Bronze Beauty: 1965 Shelby Cobra 427

Cars are traditionally formed from steel. Of course, fiberglass, aluminum, composites, and carbon fiber have made appearances too. So how about bronze? You know, that heavy dense, copper-based metal that is more suited to a P.J. Mene sculpture than a fender. Well, thanks to barn finder Montana, today we have not only a bronze automobile to review, but a bronze, 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 to boot! It’s located in New York, NY and is available, here on RM Southeby’s for $475,000.

OK, so the price tells you something is up. Forget the bronze body business, a real 1965 S/C 427 is going to trade well north of $475K. This Shelby is a member of Shelby’s “continuation series”, an authorized Cobra that even gets its own Carroll Shelby Enterprises chassis number, in this case, CSX 4600. The continuation series Cobras are generally available in either steel or aluminum bodies. But in this case, Provo, Utah’s Kirkham Motorsports has constructed a Cobra body in highly polished, unfinished bronze. Of note, Kirkham’s bodies actually originate from Poland.

The appearance of this Cobra is immediately attention-getting, almost alarming, sort of like returning to your Miami Beach hotel room and finding a dead body covered entirely in gold paint. It’s just peculiar-looking! No doubt, the craftsmanship is brilliant. Interestingly, the racing stripes are “brushed” into the bronze finish as opposed to being painted or composed of tape. To maintain an air of originality, Halibrand knock-off wheels are found on all four corners. Kirkham will also form a Cobra from copper (a copper Cobra?) if a prospective buyer so desires – I wonder if those turn green with weather exposure?

Power is provided by an FE architecture, all-aluminum, 427 CI V8 engine that has been stroked to 511 CI. Incorporating eight Borla induction units, this fuel-injected monster of a motor develops 650 HP. Power to the 3.54:1 rear differential happens via a five-speed manual gearbox. There is no reference to how this Cobra performs but it’s easy to imagine that it is over the top!

The interior is typical Cobra minimalist fare. It is a beautifully clean functional environment that is all business. Not only are the seats tailored in black leather, so is the dash. Parked beneath the dashboard is what I initially thought was a fire extinguisher but it’s actually the bottle for the fire suppression system.

Having never encountered an automobile body crafted in bronze, makes me wonder how it will hold up. Thoughts abound around how to maintain it and, just as importantly, how do you repair it when the inevitable boo-boo occurs – will it have to be sent back to Poland? Now I guess that wouldn’t be an issue if the next owner of this most unique Shelby just squirrels it away in a collection or a museum. And that begs yet another question, what does the next owner do with this bronze bomber? My thought is if you can’t drive it and enjoy it, what’s the point, right?

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  1. alphasud Member

    I think it’s beautiful and a really cool twist to an already awesome car. I do think you might need to own part stake in the Brasso company and like to or hire someone to polish every time you take it out. Definitely a one of a kind show stopper.

    Like 17

    I would imagine that it has a good quality clear coat paint or even a clear powder coat to resist tarnishing. I would also have to have a polished aluminum and copper one to complete the set. Maybe I can get a package deal?

    Like 8
  3. Motorcityman Member

    I should have kept my Pontiac Solstice, was a poor mans Cobra, very similar body look…..I only had 54,000 miles on it, was a Red one loaded with ALL option packages, chrome wheels, in very good condition…paid $7,000 for it and sold it to a Honda dealer in Spartanburg SC 6 months after I bought it for $8500
    Was a manual with the 175hp 2.4 ecotec.
    If it had the 260hp 2.0 I would have kept it.

    Like 6
    • Charles Sawka


      Like 13
  4. 370zpp

    Bet this one ends up overseas.

    Like 2
  5. MCH

    The Kirkham story is remarkable… Google it.

    Like 5
  6. DRV

    It’s just wrong on so many levels! Maintenance, weight, durability, and not being a real Shelby make it so.

    Like 4
    • Stu

      All this extra weight the bronze shell has added will effect the cars proper designed specs…cornering…stopping….acceleration….etc will all be out of whack!

      Like 2
  7. Marc

    How about one in real gold???

    Like 5
    • Malcolm

      I’ve never heard of a gold Cobra, but as a promotion for their Gold Card, American Express teamed up with DeLorean to produce a 24 karet gold plated DeLorean. If I remember correctly, it added $60K to the price of a regular DeLorean and only 2 were produced.

      Like 5
      • Jim

        Saw that one in a museum

        Like 2
  8. Chas H

    Good Heavens! Bronze heavier than steel.

    Like 4
    • Motorcityman Member

      U know its not bronze metal don’t u?? The color is just called “bronze”. 😁

      Like 1
      • Raymond Smith

        “Provo, Utah’s Kirkham Motorsports has constructed a Cobra body in highly polished, unfinished bronze.”

        Like 8
      • Motorcityman Member

        Oh wow! It IS real bronze, my bad, that’s insane!

        Like 6
      • MIke

        And the stripes are finished into the metal, not painted on.

        Like 1

    Begs the question, why oh why? More money than brains I guess.

    Like 3
  10. Steveo

    Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

    Like 10
  11. Jcs

    I think it’s awesome. Those Borla EFI induction stacks are the business! Seriously badass.

    Like 10
  12. Patrick S Patrick S Staff

    Here’s another from Kirkham. I think Larry also had a copper one too.

    Like 3
  13. angliagt angliagt Member

    I still can’t believe that DMV would let you register
    this as a 1965.

    Like 2
  14. smokeymotors

    I remember that the original aluminium bodies after racing, would dent from the inside of the wheel house out, making the quarter panel look like golf ball size bumps any inner houses on these? wonder if bronze would dent or break?

  15. Cobra Steve

    Leave the body untreated and let it sit outside in a damp environment. You will eventually have a green Cobra!

    Like 4
    • D.C.

      Us country club gentry like to refer to it as a “patina.” Oh, and will you please pass the Grey Poupon?”

      Like 1
  16. Cobra Steve

    I would imagine the bronze might transfer the heat to the cabin in the same manner the original aluminum-bodied Cobras did…which literally would melt one’s sneakers to the floor! Could also provide better grounding for electrics than steel but not as good as aluminum…definitely better than a fiberglass-bodied replica.

    I would not want to be following this car too close if it was eastbound in the late afternoon…or the same in the morning if the Cobra was westbound. One can only imagine the sun’s reflection!

    Like 4
  17. Wayne

    What are the “bronze” pipes above the chrome side pipes? I keep coming up with RX3 exhaust systems in my brain.

    Like 1
    • Mike

      REFLECTION…..look closely, it’s the backside of the side pipes

      Like 2
  18. Howie Mueler

    I would rather have re-sale red.

  19. D.C.

    Or you could have just wrapped it in a shiny bronze color.

  20. SJ

    I remember reading an article in (I think) Machine Design magazine years ago that they digitized an original Cobra body to generate the CAD files to build the bodies in the Polish aircraft factory. They found that the left and right sides weren’t completely symmetrical and modified the CAD files before they built the tooling.

    Like 1
  21. Cobra Steve

    Replicas had the same issue. Molds taken from a car that had been previously repaired. I noticed that when I was taping the stripes on mine and noticed the hood scoop was not exactly centered when I painted her in 1991.

    Like 1
  22. douglas hunt

    says wonders for those polish craftsmen though

    Like 1
  23. Bobby Clyde

    The bronze may be a “wrap”. New wraps installed by a pro can trick the eye!

  24. Kevin

    I would love to just drive it once,heavy or not,that 650 hp big block will adjust some attitudes real freaking quick!

    Like 2
  25. Chuck

    I would love to see this power train in two other cars. 1) a ’64 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt, just for the strip, 2) a ’67 Ford Fairlane for the Woodward Cruise, and car shows! I just love those stacked headlights!!! And, yes, I DID cruise Woodward in the ’60’s. I just loved those days!!!

  26. George Bennett

    I watched this car sell at Barrett Jackson last year for around 175K. Not a bad profit for a 1 year investment if they can get it.

  27. Bellingham Fred

    The body is Polish and it requires polish.

    Like 2

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