My Car Quest

December 11, 2018

How I Acquired AC Cobra 427 CSX 3129

One of our readers shares how he acquired and sold a real AC Shelby Cobra…

Text and photos by Bob Wachtel –

In 1964 I was living in Brooklyn, N.Y. working as a plumber when the Mustang first became available. I decided to wait until the 1965 fastback came out and then ordered one with the 289 cubic inch, 271 horsepower “K” code high performance engine and 4 speed transmission, in “Caspian Blue”, with a black interior and “Redline” tires.

1965 Ford Mustang

1965 Ford Mustang

I waited an entire year for it to arrive. I thoroughly enjoyed this car. It was extremely fast and I felt it’s horsepower rating was greatly underrated for it beat most Corvettes with much more horsepower. It also looked great.

1965 Ford Mustang

1965 Ford Mustang

After having the Mustang for roughly four years I fell in love with the Ford GT40 mid-engine exotic sports coupe. However, at this time I knew I certainly couldn’t afford to buy one. I was 28 years old at the time and I decided to build a kit car replica for a fraction of the cost of a real GT40.

In order to buy a kit I had to come up with some money and the necessary mechanical parts to complete it. Therefore I decided to sell the Mustang and pick up an inexpensive car to get around with while I worked on my project. I promptly sold the Mustang and then went with my buddy Tommy Kapatelis to a Fiberfab distributor called EDP Enterprises run by Eno DePasquale in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Valkyrie Kit Car

Valkyrie Kit Car

Tommy was as crazy as I was about the Ford GT40 and we ordered two complete “Valkyrie” kits from Eno. Each kit came with a rectangular steel ladder frame set up for either a Chevrolet or a Ford V8 and it came with black carpeting and black vinyl material for the seats.

It took a month or so until both kits arrived in Brooklyn. Tommy’s kit was delivered to his auto repair shop and mine was delivered to my Dad’s plumbing & heating shop where I was employed. The fiberglass body was very rough and smelled awful. I had all the body components stored in the back yard of the shop to cure properly and to allow the odor to go away. Those components laid out there for over a year exposed to the elements while I concentrated on the frame and gathering all the necessary items to make a running chassis.

Valkyrie Kit Car

Valkyrie Kit Car

At this time, another friend of mine by the name of Bobby “Mush” Filan (may he rest in peace) offered his assistance to me to work on the project. We located a high performance 289 cubic inch Ford V8 “K” engine just like I had in the Mustang. I then got all the suspension, front crossmember, brake components, transaxle and windshield glass from a low milage 1968 Corvair that was located in a wrecking yard nearby.

This donor car was a very clean Corvair that was a stolen car purchased by the wrecking yard from the insurance company of the original owner. After a year the chassis and frame were ready for the body to be installed. Once this was done, “Mush”, an electrician for the N.Y. Transit Authority, did all the wiring to the car. The car was taken outdoors to the back yard and then I contracted twin brothers who worked at a local body and fender shop to prepare the car for painting.

The brothers worked on the car in the late afternoon after their day jobs. It took a whole month just to prepare the body for paint. The fiberglass was very rough and of uneven thickness with many pin holes in it that had to be attended to. When they were through with all the preparation of the body I then drove the Valkyrie to the collision shop where they worked and contracted with their boss to have it painted “Sebring Silver” which was a Corvette color option when the 1963-1967 Stingrays were produced.

The paint job came out beautiful and I was told to wait a full month before bringing it back to the body shop to have them rub it down with compound, which I did. I was also told to use mild liquid soap and water to wash the car with and nothing more. The body shop just wanted all the metallic pigments in the paint to settle and for the paint to fully cure.

Valkyrie Kit Car

Bob Wachtel, the Valkyrie Kit Car and the Trophy

I then got the car properly registered at the DMV which is quite a story in itself, especially to all of you who have attempted to build a kit car such as this. I had to produce all the receipts I had for the kit and all the components along with filling out a form called “Affidavit of an assembled vehicle”. After a police garage checked out my car for any stolen parts, I then got a temporary registration sticker to place in my rear window.

The more I drove the Valkyrie, the more I was able to fine tune it and correct any faults with it such as improving the cooling system by placing a Jaguar XKE radiator at a 45 degree angle with a set of two cooling fans attached up front and then running 1 1/2” ID copper tubing from the front of the car to its mid engine. The heat was intense on the back of my seat because of the close proximity to the engine.

Therefore I fabricated asbestos boards covered in black vinyl behind each seat and installed two marine bilge room blowers, one on either side of the engine compartment. This was a very effective solution.

I had the car running great for about two years while constantly improving upon it and making it quite reliable. At this time I entered the car in the annual automobile show which was then being held at the New York Colosseum. It was entered into the hand built class.

Also on display was the Fiberfab distributor’s own personal Valkyrie which he built. This car was beautifully made with a Chevrolet 427 engine but was not driven much except to various auto shows to advertise his kits to potential buyers.

AC Shelby Cobra 427 CSX 3129

At this time there was a very clean 1966 427 AC Shelby Cobra roadster on display, which for sale by Larsen Ford for an asking price of $6,200.

AC Shelby Cobra 427 CSX 3129

AC Shelby Cobra 427 CSX 3129

It was “British Racing Green” and had saddle leather seats which was unusual. It was chasis number CSX3129 and I fell in love with it. A Bill Kolb Sr. was selling for Larsen Ford and I proceeded to take down all the necessary contact information from him in case I needed to reach him. I then proceeded to fabricate a “FOR SALE” sign and placed it on the windshield of the Valkyrie.

AC Shelby Cobra 427 CSX 3129

AC Shelby Cobra 427 CSX 3129

In attendance at the show was a wealthy man and his son from West Orange, NJ who had specifically came there to see and probably purchase the distributor’s turnkey Valkyrie on display. They also came across my car and decided they’d save a lot of money and get a more roadworthy vehicle for the boy’s first car by possibly buying my car instead. I went home that night with a large trophy for winning the hand built class and a dream of possibly owning a 427 Cobra.

In one week my Valkyrie was delivered and sold to the man and his son for $5900. As soon as I could I then contacted the seller of the Cobra which hadn’t been sold. I drove out to White Plains, NY with Tommy, where Bill Kolb Sr. lived and where the Cobra was presently garaged and bought the Cobra for $5,800.

What a thrill to drive the Cobra back to Brooklyn. It was like a powerful motorcycle on four wheels. I kept CSX3129 for two years and sold it before the prices on these machines went thru the roof. To think that if I only held onto the Cobra for twelve years instead of two I might have sold it for $500,000-$750,000.

Anyhow, years later I built a Contemporary Classic 427 Cobra roadster replica with a high performance Ford 351 Cleveland V-8 engine which I kept for twelve years and put about 65,000 miles on it. I installed an Amco luggage rack on the deck lid and took the car to many bed and breakfast inns all over the mid-Atlantic and New England areas with my wife.

Cobra Replica

Cobra Replica

Cobra Replica

Cobra Replica

Cobra Replica

Cobra Replica

In the photos of the genuine CSX3129 there is no hood scoop or side exhaust pipes for this was their street version even though it had about 425-450 horsepower. The replica I built had the hood scoop and the side exhaust with stainless steel exhaust stack shields to prevent one from burning one’s legs. The photos show both Cobras along with the Valkyrie and the 1965 Mustang.

Cobra Replica

Cobra Replica

Cobra Replica

Barbara Wachtel and the Cobra Replica

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 

 

It makes sense that Bob Wachtel now drives a Dodge Viper, shown below.

Dodge Viper

Dodge Viper

Dodge Viper

Dodge Viper

Summary
How I Acquired AC Cobra 427 CSX 3129
Article Name
How I Acquired AC Cobra 427 CSX 3129
Description
How one man bought a new 1965 Mustang, sold it and bought a Valkyrie GT40 kit car and then a real AC Shelby Cobra and then a Cobra replica.
Author

Comments

  1. Anthony Moody says:

    I love these car stories, and have great admiration for what Bob Wachtel achieved. Though there have always been car collectors, in this era of the sixties’ there was a certain purity in the passion with which collectors pursued their dream. In my case, as a family man living in England, I thought the dream was met when I purchased a Jaguar 3.4 Mark II saloon, later to find that on the road at speed it was outclassed in braking, steering, and handling by a very innocuous-looking Alfa Guilia TI Super which replaced it.

  2. William Anderson says:

    I wish I still owned my: 1965 Buick LeSabre hardtop Custom Sport Coupe, 1963 Pontiac Tempest Rally 326 wagon, 1965 Triumph Cub, 1979 Triumph Bonneville, 1983 Triumph TSS, 1988 BMW M3. (Sigh). I live in White Plains and interestingly, I interviewed with Bill Kolb Jr. for a Sales position at his Rockland County Subaru store. On the subject of vintage vehicles, it’s cool to find an interesting old car or motorcycle right in your own neighborhood. Right down the street from me there is a 1930 Oldsmobile languishing in a garage; and in town there is a 1968 FIAT 130 3200 waiting for mechanical rebuild! Kind of makes you wonder what other hidden treasures might be waiting to be discovered just around the block!

Speak Your Mind

*

Find us on Google+