HomeThe MarketSensational Shelbys in Arizona auction spotlight

Sensational Shelbys in Arizona auction spotlight


The Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake | Larry Edsall photo
The Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake | Larry Edsall photo

One in a series of previews for the 2015 Arizona classic car auctions

In this series of Arizona classic car auction previews, we’re trying not to duplicate the stories we’ve been sharing recently in the run up to the sale of the Ron Pratte’s collection at Barrett-Jackson. But today we have little other option, since today our focus is Shelby, Carroll Shelby and his Cobras and the Ford Mustangs that he and his Shelby American crew turned into galloping horses worthy of the breed of wild but wonderful Western ponies.

And, yes, we can (and will) write about the barn-found 289 Cobra or the still-original 289 Cobra and how Gooding & Company expects each to bring more than a million dollars at its auction. Or about the ’64 289 Cobra available at Bonhams after being owned by the same family for nearly 50 years. Or about the 427 Cobras, one at RM and another at Russo and Steele. Or about the Shelby Mustangs that will be available at Silver as well as nearly all of those venues already mentioned.

But the fact of the matter is that we have to repeat ourselves to some extent because when it comes to cars bearing Carroll Shelby’s signature — and he not only put badges on cars but personally signed every one when any car owner asked for that imprint — because Ron Pratte’s collection includes 17 examples of Shelby’s best work, including:

  • The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake, one of only two built — and this one was built for Shelby himself — and the only one still existing. Pratte bought the car at Barrett-Jackson in 2007 for $5.5 million. and that remains the highest price ever paid for a car at a Barrett-Jackson sale.
  • The 1969 Shelby GT500 Mustang convertible that was Shelby’s personal car for some three decades.
  • The 2006 Shelby GT-H Serial No. 1 that marked the renewal of the Shelby-Hertz rent-a-racer arrangement of the 1960s.
  • The 2013 Ford GT500 Mustang prototype in which Shelby helped Ford development engineers develop what would be the last generation of Shelby Mustangs in which Ol’ Shel’ would have a personal hand.
  • The 2005 Ford GT VIN 0003, one of the earliest production versions of the road-going successor to the famed Ford GT40; Shelby not only guided the GT40 to victory at Le Mans in the 1960s but was part of the Ford team that developed the reborn version dubbed simply the Ford GT.
  • A 1967 Shelby GT500 fastback from the first model year of the big-block Mustangs.
  • A 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake Prudhomme Edition, a car developed by Shelby and drag racing champion Don “The Snake” Prudhomme.
  • The 2007 Shelby GT fastback Serial No. 1.
  • A glass-roofed 2008 Ford Shelby GT500 KR.
  • A 1967 Ford Shelby GT500E Super Snake.
  • A 1968 Shelby GT500 convertible.

And although not built by Shelby, Pratte’s cars include the 1949 MG TC roadster that was the first car Shelby raced.

Among other Shelbys crossing the auction blocks in Arizona are:

Mr. Formal Wear ads made this Shelby famous | Ad reprinted courtesy RM
Mr. Formal Wear ads made this Shelby famous | Ad reprinted courtesy RM
  • At Bonhams, a light (Princess) blue with red interior 1964 289 Cobra that was on the Shelby stand at the 1965 New York auto show and then was purchased new and owned by the same New Jersey family until 2011.
  • At Gooding & Company, a 1964 289 Cobra that remains unrestored after being owned by people on the West Coast, in Europe, in New York and then back on the West Coast.
  • Also at Gooding, a 1964 289 Cobra that fifth-owner Sy Allen of West Windsor, Vermont, acquired in 1974, put on jack stands in his heated barn and left there for some 40 years.
  • At RM, a 1966 427 Cobra that was intended for racing at Le Mans but later was sold to brothers Bill and Bud Jones of Roanoke, Virginia, who drove the car extensively and made it famous in advertising posters for their Mr. Formal Wear company.
  • At Russo and Steele, a 1966 427 Cobra that raced in the Midwest and qualified for the American Road Race of Champions at Riverside.
  • At Barrett-Jackson, a 1965 427 Cobra that was put away for 20 or 25 years before being restored to its original factory Vineyard Green color.
  • Also at Barrett-Jackson, a 1968 Shelby GT500 KR convertible with a four-speed manual gearbox, a 1970 Shelby GT500 that is one of only seven produced in red with a red interior, and a 1970 Shelby GT500 with the factory Drag Pack option and Super Cobra Jet 428-cubic-inch engine.
  • At Silver, a 1968 Mustang GT/CS (California Special), a limited-production vehicle produced with special equipment from Shelby.
Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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