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Tim's Forza History Class

Ollie the Dragon

By Tim DeLong - 07-28-2015



This is a history lesson about the winningest 427 Shelby Cobra ever built. At least a couple of its incarnations at least. This particular 1965 Shelby Cobra, chassis number CSX3009, started life like any other production Cobra. However this particular, ivory white Cobr was handpicked to become a race car.

Essex Wire Corporation was a major supplier to Ford in the sixties. Essex wanted to show off to the automotive industry by going racing. They hired a former Shelby employee by the name of Skipp Scott to pick a car and assemble a team to go racing. Skipp picked the ivory white Cobra and veteran race driver, and dentist, Dr. Dick Thompson along with up and coming club racer Ed Lowther.

With “Essex Wire” and “97” on the sides of the Cobra, the newly assembled team had a very successful year considering they had not worked together before. The team finished 4th in U.S. road racing competition for 1965. The other competitors nicknamed the Cobra “Ollie the Dragon” (a popular character on a children’s tv show at the time). The nickname came about due to the car’s habit of belching a two foot tall flame from out of the hood scoop. This was caused by the distributor advance igniting the unspent fuel laying on the manifold.

Essex enjoyed the racing success of the 1965 season, but decided to change from the Cobra to the new Ford GT40 for the 1966 season. Ollie went into storage until Lowther purchased the car. Lowther and Ollie had much success including winning the 1967 U.S. road racing championship. In 1968 Sam Feinstein purchased Ollie. Feinstein painted Ollie blue and continued to race the Cobra from 1968 to 1981.

At some point, Ollie was painted green and white, like the livery recreated here. Feinstein and Ollie were successful throughout the 70’s, winning on more than one occasion at Road Atlanta.

It’s not exactly known when, or to whom Feinstein sold Ollie. There are many rumors around the car world concerning the whereabouts of chassis number CSX3009. One rumor is that Legendary Motors, in Canada, has the car and is restoring it to its original Essex Livery.

Another rumor states that the car is currently in Southern California being restored. And yet another rumor says that Essex Wire bought the car back and put it in storage until the head of Essex was relieved of his duties in 2003 and he took the Cobra with him and it has not been seen since.

Whatever the case may be, chassis number CSX3009, or Ollie the Dragon, would be the ultimate Shelby barn find! Maybe we’ll see him in Forza Horizon 3, you never know!

 

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