North Carolina author and well-respected automotive enthusiast Tom Cotter struck a nerve with his seminal book, “The Cobra In The Barn.” Cotter’s website, http://www.cobrainthebarn.com/ chronicles similar books on barn-find Hemis, Harleys, Corvettes and even Vincents.
In the early 2000s, Cotter bought his own Cobra from Jacques “Frenchy” Harguindeguy, a Northern California enthusiast who won Pebble Beach Best of Show honors in 2000 for an amazing 1937 Delahaye that he restored.
Cotter’s Cobra was an original, low-mile 289 model, and I personally took him to Frenchy’s house in Walnut Creek to pick it up. In return, I drove the Cobra, which Cotter still has. It was, like all Cobras, a beast to drive – fast, but primitive – and it was a sure way to make your heart race and your pulse rise.
But I digress.
Cotter unearthed enough barn-find Cobras to fill an entire book, but they are still comparatively rare animals. So when a real, honest-to-God barn-find Cobra comes up for sale, it draws a lot of attention.
In its upcoming Scottsdale auction, Gooding & Co. will sell a 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra at no reserve, meaning top bid gets it no matter what the final hammer price is.
This Cobra, Chassis No. CSX2436, has been owned by Sy Allen of West Windsor, Vermont, since 1974 and is listed in the SAAC World Registry of Cobras & GT40s, 4th Edition on pages 47 and 62.
After Allen bought the car in 1974, he moved to Vermont, and “the Cobra was placed on jacks and stored with the top up inside of Allen’s heated barn/workshop where it remained secluded and out of sight for 40 years,” according to the catalog description.
Originally, the Cobra sold for $5,812.31 new, real money back in 1964. Then again, that’s a mere pittance compared with the upcoming pre-auction estimate of $1.1 million to $1.4 million.
“Standing proudly as a late-production 289 Cobra with rack and pinion steering and desirable factory upgrades, CSX 2436 is simply irreplaceable as one of precious few Cobras remaining in such wonderfully preserved condition today,” reads the Gooding catalog description.