At this point, the Shelby/AC Cobra is kind of like Sasquatch; people always talk about it, but few have ever seen the real thing in the wild. And if they have, it was probably a kit car … or a guy in a monkey suit.
The Cobra was originally produced in the 1960s, and of all the models to see the road, the legendary 427 ‘Super Snake’ is arguably the most venomous.
Only two Super Snake variants were ever made. One example, wearing VIN CSX3015, started out as a non-street legal 427 Cobra Competition roadster in 1966, which had its mufflers, windshield, bumpers, and other non-essential parts removed for track duty.
In Super Snake guise, the vehicle gained back its road legal parts, but retained its racing rear end, brakes, headers, and of course the Twin Paxton Superchargers that bumped total output to 800 horsepower.
CSX3015 was just sold for a whopping $5.115 million at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, and it is unbelievably unmolested for a car of its type. It still has the original body, aluminum hood, headers, 377 rear end, and the factory date stamp on the engine block. It even wears the original ‘Guardsman Blue’ finish, although it was hidden under two layers of additional paint for some time.
The other Super Snake built, CSX3303, was converted from a non-competition 427 roadster and given to Carroll Shelby’s good friend, Bill Cosby. After the comedian drove the car for the first time, he found that it simply had too much power to pilot safely. He returned it to Shelby, and eventually the vehicle found its way to another customer named Tony Maxey.
Unfortunately, the CSX3033 Super Snake was too extreme for Maxey as well, who lost control of the 800-hp, 2300-ish-pound muscle car and drove it off a cliff. Both car and driver sadly perished in the Pacific Ocean.
The Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake is an exceptional car with an exceptional story, and an exceptional price tag to go with it. As Barrett-Jackson states, Carroll Shelby “built [it] at a time when Americans were just Americans and proud to be Americans.”
Whether or not that’s changed, it was a simpler car for a simpler time, and a striking reminder of how much cars have changed over the years. Let’s just hope the new owner is careful with it.