The Origin Story Behind This $1.3M Custom Cobra Is Shakepearean AF

Involves a rich kid, daddy issues, race cars and a plane crash

By Evan Bleier

The Origin Story Behind This $1.3M Custom Cobra Is Shakepearean AF
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12 December 2016

Woolworth fortune heir Lance Reventlow did what any sensible young man with all the cash, property and daddy issues in the world would do: he raced cars for a living.

And when he died in a plane a plane crash in 1972 at the age of 36, he left behind some seriously enviable rides.

In 1963, Reventlow asked Carroll Shelby — yes, that Carroll Shelby — to build him a Cobra with a 260 CI engine that had many of the same components (ignition system, tires, carburetor) used on the company’s racing models.

Shelby — who’d previously raced against Reventlow and with him as a teammate — honored his friend’s request and delivered the most expensive Cobra ordered to that point for $7,493.75.

Sadly for Reventlow, he didn’t have long to enjoy his purchase — but that doesn’t mean you can’t.

Following a number of upgrades over the ensuing decades, the four-speed custom Cobra is now being offered up with its original chassis and aluminum body intact by Mecum Auctions.

“Distinguished by its association with one of American sports-car racing’s most charismatic figures and its unique original specifications, the Lance Reventlow Cobra represents a unique early chapter in the captivating history of Carroll Shelby’s beloved sport car,” Mecum says.

The car is expected to fetch $1.3 million, but having the ghost of Reventlow riding shotgun comes free.  

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