It's one of just three built, and it's heading to auction next week.

Think the new Dodge Demon is an impressive quarter-mile machine? Then you probably don’t know the history behind one of the world’s most prolific drag racers, this 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra "Dragonsnake." It’s one of just three independent V8 Cobra Dragonsnakes, and this particular example is heading to auction later in the month.

The project was headed by a group of Shelby employees, and saw just 23 modifications made to the chassis and suspension of the standard Shelby. The most important of which came under the hood – a new 289 Ford V8 was fitted developing around 380 horsepower (283 kilowatts) when new. A more powerful 427 Dragonsnake was built later in life, but saw just one example produced. 

1963 Shelby Cobra Dragonsnake Auction


This particular Dragonsnake is one of just three known independently prepared examples aside from the four prepared by the factory. It was developed by Jim Costilow and Bruce Larson, and came with new features like updated rear fender flares, American Racing wheels, drag slicks, a chrome roll bar, and a Sun tachometer. This one was good for 325 hp (242 kW) when new, and tipped the scales at just 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms).

In 1965, it would take home NHRA wins at Pomona, California Winternationals, the Bristol, Tennessee Springnationals, and the U.S. Nationals. The car was sold a year later to Ed Hedrick of Philadelphia, who would continue the Cobra’s winning legacy, taking home gold at all National-level races entered that year.

1963 Shelby Cobra Dragonsnake Auction
1963 Shelby Cobra Dragonsnake Auction

The car continued to race through 1967 before being retired. Now it’s heading up to auction as part of the Worldwide Auctioneers Texas Classic Auction taking place on April 22, 2017. Apart from its polarizing Fuchsia Metallic paint job – which is completely original – it wears the original chassis number CSX 2093, and estimates suggest it could go for anywhere between $1.1- to $1.3-million when it crosses the block.

Source: Worldwide Auctioneers

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1963 Shelby Cobra Dragonsnake Auction