With Carroll Shelby’s passing from this Earthly realm, a long and exciting history of American automobiles came to an end. But Shelby’s legacy will live on for a long time thanks to a dedicated cult of collectors who will spend ridiculous sums of money to buy and restore these rare and valuable automobiles. But even among Shelby’s, there are cars that are so rare and desirable that their mere existence is the stuff of legend.
Take for example the 1965 Shelby Cobra Dragonsnake, a purpose-built drag racing machine. Just seven or eight of these drag strip Dragonsnakes were built, two of them with a Stage III-D competition package. Motor Authority reports that one of these two extremely rare Shelbys has been uncovered, and is currently undergoing a very thorough restoration.
Yet the collector who purchased the Dragonsnake thought it was actually one of the five or six built with a “standard” 289 V8 engine. All Dragonsnakes received 4:54 gears, heavy duty half-shafts, and an NHRA roll bar. Coming in at $8,990 back in 1965, these cars were incredibly costly, and incredibly fast…especially when equipped with the Stage III-D competition package. It was only when restoration began that the collector and his crew realized that their car, chassis number CSX 2416, was something even more special.
Shelby offered the ‘65 Dragonsnake in Stage I, II, and III, the primary difference being the carburetor setup. Stage I had a single 4-barrel carb and was rated at 271 horsepower. Stage II added another 4-barrel carburetor, bumping power to 300 ponies. Stage III, which this particular Shelby is, had four Italian Weber two-barrel carbs, making a total of 325 horsepower.
At auction, the Shelby Dragonsnakes regularly draw over $500,000. This one-of-two Dragonsnake could draw even more than that, once fully restored. We think it is about time Shelby bring the Dragonsnake back to its lineup, don’t you think?