Road and Track

December 1979


1964 FIA Cobra Roadster

Unsophisticated, but tough and very fast.

By Tony Hogg

Photos by John Lamm

MIKE SHOEN OF Phoenix, Arizona is the ultimate Cobra enthusiast. Not only does he have some half-dozen of these cars, but among them is the original FIA 289 Cobra team car raced by Phil Hill at the Tarp Florio in 1964.

Mike was kind enough to produce this car at Laguna Seca Raceway for us and so we reciprocated by producing Phil Hill and also Dan Gurney, who drove the sister car, so that the two - drivers could reacquaint themselves with this famous machine.

Mike's enthusiasm is such that when he says he has Phil's original car, what he really means is that it is absolutely original down to the last nut and bolt. He even has the original tires, although the rears are too worn to use other than for display purposes. Of course, the car is in as-raced condition, complete with dents and dings, and the firing order is still chalked on the underside of the hood where some mechanic wrote it many years ago. At first sight, we were somewhat disappointed by the car's condition, but that lasted only until we fully realized the car's historical significance, which is good reason for leaving it exactly as it is. With a momentary feeling of nostalgia, I remembered that I last saw it run in 1964.

Side view