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THE ULTIMATE "BARN FIND"
Promotion car for Ford in Honolulu, Hawaii
Extensive service records since 1965
289 V8 Engine with 4-speed manual transmission
The idea of removing weight and adding more power has been around for decades for racers, squeezing any last performance out of their car as possible. Carroll Shelby took this to heart with his street car and created an American icon and masterpiece that the world now knows as the Shelby Cobra. A lightweight, hand formed aluminum body mated to a powerful Ford engine yielded a power to weight ratio that approached race car territory and most importantly, was street legal. The cars were an instant hit, receiving rave reviews about its performance and handling, thus cementing the Cobra into Americana automobile history.
This 1964 Shelby Cobra is one of AC Cars’ second-generation Mark II’s produced from 1963 to 1965. The Ford 289 was new to the Cobra for 1964, and before the introduction of the 427 the 289 was the standard bearer for Cobra in America. The Shelby 289 Cobra dominated the USRRC with only one loss in three years of racing.
Billed to Shelby American on 6/25/63, CSX 2150 was shipped to N.Y. on July 3rd, 1963 aboard the SS American Challenger. The 289 Cobra later arrived at Shelby America to the Special Promotion Department with an off-white exterior color, and red interior. The Cobra was fitted with a chrome air cleaner, aluminum rocker covers, chrome hood latches, front grille guard, rear bumper, chrome exhaust tips, wind wings, sun visors, heater, seat belts, luggage rack, and white sidewall tires. The total price was $5182, and the car was sent to Hawaii in September 16th, 1963 to be used as promotional vehicle to the Honolulu Ford Dealership. In June of 1964, CSX 2150 would return to Shelby America and be fitted with a new softop, front bumper, guards, and new carpet. It was then sold to Beverly Hills Sports Cars in March of 1965, who then passed it to Coventry Motors, in Walnuts Creek, CA.
David Halstead was an electrical engineer who lived in Danville, CA and worked in San Jose, CA. A true car enthusiast, his family recalls Mr. Halstead being a fan of racing and motorsports. In 1965, Mr. Halstead owned an Austin Healey that used as a daily driver. With the amazing California weather, a convertible was the right choice to enjoy the 1-hour drive from his house. During this same year, Mr. Halstead wanted to change his Austin for something else. He went to test drive a Corvette, and XK-E before making his decision on something else. Mr. Halstead headed to Coventry Motors in Walnut Creek, where they had advertised a Shelby Cobra for sale. It was then that Mr. Halstead learned about CSX 2150 being a promo car in Hawaii and it was now available. Mr. Halstead traded his Austin Healey plus some cash for his new to him Shelby Cobra.
During the first year of ownership, Mr. Halstead stated that the cobra needed some work, including a repair to stop the rattling in the muffler. Mr. Halstead took the car back to the dealership, where they would send out the car for repair. Due to the amount of work needed, the Cobra stayed overnight at this shop, where it would disappear during that event. After filing a police report, the Shelby was found on the side of the freeway just a few miles from the shop. Later on, it was reported that one of the employees from this shop had taken the car out in a joy ride, but did not know how to change gears, therefore over revving the engine and damaging it along with the clutch and transmission. Mr. Halstead sued Coventry Motors and won the lawsuit, where they replaced the engine and transmission with a new 289 engine provided by Shelby America.
Over the next 20 years, Mr. Halstead would use his cobra as a daily driver, where he kept his own maintenance and swore to never leave a car overnight at a shop. He would write down his mileage each time he would get gas and kept these records for the next two decades. In the 1970s, Mr. Halstead move his family to New Mexico, the family recalls loading the Cobra in the moving van as it was so light. During their time in New Mexico, Mr. Halstead decided to paint his Cobra from white to green, as it was easier to spot during the snowing days. In 1976, the family moved back to San Jose, CA.
Having driven his Cobra over 100,000 miles, Mr. Halstead would attend different car shows, but never raced his Cobra. His children recall using the car to attend weddings, and family gatherings. In the 90s, Mr. Halstead would stop driving this Cobra as a daily driver, and only drove it over the weekends. He would show the car and give rides to his family and friends. The car would also participate in gatherings and shows with the Nor Cal Shelby Cobra Club. In 1997, Mr. Halstead and his son drove down to Monterey, CA for the Monterey Historic Auto Races, where they got to do a few parade laps around Laguna Seca.
Over the past 20 years, Mr. Halstead was astonished at the attention and prices in which Cobras were heading. He mentioned doing a restoration to the car in the next few years to come, but it was never done. Mr. Halstead would allow his 16-year old grandchild to take the Cobra on a joy ride. After his passing, the family decided to pass down the car, and reach out to Bruce Canepa to help with the sale of CSX 2150.
A car that remains with a family since new carries a significant amount of provenance and naturally lots of memories. Overflowing with character, and the patina only adds to the story, and with a refreshed mechanical inspection, this Shelby Cobra presents a unique opportunity for its next caretaker to write a new chapter.