis he purchased was “driven by Bob Bondurant” (i.e., CM/5/64). It is in Brown’s own handwriting, on the back of an old TV/movie script he wrote. Mr. Brown appears to have relied on representations made by another Shelby American employee regarding the suspension modifications made prior to the chassis’ sale to FAV in 1965. However, we now know definitively that these representations were incorrect. The key evidence disproving Mr. Brown’s earlier belief is the unique, hand-fabricated “perforated bulkhead” structures attached by Shelby American to each of the 1964 King Cobras to facilitate the removal of the engine and transaxle as a unit. The 1963 King Cobras did not have this piece. Another King Cobra, CM/6/64 - the Parnelli Jones car – was the only 1964 King Cobra to have two of these perforated pieces installed. This King Cobra, CM/5/64, had only one of these pieces – the rearmost one – installed. The original forward one on CM/5/64 was of tubular construction. The consignor has that same piece, fabricated by Shelby in 1964, stored at his shop. The holes drilled in this piece precisely match those in the photos of the chassis provided by Fran Larkin. In addition, Fred Phillips, the current owner of CM/6/64, has the two original Shelby-fabricated perforated bulkheads for his car. Barry Brown’s photos from 1981 show the unique frame modification made by FAV in 1965, which are also depicted in the Fran Larkin photos. Barry Brown’s “as-found” photos on file also show the unique shock/spring mounting location of CM/5/64. Exhaustive research includes approximately 50 historic photos, a telephone interview by Chuck Brandt, SAAC King Cobra Registrar, with former Shelby employee Jim Wallace, who restored the car for Mr. Brown. Additional confirmation is also provided by a telephone interview with Barry Brown by conducted by Chuck Brandt, Mr. Brown’s own handwritten notes, historic photos taken by former Shelby American staff photographer Dave Friedman, now owned by the Henry Ford Museum, key pre-restoration photos obtained from Barry Brown, and chassis photos from Barry Brown and Fran Larkin, plus the aforementioned letters between FAV and Shelby American. After competing at the Monterey Historics in 1999, CM/5/64 was sold to Larry Bowman of Redwood City, CA in 2001. Mr. Bowman performed a complete restoration prior to campaigning CM/5/64 in other West Coast vintage racing events, including the 2008 Wine Country Classic. During this period under Mr. Bowman, CM/5/64 was driven by him and noted vintage-racer Rob Walton. This 10-year period is very well-documented with event entries, hundreds of restoration photos, and dozens of invoices for work performed on the King Cobra. Still wearing it’s (now known to be incorrect) Parnelli Jones livery, CM/5/64 was sold to Ross Meyer of Boyertown, Pennsylvania in 2009. Mr. Meyer did not race the car. In August 2011, the consignor acquired CM/5/64. He raced CM/5/64 at the Laguna Seca Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion in 2012 and at the Coronado Speed Festival in 2011 and 2012. The current owner also returned the car to its period-correct wet sump engine configuration with accompanying ventilation in the frontal bodywork, which provides the benefit of cooler engine and cockpit temperatures. As offered, King Cobra CM/5/64 marks an incomparable find as a significant Shelby racing car and a forerunner of the wild Group 7 racing cars that later populated the no-holds-barred and immensely popular Can Am series of the 1960s. With its original Shelby American provenance and successful early racing history with eventual 1965 Le Mans GT-class winner Bob Bondurant at the wheel, CM/5/64 is a truly historic part of the rich Shelby legacy. Unlike many other classic racing cars, its provenance is simply exceptional, thanks to the incredible documentation, physical evidence, and impressive research conducted by the consignor and SAAC King Cobra Registrar Chuck Brandt. In fact, the recent research findings will culminate in an updated entry for the car in the next edition of the Shelby American World Registry. Continuing to benefit handsomely from an excellent race-ready restoration, properly prepared, and correctly configured and presented, King Cobra CM/5/64 is outstanding in all possible respects. Simply put, CM/5/64 stands tall as one of the finest classic racing cars in existence today.THIS CAR IS SOLD ON BILL OF SALE

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