Three Shelby Cobras at the Mecum Auctions Indy 2019 sale have amassed an incredible combined total of $6.4 million (£4.95 million) from crossing the block.
Sold as part of the Steven Juliano Estate Collection, the trio include an early 1964 289 Roadster, along with a later 427 Cobra, and an ultra-rare S/C (Semi-Competition) car from 1967.
The Cobra collective proved to be a star on the fourth day of sales at the packed Indy sale. This was even on an auction listing which included other amazing muscle cars and exemplary classic machinery.
1967 Shelby 427 S/C Cobra Roadster – $2.7m
Undoubtedly the star of the Steven Juliano Collection, this particular 1967 Cobra is just one of 29 S/C Roadsters produced by the Shelby factory.
Widely regarded as the ultimate Shelby Cobra, S/C cars featured the 427-cubic inch V-8 engine and had been intended to homologate the car for racing use. However, FIA inspectors were unhappy with the number of cars built, and denied it competition approval.
As a result, fewer than 30 Cobras were released onto the streets, still wearing the same upgrades which had been intended for race use. This included flared fenders, side exhausts, and an external filler for the race-spec fuel tank.
This particular S/C was first purchased by the owner of a Boston, Massachusetts Ford dealership in October 1966.
Despite having had five owners from new, and the unyielding temptation to enjoy the estimated 500+ horsepower of the FE engine, this car has amassed just 10,760 miles from new.
Juliano had spent time ensuring the car was returned to original specification, leaving it as one of the most authentic 427 S/C Cobras in existence. His work justifies the $2.7m (£2.1m) paid.
1966 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster – $2.2m
Mildly less terrifying than the S/C model, but still able to scare and delight, Steven Juliano’s ‘Street Cobra’ is also regarded as one of the purest examples.
Unlike later cars, which used the Police Interceptor 428-cubic inch V-8 motor, this car has the desirable 427 block, along with dual quad carburettors and period-correct lights.
Juliano had the Silver Mink paintwork restored with painstaking accuracy, whilst this car even retained the original Shelby window sticker, and was updated with Shelby 1966 NOS maintenance parts where possible.
Being able to return the car to such condition is impressive, given that the Cobra changed hands numerous times before being acquired by Juliano.
In fact, CSX3173 had eight documented owners between 1966 and 1987, and spent three decades in Japan before Juliano finally bought the car in 2010.
Whether the previous owners quickly found themselves too scared of the performance offered by the 427 Cobra, or just wanted to make quick money, is unknown. But we are sure the new owner will be very pleased with their $2.2m (£1.62m) car, and feel that the efforts by Steven Juliano justify the price.
1964 Shelby 298 Cobra Roadster – $1.6m
Whilst it may be the most unassuming of the three Cobras sold at the Indy event to look at, Lot F132 has the claim of truly being one-of-one ever created in this specification.
The unique status comes from the existing as the only 1964 Shelby Cobra Roadster to be built with a Stage III 289-cubic inch V-8 engine. Usually reserved for competition usage, this meant four Weber downdraft carburettors, adding an additional 50 horsepower to proceedings.
This car was also loaded with optional extras, including polished American Racing magnesium wheels and a hood scoop, making it one of the most expensive 289 Cobras made.
Whilst this car left the factory in Princess Blue, the first owner even decided to have the car returned to Shelby in order to be repainted in the bright Rangoon Red hue.
Purchased by a new owner in 1972, the car stayed with them until 2011, when it became the final car to undergo Juliano’s extensive restoration process.
Juliano had recognised the car from various Cobra books, and spent some four years taking it back to original condition. Tragically, the car was completed just weeks before his death, but the $1.6m (£1.23m) Cobra is a fitting tribute to his life and car collecting efforts.
With over 2,000 cars for sale, the Mecum Indy 2019 sale continues until Sunday May 19th, and also includes motorcycles and automobilia.