The Friend Connection – Lance Reventlow, race car constructor and friend of Carroll Shelby, was one of the early believers in the new Cobra

Written by independent automotive journalist Steve Statham

The 1962 Cobra, CSX 2032, will be offered with No Reserve at the 2022 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction January 22-30.


It’s easy now, 60 years after Carroll Shelby founded the sports car company bearing his name, to believe that success was a sure thing. After all, Shelby’s creations went on to become some of the most collectible cars ever built, and you can still order a variety of new Shelby vehicles to this day.

But success was anything but guaranteed. Starting a car company is a risky business, then or now. Fortunately, Shelby was helped early on by friends and supporters, such as Lance Reventlow. A former racing driver and founder of his own race car construction company, Reventlow was one of Shelby’s first customers, purchasing a Shelby Cobra in the earliest days of the company. That 1962 Cobra, CSX 2032, will be offered with No Reserve at the 2022 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction at Westworld January 22-30.

Lance Reventlow and Carroll Shelby had followed similar professional paths with differing results. As drivers, the two had been trackside buddies, and it was Reventlow who first established his own car company, Reventlow Automobiles, to build his Chevrolet-powered Scarab race cars. These were all-American sports cars and formula cars designed to go head-to-head with Europe’s best. At the tail end of his racing career Carroll Shelby drove a Scarab to victory in a 1960 USAC Road Racing Championship race at Continental Divide Raceways in Colorado, leading flag-to-flag and setting a course record. So when Shelby launched his own sports car company, Reventlow was among the first in line to place an order. The Cobra featured here was invoiced to Lance Reventlow on January 2, 1963.

But Reventlow plays an even bigger role in early Shelby history than simply buying a car. Reventlow shut down his own racing construction business in 1962 and leased his California shop and manufacturing facility to Shelby. In addition, Reventlow had employed Phil Remington as chief engineer as well as Ken Miles, two more names that would later become deeply relevant to Shelby’s success.

In Carroll Shelby’s 1965 autobiography “The Carroll Shelby Story,” he recalled the opportunity Reventlow provided as Shelby was establishing his company. “Then there was the matter of installing equipment and storing cars and engines,” Shelby wrote. “We started looking around right away and came up with a pretty good answer. Lance Reventlow was getting out of the business and had decided to quit building Scarabs and his place was available. He’d had all the fun out of it that he wanted, so he had made up his mind to move out. There was a bunch of wonderful machinery available and (we then thought) more room than we would ever need. So we made a deal with him and moved in during June of 1962.”

The Reventlow Cobra was one of the 73 early-production cars that was fitted with a 260ci V8. It was delivered painted white with red interior, and was heavily optioned for a Cobra. It was ordered with nearly every competition option Shelby offered. In addition, it was loaded with bumper guards, wind wings, sun visors and safety belts.

Over the years the Cobra has had several high-profile owners, most of whom left their own stamp on the car. In its current configuration, it sports a 289 V8 built to Hi-Po specifications by Bob Prouty. The fenders were flared to house larger tires for competition, and the black paint, yellow fender stripes and white roundels give it a track-ready appearance. The upgrades and modifications are correct for the period, and the Reventlow Cobra still has its original body, frame and chassis.

As expected, a car with such significant history attached to it comes with documentation, including the first original rent check that Shelby wrote to Reventlow Automobiles Inc. on August 15, 1962. The Lance Reventlow Cobra is historically important and a thrilling drive, but also a reminder that when the stakes are high, having your friends in your corner makes all the difference.

To register to bid at the 2022 Scottsdale Auction – a celebration of 50 years of The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions – click HERE. To sell your vehicle at Barrett-Jackson’s flagship auction in January, click HERETickets and VIP packages are also now on sale.

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: The Friend Connection – Lance Reventlow, race car constructor and friend of Carroll Shelby, was one of the early believers in the new Cobra
Sourced From: www.barrett-jackson.com/Media/Home/Reader/lance-reventlow-1962-cobra-csx-2032-crossing-the-block-at-scottsdale-2022-auction/
Published Date: Mon, 06 Dec 2021 17:17:18 +0000