Home Restoration Topics Featured Cars and Trucks About
Left arrow


Right arrow

1965 Shelby Cobra 289 Street Roadster CSX2546

By Jeremy Wilson

Photos by Mike Litt

Without doubt the Kirkland, Washington Concours d’Elegance is the Northwest’s premier classic car show. Restricted to ninety invitation-only cars, the event showcases the region’s most elegant automobiles.

A true standout at this year’s Concours was John Voigt’s 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 Street Roadster. Differentiating Voigt’s car from other Cobra’s, and indeed, the majority of all entries, was its unusual provenance: This Cobra is a one-owner automobile. That’s right, one owner since 1965!

The historical connection between Voigt and his car was particularly refreshing, considering the venue. High-end classic car shows are filled with rare and exotic cars, many restored to perfection. Often these cars are part of large collections, trailered to shows, and presented by “representatives” of the owners. It’s wonderful that these owners share their collections with the community, and the cars are interesting in their own right. But nothing tops a long-term ownership story, especially when it covers four and a half decades, and begins with a college student and a Cobra.

Voigt recalls the events leading up to the purchase.

“My father actually bought it. He was going to buy a Corvette. He had a marina blue fastback Corvette picked out but I talked him into the Cobra instead. It was a pretty fun time because there weren’t any Cobras in Racine, Wisconsin, so I had to sell him on something he couldn’t see or drive.”

Once convinced, John’s father purchased a Cobra, but it never made it to their house.

“The first one we ordered fell off of the carrier about nine miles from Racine,” said Voigt. “The driver went over railroad tracks that were under construction and the car came off of the carrier. It was shortened by about a foot when it hit the cement.”

Fortunately father and son did not interpret this unfortunate incident as a bad omen. An identical car was found in Daytona Beach, Florida and purchased in August 1965.

Voigt’s Cobra is original and has only 68,000 miles on the odometer; the first 40,000 miles accrued during its first four years, including numerous cross country trips.

“It was my commuter for the first four years,” he stated. “I went to college in Wisconsin and you couldn’t have a car there so I didn’t put a lot of miles on it. But when I came out to the University of Puget Sound, it was my commuter. I drove it from Racine to Tacoma numerous times through North Dakota and Montana. I went through Wyoming, took it to Aspen and to Arizona down Highway 1. So it’s been driven. After graduation I took it back to Racine and pretty much parked it. I had it repainted in 1972 and repainted the back of the car a couple of years ago.”

For those unfamiliar with the Shelby Cobra, it was the result of Carroll Shelby’s dream of fitting an American V8 engine into a British sports car. Based on the AC Ace, the original CSX 2000 series utilized Ford small block engines--this one is a 289. The CSX 2000’s were also referred to as “slabsides” as they lacked flared wheel arches, characteristic of the later Cobras. The cars are numbered within their series. In this case, the CSX 2546 means it was the 547th car built.

Although this Cobra is basically original, it has had a few changes.

“Early on I put a scatter shield on it, because your feet are right there!” Voigt said laughing. “In 1966, when I was 19, nothing was fast enough. So we pulled the motor out and did all the stuff Carroll Shelby was doing to race engines including valve work, porting and polishing the heads, and adding a high rise aluminum intake manifold with a Holley 615 carburetor. About five or six years ago we refurbished the engine compartment, rewrapped the springs and upgraded the fan. I did the Copperstate 1000 Road Rally in Arizona and wanted better cooling capacity so I replaced the original two-bladed fan that was mounted in front of the radiator. I had the exhaust manifolds ceramic coated and installed a Pertronix electronic ignition system. Other than that it’s pretty original.”

For safety and reliability’s sake, Voigt also made some brake and suspension upgrades.

“I lost the brakes about 10 years ago in Kalaloch, Washington. There are two master cylinders and there was too much absorption of moisture so the fluid was getting on both sides of the pistons. We redid the brakes and put stainless pucks in the calipers. We also redid the suspension, installing new bushings and nickel plating the splines.”

When asked about his favorite time with his Cobra, Voigt replied, “When I was young I loved driving it. If you drove it all the time you got so you really knew the car. You became one with the car. You knew what it would do. Back then I loved the Illinois turnpikes because every ten miles there was a toll road. You’d throw in your thirty-five cents, and there would be eight lanes, and away you’d go up to about 100 miles per hour and then you’d back off. Now I’m much more careful because I don’t drive it frequently and don’t want it to get away from me. It’s very tractable, not dangerous like a 427--with those you better have the car pointing in the right direction because things happen fast.”

You might be wondering just how fast a twenty year old would drive his Shelby Cobra “commuter” car.

“I had it up to about 140 miles per hour when I was in college in Wisconsin,” said Voigt. “It was like a jet engine inside the car--it was loud!”

Click on any item below for more details at Amazon.com

Colin Comer
The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles: Cobras, Mustangs, and Super Snakes
Motorbooks, Hardcover, 2009-11-16
This lavishly illustrated work conducts readers through Shelby American’s forty-plus years. An exhaustive review of American high performance, from the first Cobra produced in 1962 through today’s fire-breathing, world-beating Shelby GT500KR Mustang, The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles offers an in-depth look at the ultra high-performance cars that have made Carroll Shelby a living automotive legend. With extensive details, specs, and photographic coverage, this book is the ultimate resource on America’s most exotic performance car.

Carroll Shelby
The Cobra Story
Motorbooks Intl, Hardcover, 1974-06
While still a relatively unknown driver, Carroll Shelby envisioned what he figured would be an exciting and marketable automobile: a sports car in the light, responsive European tradition, but with a big American V8 up front. In 1962 his dream became a reality, the hottest thing on wheels. This book includes thrills, some spills and plenty of his own brand of earthy humor and personal insight.

Gary Brizendine
Shelby AC Cobra Inspired Sports Car Assembly Manual
GNB Motorsports LLC, CD-ROM, 2009-10-01
This manual includes just about everything that you could possibly need to know if you are thinking about assembling your own Cobra inspired sports car. It outlines all the skills required, the tools, the equipment, and it helps make the complete assembly process straightforward and understandable. The manual begins with the considerations of building your own sports car and progresses step by step through the entire assembly process, including donor vehicles, wiring the electrical system, competition opportunities, and much more. Every page has informative text and most pages include color photographs that illustrate the topic that is being discussed.

Rick Kopec, Ken Eber, Ned Scudder
World Registry of Cobras & GT40s
Kopec/Eber Publishing, Hardcover, 2008
This book contains detailed information and photos of the following cars: original leaf spring and coil spring Cobras, 289 and 427 competition Cobras, Daytona Coupes, Dragonsnakes, AC Racing Coupes, McCluskey Daytona Coupes, Superformance Brock Coupes, King Cobras, 427 S/C Completion Cobras, CSX4000/7000/8000 Cobras, AC MK IVs, AC COX Continuation Cobras, Kirkham Cobras, Ford GTs, Safir GT40 MK Vs, Holman GT40 MK II cars, Kar Kraft MK IV cars, Superformance GT40s, Lone Star, Shelby Can-Am racers, ‘05-‘06 Ford GTs. The 4th edition of the world famous and highly regarded Registry is a massive tome of 1618 pages and 2848 black and white photos. It is the bible for Shelby owners. A limited number of this doorstep sized book have been printed.

Dave Friedman
Shelby Cobra: The Shelby American Original Color Archives 1963-1965
Motorbooks, Hardcover, 1994-10-03
The Shelby American Original Color Archives 1963-1965 contains a collection of more than 270 photographs, brochures, race programs, posters and Shelby memorabilia that tells the inside story of how the Shelby team built its production cars and went racing.

Dave Friedman
Motorbooks, Paperback, 2003-01-24
A Motorbooks Classic, Cobra tells the story of Carroll Shelby’s legendary sport/racing car with hundreds of great photos taken by the Shelby team photographer.

Wallace A. Wyss
Cobra and Shelby Mustang 1962-2007 Photo Archive: Including Prototypes and Clones
Iconografix, Paperback, 2007-08-14

In recent years, interest in the cars created by Shelby-American has increased dramatically. Good Shelbys are getting harder to find each year, and their values continue to rise dramatically. A.C. Cobras--with just over 1,000 made--are becoming impossible to find. The result is that clones have appeared of each and there is intense competition among replica owners to see whose replica will end up being most faithful to the originals.

The book shows not only the originals, but also shows in detail the creativity shown by replica Shelby and Cobra owners in modifying their cars in an attempt to capture the spirit of the originals. Not left out are the replica Cobras and Shelbys sold by Shelby himself.

Any enthusiast who reads this book cant help but be infused with the spirit and enthusiasm that pervaded the Shelby-American plant from 62 to 67--their five year vault from relative obscurity to fame and glory that persists 40 years later. Fords new 07 Shelby Mustang GT500--developed with Carroll Shelby back on board as consultant--is also covered.

R.M. Clarke
Shelby Cobra Gold Portfolio 1962~1969
Brooklands Books, Paperback, 1990-07-02
The Shelby Cobra Gold Portfolio is a premium edition in the Brooklands series. It is packed with articles, photos, technical information, road tests, and buying information. Detailed information includes road and track tests, specifications, performance data,racing history,and more.

R.M. Clarke
Road and Track on Cobra, Shelby and Ford GT40, 1962-1992
Brooklands Books, Paperback, 1993-03-07
This compendium includes road tests, racing information, new model reports, and more on these racing legends. 25 great articles from past issues of Road & Track tell it like it was and recreate the glory days of Shelby’s great racing career. Technical analyses, comparisons, and more on the Lone Star Cobra, 260, 289, 427, replicas, GT40, Mark II, Mustang, GT350 and GT500.

Rinsey Mills
AC Cobra The Truth Behind the Anglo-American Legend
Haynes Publishing, Hardcover, 2002-04-14
The legendary AC Cobra is one of the world’s ultimate no-compromise sports cars. Originally derived from the AC Ace, the brutal Cobra was the result of Carroll Shelby’s dream to combine British chassis expertise with the easily available power of a large-capacity American V8 engine. This much imitated car is revered the world over, and original examples have become highly sought-after. This beautifully produced commemorative book will appeal to all sports car fans as well as to Cobra enthusiasts. Part of the Haynes Great Cars Series.
Featured Cars
Sponsored Links

Copyright 2008 - 2021 - PopularRestorations.com - All Rights Reserved

Contact information