This Incredible Shelby 289 Competition Cobra Is For Sale

What you’re currently salivating over is a Shelby 289 Competition Cobra that’s crossing the auction block at RM’s London auction; and by a wide margin, it’s much better than the Hot Wheels version you had as a kid.

In and of itself, the Shelby Cobra needs no introduction, as the undeniably legendary combination of American muscle and a British racing chassis was a force to be reckoned with, and helped to ignite the Ford-Ferrari war that raged through the end of the 1960s.

This is no ordinary Cobra, though. It’s a properly prepped and well-sorted race car that, back in its day, raced all over North America. At one point it became the last Cobra that Carroll Shelby actually raced wheel-to-wheel. Pedigree does not climb much higher than that.

Under the hood lies a Ford 289 that’s been tuned to around 400 hp. It’s significantly lighter than a 427, and with all sorts of tweaks to the suspension and drivetrain performed by Shelby’s guys, this one will go around most American tracks faster than most 427s, too.

50 years later, it’s still capable of producing one of motoring’s greatest sounds…though you do have to take care not to burn your leg on one of the all-time great exhaust designs.

There’s something to be said for the utter simplicity of the dash. The only gauges installed are absolutely vital for monitoring the car’s well-being during a race. Nirvana can be achieved in this cockpit.

Unlike so many other cars with, ahem, knockoff knockoffs, these are legit, hit-‘em-with-a-hammer-to-change-your-tires-during-a-race wheels.

The best cars stir passion that spans generations. They force themselves into the hearts of children in their formative years, and they rise above the corroded fate that falls upon the anonymous hordes of utilitarian vehicles. This is one of those cars.

Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. His very first Hot Wheels was a Guardsman Blue 427 Cobra.