Just 23 examples of Carroll Shelby’s AC Cobra were produced in true Competition specification according to Jay Leno, and this black unit is a true survivor on its own – landing in the famous TV presenter and car aficionado’s garage for a quick respite from the devastating California wildfires. Naturally, it’s also the perfect opportunity for a quick presentation and even a street drive with the roaring 427 cu in unsettling everything in its path.
The 1965 Cobra Mark III 427 Competition models were a major flop at the time of their creation. That’s history – partly because they missed the homologation window for the 1965 season and were not raced by the official Shelby team. Another reason for their lack of success at the time is that only some of them were legal to use both on and off the street.
One such example is the CSX 3010 unit that landed for a while in Jay Leno’s possession after an unfortunate encounter with the forces of nature. According to the story shared by our host, the black Cobra Competition model (valued at around $2.5 million by Jay) is owned by a company called Putnam Leasing and had to run away from the devastating West Coast wildfires that rage in California these days.
The car lost its home and was effectively driven in a trailer all around the city because they had no place to put it – which is why Jay got a call for them asking for sanctuary in his famous garage.
Naturally, and since Leno hasn’t featured before a Competition Cobra before, he opened the door to the 427 – asking in return the chance to drive it and shoot it for his own YouTube series.
Interestingly, we think Jay would have offered a helping hand (or a sheltered parking spot, in this case) irrespective of the answer from the owner – as he quickly reminisces another big wildfire that destroyed the property of a friend in the 1990s.
As it turns out, that person owned a Lamborghini Miura that was so dear to him he built a fire-proof garage around it – but after the scorching passed the building was left intact while the car was fully roasted because of the massive heat wave…
As is customary with Jay’s cars featured during the show, we get to check out some of its interesting features first during an ample walkaround – and only afterward get to check it out on the street (from the 9:10 mark).
Unfortunately, the promenade is a quick one – Jay even muses about not being entirely comfortable with such an expensive car (he does have insurance for a day, it seems) being flaunted around town.
It’s certainly understandable… with those huge, white, side exhausts being hard to explain to any police patrol that they’re actually street legal.