The owner couldn't find buyers for these cars decades ago
Gooding and Co.'s Amelia Island auction had a number of Shelby Cobras on offer over the weekend and more than a few Ferraris to choose from, but two of the most talked-about cars in the run-up to the auction were a pair that had been sitting in a South Carolina garage together, out of sight for decades.
The 1967 Shelby Cobra and a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose Alloy emerged from a garage where they had been together since 1991. The rare alloy-bodied, long-nose 275 GTB, chassis 08125, was originally sold new in Milan, but it later made its way to the States.
"According to a report by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, the 275 was sold new in 1966 by M. Gastone Crepaldi S.A.S., the official dealer in Milan, to local resident Giorgio Pivetti," Gooding and Co. said. "After a few years, the GTB was exported to the U.S., like many Ferraris delivered new in Italy, and by 1975, it was owned by John Champney of Melrose, Massachusetts. New Jersey-based Ferrari enthusiast and dealer Marc Tauber recently recalled to a Gooding & Co. specialist that, in July 1981, he saw Mr. Champney’s ad for the 275 in The New York Times and promptly flew to Massachusetts and purchased the car. Later that year, Mr. Tauber sold the Ferrari to Dan Rischenole of Rochester, New York."
According to the auction house, the Ferrari was purchased by the seller who used it sparingly before parking it in 1991 after his trusted mechanic passed away. Sitting next to the Ferrari was another prized car that he enjoyed: a 1967 Shelby Cobra.
Finished in Rangoon red over a black interior, this Shelby Cobra, chassis CSX 3278, was originally supplied to Tasca Ford of East Providence, Rhode Island, in June 1966. Featuring a 428-cid engine and circular taillights, this car came into the seller's possession sometime in the early 1980s, accumulating a total of about 17,000 miles until it was parked alongside the Ferrari in 1991. At the time, the consignor tried to sell both cars, asking $425,000 for the Cobra, but ultimately could not find a buyer for either and decided to keep both.
"This 427 retains many features that are often lost to time or restoration," Gooding & Co. said in the lot listing. "These include the remains of the warning sticker on the speedometer, its Beclawat windshield badge and its fuse-box covers. The chassis number is hand etched on its Shelby American foot-box tag and remains on the hood and trunk latches and the transmission tunnel, signaling that this example has remained undisturbed."
"Other details include its Serck radiator tag and correct 7.5-inch Sunburst wheels on Goodyear Wingfoot tires. The Cobra’s engine casting code of C6ME-A and date code of 6A15 correctly correspond to a 428-cid engine from this period. Recently, a vintage sports car specialist was able to get the car running, but given its years in static storage, it will require further mechanical attention before any road use. The Cobra is accompanied by its Chassis Instruction Manual and top bows."
Both cars were featured earlier this year in an episode of "The Barn Find Hunter," starring Tom Cotter.
Even though the seller could not find homes for the two cars back in 1991, he certainly found buyers for the two cars over the weekend at Gooding & Co.'s Amelia Island auction. The Shelby Cobra was estimated to bring between $1 million and $1.3 million, and it ended up selling for $1,045,000. The Ferrari, meanwhile, was estimated to fetch between $2,500,000 and $3,250,000 on auction day, but it ended up trading hands for $2,530,000.
Both cars landed toward the bottom of their estimate ranges, but the prices paid here are realistic for cars that could use a major cleanup. These are not quite barn finds, per se -- they were simply in the seller's garage this whole time with the seller being aware of their existence -- but the low mileage and the rarity of the cars appeared to help them escape the "simply neglected" label.