This 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra Was Driven by Elvis Presley and Carroll Shelby

Sixty years ago, a very determined man named Carroll Shelby established a company that bore his family name. As an automotive enthusiast, racing driver, designer, and witty entrepreneur, Shelby quickly figured out the best recipe for a car that could dethrone the well-known Corvettes. It was called the Cobra, and it made Chevrolet wonder what was going on. It kept winning race after race!

In the beginning, the car wore the “Powered by Ford” stickers because the power unit was being supplied by the American manufacturer. The first units used small block engines, but in the last two years of production (from 1965 to 1967), the Los Angeles-based company started using potent engines.

The Shelby American AC Cobra powered by Ford was the vehicle that truly had it all six decades ago. It came with plenty of power, but it also encompassed the agility of European sports cars. The entrepreneur managed to find a dream of a recipe for a cool roadster – have it go fast but trust it will follow your command when a corner is coming up.

With the characteristics of a great machine that can offer thrilling times on the track and an open-top experience like no other, the Cobra quickly turned into a legend. This has benefitted Ford as well, even though the vehicle itself was a financial failure for both Shelby’s company and the Dearborn-based automaker. They weren’t able to find a working solution for the mass production process. But let’s not think about how Carroll Shelby witnessed his roadsters going up in value constantly until the 1990s, when some other models were made after a brief break of around 30 years.

Unlike the first Cobra that hid under its hood a Ford 260 cu-in (4.3-liter) engine, the one that you’re about to learn more about down below sports a much bigger powerplant. And this meant some challenges had to be faced.Growing painsThe cast-iron V8 power unit used by this very suggestively named Shelby 427 Competition Cobra offered the vehicle just what it needed – 500 hp (507 ps). The 7.0-liter eight-cylinder was an unbelievable addition to such a small and fun roadster. But it gave the car a lot of character. However, that wasn’t enough.

So, the big names behind the Cobra worked together and gave the Competition model a couple of useful upgrades. These were desperately needed since the racing driver, that was also the mastermind behind the car, wanted to race the Shelby 425 in the Group 3 GT class. The car received larger brake rotors, durable calipers, bronze suspension bushings, a special fuel pump, a bigger fuel tank, an external fuel filler, a roll bar, and front and rear jacking points. The team also added a lot of parts made from various metals. For example, the roadster used magnesium intake manifolds and aluminum cylinder heads.

Unfortunately, production didn’t go as planned. Only 51 Competition Cobras were done when the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) inspectors arrived to check if they met the 100-model quota.

Out of the 51, just 23 models were completed to the necessary racing specification. They all found a home.The Shelby 427 Competition Cobra, chassis no. CSX 3011The vehicle you’re seeing in the photo gallery is nonother than the car used by the brilliant designer and racing driver to complete the Shelby Cobra Caravan lineup. Painted in Guardsman Blue and with white stripes added on top, the roadster joined a couple of cars like the GT 350, GT 350 R, Cobra Daytona Coupe, and the GT 40 on tour through a dozen of America’s most well-known cities.


The CSX 3011 did not sell during the promotional event, but it helped with the marketing efforts.

A year after its production, the vehicle was used by MGM Studios to film a movie in which Elvis Presley starred. The “King of Rock and Roll” can be seen driving the car while he plays the Mike McCoy character.

After this small success was added on top of a racing legacy that brought a lot of enthusiasm to Ford, the vehicle was sold to Formula 1 racing driver Solana Arciniega through Ford of Mexico. But the roadster did not become a garage queen. It was raced in both the U.S. and Mexico and went through a couple of modifications according to its owner’s desires. After Arciniega’s demise, the car was owned by another racing enthusiast. He used it until it caught fire. The engine and the vehicle’s body were damaged.

But a true Cobra fan learned about the car, found it, and brought it to Georgia-based technicians to give its shine back. They did not finish working on it because someone from Canada wanted it. The collector had someone else finish the job.

A couple of years passed by, and the CSX 3011 presented itself at Virginia International Raceway SAAC 36 event in 2011. It won the Gold Award.


While the cars weren’t a financial success sixty years ago, they’re definitely wanted today. Auctioneers bid their hearts out back in 2016 when the first-ever Shelby Cobra became available. In the end, it found a new home for $13.7 million.

Now, let’s look at what this roadster can do in terms of breaking price barriers. It’s currently up for grabs at RM Sotheby’s. The vehicle is part of the Arizona Auction, which will take place on the 26th of January, 2023. The event is happening at the Arizona Biltmore, on Missouri Avenue, in Phoenix. The public will be able to attend free of charge to view the available lots.

The vehicle is joined by relevant memorabilia, many images from its past, a thorough restoration process breakdown, and the Cobra Caravan brochure. Just remember that you’ll have to pay 12% of the final price to the auction house since it requires a premium for this unit.