Although the Cobra changed hands, the record didn’t. The same car—chassis CSX 3359—set both marks.
“That doesn’t happen often, because record-breaking cars aren’t usually offered again for quite some time, but it makes sense that a car this special would increase in value,” says Greg Ingold, Hagerty vehicle data specialist. “Aside from being a big-block car, it was the second-to-last 427 Cobra ever produced, has fewer than 1900 original miles, and has been part of some notable collections [John Mozart and Lawrence Bowman]. It is no surprise that it set a record—again.”
Shelby was initially promised a new aluminum-block version of Ford’s 390 FE engine, but once the NASCAR faction within Ford got wind of the project, plans turned to the heavier cast-iron 427. It debuted at Sebring in 1964 with Ken Miles at the wheel. Handling problems necessitated some engineering work, which included a new chassis with 4-inch tube frame and 7-inch-wider body with larger fender flares to better accommodate the increased power and weight of the engine. The 427 Cobra was never mass-produced; just over 300 were built.
Ironically, the car at Amelia set a new high-water mark for a non-competition-spec Cobra 427 but still fell just short of its low estimate of $1.8M. The Cobra didn’t take top overall honors, either. That went to a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB by Scaglietti that sold for $2,205,900, also at RM Sotheby’s, which comes as no surprise because the stunning 275 GTB and 275 GTS are near the top of every Ferrari enthusiast’s wish list. In fact, a 1965 275 GTS spider sold for $1,325,000 at Gooding & Company, good enough for ninth on the list.
Ingold believes the prices paid for the sixth- and seventh-position cars represent “a market correction.” A 2015 McLaren P1 Coupe sold for $1,490,000 at RM, while a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Roadster found a new home for $1,490,000 at Gooding. “They went up in value immediately after release,” Ingold says, “and these prices are lower than their condition rating [$400 lower for the McLaren, $150K for the Porsche], which might indicate that there is a bit more of correcting to do.”
Rounding out the top 10 were a 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Chapron Cabriolet Le Dandy that sold for $1,352,500 and a 1934 Packard Twelve-Series 1108 Dietrich Convertible Sedan that sold for $1,325,000, both at RM Sotheby’s.
For a detailed analysis of the trends and results from the 2019 Amelia Island auction, check out our auction results report.
1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Sedan