Barrett-Jackson - Ford-Powered Collectors Cars
The Cobra to End All Cobras
There are cars, and then there are cars. In this second category you’ll find the truly unique, one-of-a-kind, fire-breathing motorized chariots that it’s hard to believe were ever legal to drive on the street.
The 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra Super Snake, the famous CSX 3015, offered for sale at Barrett-Jackson’s 2021 Scottsdale Auction, is just such a car.
Featured in their February 1968 issue, Road & Track famously called it “The Cobra To End All Cobras.” Pedigree? It was built for and driven by the man whose name was on the factory, Carroll Shelby himself. He ordered its creation to give himself a Cobra with second-to-none performance, and he definitely achieved it. He personally drove the car to 190 mph at the Turismos Visitadores, a Nevada open-road event, an unforgettable experience even for the former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner.
“It’s a special car. There was never anything else built like it,” Shelby said to a packed Barrett-Jackson audience when it first rolled across the Scottsdale stage in 2007.
The history behind the car is as singular as the performance of the Super Snake itself. (Not to be confused with the other Super Snake, the 427-powered 1967 GT500 that was built for speed runs and to test the concept of a 427 Shelby Mustang.)
Originally one of the handful of Competition Cobra Roadsters built, this car was initially shipped to Europe and invoiced to Ford Advanced Vehicles for a promotional tour. In late 1966 it was sent back stateside, after which it was given the twin Paxton surgery and reclassified as a Semi Competition Cobra, making it technically legal for street use.
Besides being Carroll Shelby’s personal car, the Super Snake ownership chain is unbroken and includes other heavy hitters. The car was purchased from Shelby in 1970 by songwriter Jimmy Webb, best known for “By the Time I get to Phoenix,” “Up, Up and Away” and “MacArthur Park.” The Super Snake then passed through the hands of a variety of serious collectors, most notably becoming part of the renowned Ron Pratte Collection, which sold over the Barrett-Jackson auction block in 2015.
1969 Ford Mustang Fender
Of course, few things flow together more seamlessly than hot rods and rock and roll.
That’s why, for the 2021 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, the Barrett-Jackson Builds team partnered with Fender Guitars to Resto-Mod two of the biggest icons of all time: the Fender Stratocaster and the Ford Mustang. The project began as somewhat of a celebration, as 2021 marks Fender’s 75th and Barrett-Jackson’s 50th anniversaries, two impressive milestones for both companies.
The Mustang was built by an elite team of craftsmen led by Barrett-Jackson shop foreman Jason Aker of “Fast N’ Loud” fame. Aker and the Builds team – including Tony Cano (also from “Fast N’ Loud”), Barrett-Jackson Vehicle Logistics Manager Jeff Catlin and mechanic Shawn McGee – worked closely with Ron Thorn and Fender VP Product Development Fender Custom Shop Mike Lewis to create a special Mustang ready to rock the moment the key is turned.
There’s no shortage of rock songs celebrating our favorite mechanical pastime, but the Fender Stratocaster’s connection with the automobile and links to hot-rod culture speaks for itself. Not only did Fender experiment with car paint in the early 1960s, but the ’69 Stratocaster sold in tandem with the Mustang was inspired by Fender’s Principal Master Builder Ron Thorn’s rock-driven, hot-rod-shop ethos. As chance would have it, Ron Thorn’s first car just so happened to be a 1969 Mustang, giving this project a personal touch.
With over 800 bespoke guitars to his name, Thorn set to work designing the ’69 Stratocaster in his signature blend of precision and soul. “Resto-Mod is the perfect term for this guitar,” Thorn said. “Although built from scratch, we took the core 1969 Stratocaster model and modified it with customizations and high-performance components – exactly what the Barrett-Jackson Builds team did to the car.”
Barn Find to Triple Crown Winner
A 1965 GT350, #5S553, from the personal collection of Barrett-Jackson CEO and Chairman Craig Jackson, is one of just 562 produced by Shelby-American, and the seventh from last build in the inaugural year of the Shelby Mustang program.
“As a serious collector of Shelbys, I can confidently say that this car is the best 1965 Shelby GT350 on the planet,” said Jackson. “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Originally built at Ford’s San Jose, California, assembly plant, the fastback Mustang would head south to Shelby American’s LAX headquarters. There, the Mustang would be transformed into performance car legend, or, as Car and Driver put it in their May 1965 issue, “The nearest thing to a real racing car that one is likely to find on public roads.”
This GT350 saw public relations duty before being sent to a Ford dealer in Huntington Beach, California. It would later be purchased and taken to a small town in Southern Texas. There, owned by two brothers, it remained until the summer of 2016, when it was rediscovered sitting in a barn.
The restoration began with assistance from Barrett-Jackson shop foreman and Mustang specialist Jason Aker. With oversight from Barrett-Jackson Vehicle Logistics Manager Jeff Catlin, Aker and Brown would set to work, intent on perfection and documenting every step of disassembly with high-resolution digital photographs to ensure authenticity.
“Our goal at the time of restoration was to spare no expense whatsoever and make 5S553 the finest restored example of the breed anywhere,” Jackson said. The goal was also to dominate SAAC Division One competition in search of three “perfect” scores, making the car a “triple-crown” winner in the Shelby world.