CSX 2085 was constructed in 1962, the first year of Cobra production. It was the 85th Cobra built, and the 10th of the new, 289 engine, cars. Ford Motor Company’s Jacques Passino purchased CSX 2085 September 16, 1963, for a total of $5,182. It was black, with a black interior.
The next owner purchased the car from High Performance Motors in Playa Del Rey, California, in early, 1964. They buyer was a young Southern Californian, Bob Gage, the son of a Goodyear tire business associate of Carroll Shelby. In a 1997 interview, Bob Gage related the following details, briefly summarized here, of his time with CSX 2085.
In early 1964, Carroll Shelby was at a meeting with Bob’s father regarding a Goodyear tire business deal. That’s when Carroll learned that young Bob was at a local Jaguar dealership attempting to purchase an XKE Jaguar. Carroll immediately left the meeting, found Bob at the Jaguar dealership, and told him to buy one of Shelby’s Cobras instead. He let Bob have CSX 2085 for the rest of the day to try it out. Bob bought it.
The Gage family, originally from England, was in the Britsh car business in Southern California. Through this business, they came to know, and became close with, Ken Miles. Miles eventually would become Bob’s godfather. Because of Bob’s connection with Miles, and his father’s business relationship with Carroll Shelby, Bob had direct access to Shelby’s factory racing and high performance parts and information. Miles, and fellow factory Cobra racer, Dave McDonald, helped Bob set up his Cobra, including driving it at Willow Springs Raceway to set up and develop the car. Miles also taught Bob how to race. Bob related harrowing tales of sitting on the floor of the passenger side of CSX 2085 and hanging onto the roll bar while Miles tossed CSX 2085 around the Willow Springs course.
Some of the modifications made at the time included installing Webber carburetors and intake manifold, adding a roll bar, and making fender flares for the wider American Racing mag wheels. Aluminum brake cooling scoops were also installed along with side fender vents. The windshield was replaced with a small windscreen. A hood scoop was installed, and the bumpers were removed as well.
In 1965, Bob, members of his family, and two mechanics, took CSX 2085 to England to race it. Bob first raced the car at a club road racing event at Oulton Park. The car caused quite a stir as it was the first time many people had ever seen a Cobra in person. The officials made Bob remove the small windscreen, and reinstall the windshield. The windshield was removed, but Bob leaned it back as far back as possible to reduce drag. Bob finished second in class.
Bob recalled next racing CSX 2085 at Goodwood, winning his race. As the season progressed, Bob and his team continued to modify the car. They installed domed pistons, a custom ground camshaft, and moved the engine back two inches for better weight distribution. However, the engine relocation did not work out very well, and they put it back to its original position. They also installed a larger, illegal, fuel tank, but stenciled “18 Imperial Gallons” on it, and it were never challenged. Bob said he won a total of eight races that season, including a race at Silverstone.
Bob and CSX 2085 returned to the U.S. at the end of the summer in 1965. Bob converted the car back to street use. He began auto crossing the car throughout Southern California. Bob ran the car at Riverside International Raceway, Del Mar, Willow Springs, and other courses. He won many Top Time Of Day awards. Bob said he acquired over 200 trophies during his years auto crossing CSX 2085, along with his girlfriend, Diane Hildebrand, who also auto crossed the car. Unfortunately, in the late 1960’s a neighbor’s car port caught fire from an outdoor barbeque. The fire spread to Bob’s beach house. Bob’s house, and the neighbor’s house, were burned to the ground. Bob lost everything, including his trophies and the memorabilia that he had collected about him and the car. The few photos and documents Bob has remaining are those that friends had and gave to Bob after the fire. One of those documents is a San Fernando Drag Strip track record certificate.
In addition to auto crossing the car, Bob also successfully drag raced CSX 2085. He raced it at Long Beach, Lyons, San Fernando and Pomona drag strips, as well as others. Bob said he won the 1966 AHRA Winternationals at Irwindale in A/Sport, and in Street Eliminator with a recorded 11.60 ET. He also raced the car at the NHRA Winternationals, but says he was protested by one of the Dragonsnake Cobras. Bob refused the required teardown, and left. The Dragonsnake is shown as winning that event.
Bob also ran CSX 2085 against local Southern California Cobra racer, and rising star, Elliot Forbes-Robinson. They both attended SCCA driver’s school with their Cobras. They battled each other in the end-of-school race, with Bob passing Forbes-Robinson for the lead, but then overheating and giving the win to Forbes Robinson. In a 1998 interview, Forbes Robinson remembered that race, and said to remind Bob who won.
Before Bob was done with CSX 2085, he took the car to Bonneville to attempt a speed record. He was unsuccessful in his attempt. He tried again, running the car at a Southern California Timing Association event on the El Mirage dry lake bed in Southern California. A scary ride after a blown tire convinced Bob not to make any further speed record attempts.
Near the end of 1969, Bob sold the car to Floridian, George Rollin. Rollin traded the Webber carburetor set up for bodywork and a red paint job. Rollin later sold the car to R.C. Hill. Hill, a Florida used car dealer, ran the Cobra on dealer plates for two years before selling it. The next owner appears to have been Southeast Imports in Columbus Georgia. It was from there that the next owner, Donald May, purchased CSX 2085.
When May purchased CSX 2085 from Southeast Imports in February, 1973, he said it was set up for racing and was not a street car. He had to trailer it home. He then set about returning the car back to street use. He also painted it blue.
In 1975, Clive Darvell spotted May’s Cobra driving around the Columbus, Georgia area, and told May he wanted the car. Darvell then purchase CSX 2085. Darvell moved from Georgia to Alabama, then to Canada, taking CSX 2085 with him during each move. Neither Darvell, nor May, knew the real chassis number of CSX 2085 at that time, as the car had been titled for several years by the engine number because no one knew where the chassis number was stamped on a Cobra.
In 1985, during engine removal for a rebuild, Clive discovered the CSX 2085 number stamped on the frame of the car. He contacted SAAC, and began to trace this history of the car. During the engine rebuild, Darvell had Webber carburetors reinstalled on the car. Darvell ran the car on the street before beginning a short vintage racing career with CSX 2085. Darvell’s racing career ended when he had a heart attack. The Cobra then stayed parked for the next seven years until it was sold again.
The next owner was Art Hebert. He purchased the car on behalf of current owner, Michael Stott, as an interim step to get the car from Canada back into the U.S. Thereafter Hebert sold the car to Stott. Michael Stott had the Cobra fully restored for vintage racing. The car has since been successfully vintage raced across the U.S. including all of the major events. CSX 2085 has also won multiple concours events. Most recently CSX 2085, was invited to the Amelia Island Concours, where the car joined some of the most historic Cobras of all time, and was judged by noted Cobra legends, Peter Brock and Bob Bondurant.
CSX 2085 is fresh from its Amelia Island Concours appearance. It is fully race ready, and already accepted at several events in 2012, including the Watkins Glen 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Shelby Cobra, and the Monterey Reunion, featuring Cobra. It currently has a 490 h.p., 289 engine installed with one race on it. The car comes with a spare 425 h.p. “Monterey Legal” engine with three races on it, and a fresh valve job. Also included with the car is a zero time 289 engine that was built as a backup engine.
Additional spares include:
5 Extra wheels and tires
1 Top Loader transmission
1 Five bolt bell housing
1 Five bolt block (289)
3 Boxes spare parts for track use.
2 Anti Roll bars
4 Calipers, aluminum and iron
Box of hub bearings and seals
Original taillights, one pair
Original hand brake parts
Original tonneau cover
Original side windows for street use
Original front and rear bumpers
Original front and rear hubs, two pairs
Original worm & sector steering box and front cross member
Original seats, one pair
The car also comes with log books from 1997 to date
If you are seriously interested in acquiring CSX 2085, please contact Art Hebert directly at 707-328-2452, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Art conducted interviews with the prior owners of CSX 2085 in 1997-98, and can provide much more detailed information about the car and its history than is presented here. Also, if you have any information about CSX 2085 and its early history, please contact Art. We are interested in filling any gaps, correcting any errors, and adding any heretofore unknown information, to the CSX 2085 history.
There are nine photos of the car in the "More Pictures" section. They are large, high resolution, photos, so the may take awhile to load.
CSX 2085 is only being sold at this time because of serious health problems. The owner has told me to sell the car as soon as possible, immediately preferred. If you are a serious buyer, please contact me as soon as possible to make arrangements to purchase the car.
Chassis Number: CSX 2085