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August 12, 2007

Herbie Hancock's Cobra

By Rob


Another cool article in this month’s issue of Road & Track is on Herbie Hancock and his 1963 Shelby Cobra CSX 2000. Turns out Herbie is the longest original Shelby Cobra owner (other than Carrol Shelby). He bought the Cobra at age 22 off the dealer showroom floor with his first song royalty check. The car was his daily driver until 1990 when he bought a new Ferrari. Today the car sits in storage, but Herbie will never sell it since "it represents my first success in life."

Herbie and Cobra


Ozgur TAN
Dec 5, 2008 at 8:02 am

chassis number of Hancock’s cobra is csx2006

Dick Stewart
Apr 17, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Are you sure that was the August, 2007 issue of Road & Track? I went through my copy from cover to cover and couldn’t find anything about it. I seem to have misplaced my September issue (I swear I had it in my hands a half hour ago!) so if that’s what you mean, I’ll have a look when I find it.
Meanwhile, believe it or not, I have seen and touched that car!
In 2003 I was doing a repave job on an LAUSD elementary school and stopped into the shop across the street. I got into a conversation with a mechanic, and he invited me to the Christmas party the local Shelby American Club Chapter was throwing there.
I showed up with my digital camera, and saw a early-looking white Cobra lurking shyly in the shadows in a garage behind a GT40 MK III. It had the early badge on the hood, a simple rectangular “Powered by Ford” badge on the flank, and wire wheels that looked like the Dunlops I remembered on my dad’s 1961 XK-E Roadster. They had a patina of rust over chrome on part of the hub. I took a couple of pix, along with the bunch I took of other cars there. See one at my flickr account at:
I had no idea what the car’s history was until I read about Herbie Hancock’s car (probably in that R&T article) but thought that would be too big a coincidence, so I didn’t check it out.
Until today. I was on a bike ride and rode by the school where I’d done that repave job. I turned up the street and found the shop, and two guys came out to talk to me. It was typical car guy talk until I was about to leave, and I thought about that Cobra. I asked if he remembered it.
He said, “yeah, it’s still back there.”
I asked if he knew whose it was, and he replied, “Yeah. It belongs to a famous jazz musician, Herbie Hancock.”
I just about fell off my bike!
We talked about it for a couple of minutes, and it turned out it wasn’t actually in the garage, but at (as they say) an “undisclosed location.” Apparently there’s a lot of curious “enthusiasts” who are always bugging him about his GT350, Cobra, and GT40 work, and I don’t blame him for keeping it secret. I’ll never tell!

Evan Norris
Aug 12, 2007 at 1:55 pm

That’s pretty cool. I often wonder how many other cars collectors have sitting off in the wings or in storage across this great nation.

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