SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. In 1964, Shelby American, today a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc., introduced the FIA version of the small block Cobra, which competed in the 1964 World Manufacturers Championship series against the likes of Aston Martin, Jaguar and Corvette. To celebrate the birth of the 289 Ford-powered roadsters, Shelby American will offer 50 limited edition continuation (CSX7000) Shelby 289 FIA Cobras. Each will be painted “Viking Blue” with FIA stripes and roundels, and feature a black FIA interior, special billet anniversary badges, original style wheels and a variety of additional options.
The 50th Anniversary FIA Shelby Cobra was introduced at the annual Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz, on Friday, Jan. 17.
“The 289 FIA Shelby Cobras were among the most important cars in American racing history,” said John Luft, president of Shelby American. “The FIA Cobras built during that period were piloted by racing legends including Ken Miles, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill and Bob Bondurant. Thus, some of the most revered drivers in the sport put the 289 FIA Cobra into the winner’s circle. Combining a robust, powerful American engine with a lightweight chassis was sheer brilliance. Shelby’s formula still resonates today and is followed by automakers worldwide.”
Shelby American built the 289 FIA Cobras for racing; modifications included a new dash, widened front and rear fenders, cut-back doors, new dampers, racing wheels featuring the pin-drive hub, oil cooler scoops and a competition spec 289 small block engine.
Today, the CSX7000 Continuation Shelby Cobra 289 FIA’s are component vehicles that can be fitted with a proper drive train by a customer or automotive professional. Each car is built to order and delivered as a rolling chassis, less drive train, with a Shelby American-issued MSO.
“Our CSX7000 cars incorporate safety and performance improvements, without sacrificing driving excitement or originality,” added Vince LaViolette, senior designer and head of R&D at Shelby American. “With a small block V8 pushing only 2,100 lbs., it’s the lightest Cobra ever built with an incredible power-to-weight ratio. This allows the small block Cobra to dive deep into corners and pull through with incredible precision and accuracy.”
The Continuation Shelby Cobra 289 FIA vehicles retain everything from the authentic style suspension to the graceful body lines, but are upgraded to contemporary standards. Shelby American uses modern disc brakes and a stronger frame, and the bodies are available in either aluminum or fiberglass. The 50th Anniversary Edition also features a complete exhaust for a small block Ford V8, a special fitted car cover and optional detachable steering wheel.
“The importance and historical significance of these cars was the fact that they brought a small shop in Southern California to the forefront of international racing on two continents within the same year,” said Shelby expert and SAAC member Jeff Gagnon. “Shelby American took it to Ferrari, Corvette and other well-supplied, well-funded and established race teams and manufacturers. That was no small feat, even in those simpler times.”
The 50th Anniversary CSX7000 FIA Continuation Cobra will begin at $94,995 for a fiberglass car or $159,995 for an aluminum-bodied car, excluding drive train. Each will be documented in the Shelby American "World Registry."