Should This Low-Mileage CSX7000 Be Driven?

Posted April 27, 2021

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

We buy replicas because we can’t afford to drive the real thing right? But what do we do when our replicas start behaving like high-dollar classics, and we have to question whether they should be driven or preserved? On the surface this all sounds a bit pretentious, I know, but I think the secondhand market for high-dollar replicas and continuations is a developing one that hasn’t been discussed much yet. These cars are not being treated like standard kits and replicas on the market, and are instead behaving like regular classics, and are appreciating more quickly in some cases. For sake of argument, I present this 50th Anniversary Shelby CSX7000-series 289 FIA roadster with just 86 miles on the clock and an asking price of $289,000.

Just 50 of these 7000-series roadsters were offered in 2014 for the 50th anniversary of the FIA Cobra’s part in the 1964 World Manufacturers Championship, and this has to be one of the best ones built. To start, the original buyer sprung for the aluminum bodywork, which pushed the base price up from $94,995 to $159,995, and that’s just the start. The car is powered by a 500 hp 364 ci small-block with Weber carburetors, definitely a pricey upgrade, and a TREMEC five-speed manual. Then you’ve got the Viking Blue paint, with roundels and the FIA stripe, in addition to the correct FIA pin-drive wheels and Goodyear Eagle rubber. Long story short, I‘m sure the original buyer spent at least $200,000 on this car by the time it was all said and done.

So now we’re a few years down the line, and there have been other exclusive Shelbys to buy if you had money burning a hole in your pocket. But still this Cobra asks closer to $300,000, seven years and a mere 86 miles later. Sure, the dealer can ask whatever they want, but I think it’s pretty clear that this car hasn’t lost any money since it was new in 2014. And it’s not alone either, as we’ve watched other Cobras bring over $200,000 on, in addition to low-mileage Lynx Jaguars getting $375,000 and $480,000, proving that this isn’t just a CSX thing. All of which makes us question, are cars alternatives to million-dollar classics that we can own and (more importantly) drive, or should they be treated as investment-grade autos from day one.

I guess what it comes down to is why you buy cars in the first place. If you’re the type to focus on the dollar sign and odometer more than the tach and speedometer, then you should likely keep this one parked. It’s going to start losing value as the odometer reading increases and the nicks and scratches turn up. Being notoriously tight with money and a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I can’t argue with the approach, as I’ve been known to spend more time shining paint than out driving. Or maybe there's a secret formula there, like driving the car for 1,000 miles or less and selling for a profit years later, who's to say.

But there are others who can stomach writing off a portion of that investment in exchange for the exclusive squeaks, rattles and the unique sound a high-strung Ford makes at 7,000 rpm when it’s breathing through four Weber carburetors. If you’re in a position where the depreciation isn’t as important as feeling like Carroll Shelby, Bob Bondurant or Ken Miles every time you turn the key after a long workday, then I beg you, drive this car and drive it hard. Drive this car every chance you get, and 30 years from now (when this Shelby's a classic in its own right), a future owner may just wax poetically about you, the guy who once loved his precious Shelby — and drove the wheels off it too.

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Cobra Shelby American