Want to learn how to drive a manual transmission? We suggest starting on something cheap and low-powered, just so you can get used to how a manual gearbox operates without being overwhelmed. Jazz icon Herbie Hancock did the opposite, electing to learn stick on one of the most powerful, capable cars of the 1960s: A Shelby Cobra.

Hancock's career began to take off in the early 1960s, and instead of buying a station wagon to haul his band around on tour, a friend convinced him to take his first big paycheck to a dealer in New York to buy an original Cobra. According to Hagerty's Tom Cotter, Hancock would take the car out at the end of each day just to learn the clutch and get the car moving, until he felt comfortable enough to start driving it.

The Jazz musician would go on to drive the Cobra daily for years, using it to get all over New York for gigs and for longer trips to places like Chicago and Boston. Cotter recounts a story Hancock told him about drag-racing the Cobra against another Jazz superstar and gearhead, Miles Davis, in his Ferrari around the streets of Manhattan at 3 AM. Davis advised Hancock he should sell the car before it killed him, but he never did.

Hancock, now in his mid-80s, still owns the very Cobra you see here. According to Cotter, that makes him the longest original owner of a Shelby Cobra in the world.

The car itself, chassis CSX2006, is the sixth Shelby Cobra ever built. Being so early in the Cobra's production run, it wasn't actually built by Carroll Shelby, but rather Shelby's friend Ed Hughes, who built a number of the early Cobras in his shop in Pittsburgh before Carroll even had a shop to build his cars. 

And unlike most early Cobras, this one has retained its original 260 cubic-inch V-8, thought to be a leftover block from Ford's Falcon Safari campaign. It also has a few other quirky one-off parts, like a custom radiator and a dual-barrel carburetor. This car is unrestored, with only the wiring and other minor parts replaced. Mileage? About 130,000, according to Hancock's mechanic. A car well-driven, we'd say.

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