Searching in the heart of North Carolina’s NASCAR country, automotive author and Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter ventures into a garage full of cars and is hit with a lightning bolt. Parked before him is a silver 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/2, covered in decades of dust and spider webs. The Italian Sleeping Beauty has only 13,000 miles on the clock and, Tom soon realizes, is one of only a handful that were built with an alloy body. It just can’t get any better than this, Tom reasons, and then—miraculously—along comes a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427.
The Ferrari, The Cobra, and The crickets in the garage
[by Tom Cotter // Hagerty, TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (January 24, 2018)] –The first thing I notice when I lift the garage door (likely the first time it had been opened in decades) was a rather pedestrian mid-1980s BMW 325ix. That and the crickets. The Bimmer is cool, but I was lured to this garage in North Carolina with a promise that several high-end enthusiast cars had been parked there and forgotten a long time ago.
Lacking any type of alarm system, the garage’s contents were hidden for more than a quarter-century. Crickets alone were there to stand sentry. There are hundreds of them, hopping from the wall to the floor and back again.
As my eyes adjust to the darkness…could it be? The silhouette in front of me could only be a Ferrari. A proper front-engine, 12-cylinder Ferrari at that. I carefully make my way across the dark, cluttered floor so I can identify the car head-on. It is a 1967 275 GTB, with headlight covers so large they remind me of, well, Dolly Parton. The silver car is surrounded by spider webs and covered with decades worth of dust. And crickets.
I pop the hood. There sits the two-cam Gioacchino Colombo-designed V-12, topped with three Weber twin-throats under a black, wrinkled air filter.
Poking my head into the car’s open window, I notice the navy blue interior covered in dust and an odometer with only 13,000 miles. I have a refrigerator magnet handy, so I attempted to stick it on the Ferrari’s voluptuous body. It fell on the floor. So did my jaw.
The body is alloy. One of only a handful built.
By now my eyes are totally adjusted to the darkness. Next to the Ferrari? A Cobra, of course. The Cobra in the Barn, or in this case, the Cobra in the suburban garage. With fender flares and big wheels, it’s obviously a big-block.
Suddenly this is the best day of my life. (Well except for our wedding day, of course, Honey…)
Red with black interior, it has the proper wooden steering wheel, 19,001 miles on the odometer, and the odd-looking, reversed Mustang shift lever. The CSX chassis number tells me the car was one of the approximate 100 427 Cobras equipped with a 428-cubic-inch engine. It sat on correct Peter Brock-designed “Sunburst” wheels and period Goodyear Wingfoot tires. No rollbar, no side pipes, no scoops or stripes, just an honest, unmolested big-block Cobra.
In the rear of the garage are two other roadsters: a 9000-mile 1976 Triumph TR-6 that the owner of these cars bought new, and a V-8, propane-fueled 1978 Morgan Plus 8 with just 3000 miles.
The cars were driven into the then-new garage in 1991, parked and forgotten for the next 26 years until the owner received a notice of condemnation from the city. The now-collapsing garage and unoccupied adjacent house are scheduled for demolition in the near future. The owner has only a couple of weeks to secure alternative storage.
Until then, the crickets will continue to stand guard.
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