Chassis Number: CSX 2075
Carroll Shelby, the creator of the Cobra, was a racer through and through. He knew and understood the sport of motor racing and what it took to create a competitive stead. As he writes in his book, The Cobra Story ‘Racing automobiles is just about the most expensive sport you can fool with, after polo ponies. So there’s no use kidding oneself about that.’
Shelby and his team were a formidable force in American motorsport in the 1960s. He conceived the Cobra from the inspired combination of a British-made AC tubular chassis – made available by the untimely demise of the Bristol Aeroplane Company – and V8 Ford American engine, resulting in this fearsome and mighty machine of sixties American dreams. The Cobra proved to be particularly adept at quarter mile drag racing and Shelby soon started to offer his Dragon Snake Cobras, pre-fitted with a special drag racing pack for the job.
This Cobra, CSX 2075, is believed to be one of just three Cobras independently built to Dragon Snake specification. To put this in context, only eight factory-built Dragon Snake variants were made, making a period-produced Dragon Snake a rare thing indeed. The Cobra’s first owner was Chet McFallo of Oregon and it was Chet who made the drag conversion.
Future owner, Gary Kadmas of Portland, has written considerably about his relationship with CSX 2075, which he first encountered as a schoolboy. ‘Chet brought the Cobra up to the starting line and then took off. The force of the Cobra pushed me back into the seat. After Chet shifted to second gear, I had trouble breathing. The velocity of the air coming over the top of the car was hitting me in the face so hard, it was making it difficult for me to breathe. Chet looked over at me and he laughed….after having the ride of my life in the fastest car in the world, all I could ever think about were Cobras. While most of my friends in school were playing basketball and football, I was in the library, reading car magazines and looking to see if I could find anything about racing Cobras. In 1974, I bought that same Cobra I rode back in 1965. My dream had come true!’
CSX 2075 started its drag racing career in the SCCA B/Sports-Production class, quickly gaining its Gurney Eagle 289 V8 engine and hence graduating to Class C/Altered. It is said to have broken unofficial records in this guise. After amassing a long period history in SCCA competition on the West Coast, the Cobra was subsequently acquired by Jim Kirby in 1971 and was converted back to street specification. After another change of hands, it ended up with Gary Kadmas of Portland, Oregon who had fallen in love with the car as a boy. Kadmas carried out a full restoration and returned CSX 2075 to its original black paintwork, fitted it with dual Holley four-barrel carburetors and added a Hurst shifter. The Cobra then found its way back to the dealership, ‘Shelby American’ and was acquired directly from there by the previous owner.
The paintwork from Kadmas’s 1970s restoration remains, now gloriously patinated and in keeping with the Cobra’s original interior. The dashboard contains correct Stewart-Warner gauges, and bears Carroll Shelby’s legendary signature. With an unbroken ownership history from new and a full complement of serial numbers, this is a rare, hugely evocative ‘time capsule’ Cobra. Its period competition success, documented through some wonderful photography within the car’s history file, make it the perfect Cobra.