The only Dragonsnake Cobra equipped at the factory with the Stage III quadruple-Weber carburetion system, this 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra, CSX2427, was ordered new by Don Reimer of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, who—with his younger brother Mike—took delivery of the car from Adams County Motors Corporation. Invoiced to that Gettysburg Ford dealer on August 3, 1964 at $8,695 plus a $305 freight charge for a total of $9,000, the car arrived wearing special-order yellow paint to match the color of the Reimer brothers’ Thunderbird tow vehicle.
After a few shakedown runs at a local airfield, the Reimer brothers began racing at the now legendary York U.S. 30 Drag-O-Way, with Mike at the controls and Don managing the team, competing in both A/Modified and AA/Modified Production racing with great success, as well as running at the Indianapolis Nationals that year. It was a serious effort, involving a small crew with matching yellow uniforms and a sharp aluminum car hauler complete with Cobra signage.
But at the end of the season, Mike decided to return to school the following year and his father decided the car had to be sold. Even the ad placed in the December 1965 issue of “Car and Driver” magazine had a professional ring to it, reading: “SELL – 1965 Cobra – built by Shelby American especially for drags, complete with special suspension system, drag shocks, modified springs, dyno tuned headers, mag wheels, chrome roll bar, Hurst shifter, M&H Racemaster slicks, 4.56 rear. $4650.00 firm. Also will sell many extras: mag wheel and tire, new clutch and pressure plate, aluminum oil pan, Webers including many jets, trailer. Reason for selling, son returned to college.”
It is not known if the second owner, Doug Casey of Chesterton, Indiana, continued to race CSX2427, but its third owner, Dodge Olmstead of Arlington, Virginia, purchased it on July 14, 1966 and modified the car for road racing, competing in several SCCA events. Olmstead rebuilt the car after apparently crashing it in 1967 and repainted it Candy Apple Red. Harold Hammond of Ohio bought CSX2427 in May 1969 and later sold it to Howard Heath of Columbus, Ohio; at that time the car was painted yellow again, had spline-drive wire wheels and a narrow-flare left front fender from an early Cobra that was likely installed by Olmstead while he rebuilt it.
After moving to Canada, Heath repainted the car Silver. Peter Klutte of the Shelby Shop (later renamed Legendary Motor Cars) near Toronto, Ontario, purchased CSX2427 in 1988 after learning of it at a car show. After showing the bare body and chassis at SAAC 18 at Watkins, Glen, New York, in July 1993, Klutte brought the completed Cobra to SAAC 20 in Atlanta, Georgia, in July 1995, where it appeared in yellow with a black interior. In addition to sporting 5-spoke American Racing wheels, a hood scoop and a chromed roll bar, the car’s rear wheel wells were shorn of their sides in correct Dragonsnake form. CSX2427 was awarded Silver in the Cobra Concours class at SAAC 20, after which Legendary Motor Cars advertised it for sale with this description: “One of two factory 289 Dragonsnake Cobras built [sic]. Custom ordered yellow in color… 3,596 original miles, complete documented history since new…Factory stage III with Webers…NHRA and SCCA race history…Perhaps the finest, rarest Cobra in the world.”
Offered by Legendary in tandem with a Ford Thunderbolt, CSX2427 was purchased in 1996 by Prova International in Raleigh, North Carolina, who sold it to Richard Scaife of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was sold at auction in January 2001 for $190,000 to Harry Yeagey of Ohio, who traded it to Rich Mason of Carson City, Nevada, in April 2004. Mason converted CSX2427 back to road racing configuration and ran it on the vintage racing circuit until selling it to Steven Juliano in February 2007.
Juliano mounted his typical concours-level restoration on the way to returning it to its original Dragonsnake configuration, during which he consulted with its original driver, Mike Reimer, to assure maximum authenticity. The completed CSX2427 was displayed in Steven Juliano’s private museum in San Clemente, California. It was rewarded with a Premiere Award at SAAC 34 in August 2009 in Wampum, Pennsylvania, with the highest points score in SAAC judging history to that point, an accomplishment that reflects the late Juliano’s passion for great automobiles. In addition to that honor, this unique Dragonsnake Cobra has appeared in several publications and was featured in the Ford tent at the 2012 Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca.
This unique piece of Shelby Cobra history will cross the block at Mecum Auction’s Jan. 6-16, Kissimmee sale. For more information visit www.mecum.com