1964 Shelby Cobra FoMoCo Blue Demo
Kevin ‘Keki’ Kivlochan Historic Road Sport Champion 2019
“This car sure has an interesting history!… I compare it with Bruce Meyer’s CSX 2001”.
When Carroll Shelby’s first racing prepared Cobra, CSX 2002, hit the track at Riverside, California in October of 1962, few had ever heard of the marque. The fact that Shelby, a Le Mans winning driver in 1959, had entered the car and had plans to build more for the public was even less known. Running against half a dozen brand new ‘63 Corvette Coupes that had been specially prepared by the factory for the top six Corvette drivers in the country made the confrontation between Shelby’s lone Cobra the focus of the motorsports world.
Incredibly, Shelby’s driver Billy Krause sped away from the highly vaunted ‘vettes in a dazzling performance that immediately branded Shelby’s new car as the fastest production car in the world. Krause didn’t win that day. A broken stub-axle sidelined the new car just short of the checkered flag, but Shelby, in a style that would soon become familiar to fans and competitors around the world, had just created a car and name that would last forever in the annals of motor racing history, even if production of the rare snakes ended just three years later. In that brief period, slightly more than one thousand Cobras were assembled in Shelby’s small factory in Venice, California. I was fortunate enough to be working for the charismatic Texan in those days and did much of the development, testing and sales demonstration of the new Cobras.
One car, CSX 2360, a handsome blue roadster with a bright red leather interior was randomly picked off the assembly line in 1964 to serve as a demonstrator for the executive staff at the Ford Motor Company. It would go on to lead a tough life on the company’s test tracks and streets of Dearborn, Michigan. A year later Ford returned the well-used roadster to Shelby for a complete refurbishment. After it was rebuilt I had the opportunity to drive that roadster several times on the back roads behind the Shelby factory in Marina Del Rey, and then again later when it became the showroom demo’ at Shelby’s exclusive dealership in Los Angeles, High Performance Motors. There, CSX 2360 was also tested by dozens of eager fans anxious to sample some of Shelby’s rapidly rising fame as an innovator in speed.
In its two year history in California it was often loaned to a number Hollywood celebrities who were anxious to own a Cobra but reluctant to wait until theirs was delivered. Exposure in that rarified atmosphere did much to enhance sales of the Cobra’s now proven record as America’s fastest automobile.
Records show the “Blue Demo” was shipped in 1976 to an eager enthusiast in England who kept the car for several years and then sold it, at which time its history becomes less certain. At any rate, some 55 years after its chassis and body were initially constructed at AC Cars in Thames Ditton and it survived under various owners in America and England, the “Blue Demo” would incredibly rise again to add even more luster to Shelby’s well-polished name.
Its current owner, driver and historical custodian, Kevin Kivlochan, has perhaps created the Cobra’s most successful set of racing victories yet by winning the UK’s most prestigious vintage sport-racing championship in a manner that few cars or drivers have ever equaled. In 2018 Kevin Kivlochan finished his careful restoration of CSX 2360 and began his pursuit of 2019’s Historic Race Championship, a grueling 13 race series that culminated with an astounding 100% race win record that included 11 pole positions and 11 fastest laps and a lap record at the final race of the Championship at Silverstone International!
If he were still with us I’m certain Carroll Shelby would be justly proud!
Director of Special Projects
Shelby American 1962-65
Peter Brock: “Wow – Great shot! Congrat’s on your continued wins – Very impressive! So good to see a snake properly driven – You are doing so well with the ‘Blue Demo’ I doubt you could have any more fun!”
Oulton Park Gold Cup 2019
COBRA RACE DATES 2019
Raced by Kevin “KeKi” Kivlochan in the HSCC Historic Road Sports Championship, 13 races and 13 wins
- 1st June – Snetterton- Double header event, Pole position 2 fastest laps and 2 outright wins
- 15th/16th June – Cadwell- Double header event, Pole position 2 fastest laps and 2 outright wins
- 30th June – Brands Super Prix – Pole position, fastest lap and outright win
- 13th/14th July – Anglesey – Double header event, Pole position 2 fastest laps and 2 outright wins
- 3rd/4th August – Croft – Double header event, Pole position 2 fastest laps and 2 outright wins
- 24th/25th August – Oulton Park Gold Cup – Fastest lap and outright win
- 28th/29th September – Spa Six Hours 2- Double header event, pole, fastest lap and 2 outright wins
- 19th October – Silverstone Finals – Pole, fastest lap, outright win and new lap record
3 decades in historic racing
I first started racing on the 4th July 1992, a one-off race to celebrate American Independence day for US Muscle cars. I had a ‘66 Shelby GT350 Mustang at the time and was totally green to the world of circuit racing. I towed my fairly standard road car up to Oulton Park on a hired open-bed trailer driven by a short-wheelbase Shogun, arrived at the circuit and pitched-up my small two-man tent on the grass. At that time, most of the paddock was grass. Remember, this was before the days of big campers with slide-outs, or race teams, or come to that, even professional mechanics. However we were all in the same boat, barring Pete Hall who turned up in a helicopter to race his 1965 Mustang as prepared by Andy Rouse. I managed a 6th overall, out of 15 cars, not saying times have moved on, but my lap time around Oulton Park is now 45 seconds per lap faster in my Morgan Plus 8. I don’t think I was totally hooked at that time, to be honest, I could not afford to get hooked, however, despite telling myself that Oulton would be my one and only race, I decided to do one more at Donington with the HSCC Improved Road Sports Series. I had a great race, with a Honda S800, who narrowly beat me. But how could I “retire” from racing with a CV like that? A big burly 4.7 litre Shelby Mustang being beaten by a car with a motorbike engine. Just one more race then to beat the Honda. Yes, now I am hooked and the “goals” keep moving forward… just a class win… just a race win… just a Championship!
In 1994, I was invited to run my GT350 at the Innes Ireland Memorial Rally in Birmingham. I was asked by the organiser if I could assist them by collecting Carroll Shelby from Heathrow and take him to the event – So I had three hours with the main man, reminiscing, what a privilege! Mr Shelby wanted to thank me for my help and asked if I would join him at Le Mans later that year, as he was there with a few friends to celebrate his victory in the Daytona Cobra, some thirty years earlier. How could I refuse?
When I arrived at Le Mans, I was sent to a private paddock on the inner circuit to meet my hosts, Carroll and Pete Brock, plus Bob Bondurant, and Dan Gurney (the two drivers of the Daytona in 64). So, a very special four days siting in camp with these racing legends. In Chatting to Bob, he invited me to his race school in Arizona as a guest, naturally it took an instant to accept. I will never forget when he took me round the track in one of the Orange Mustangs , his instructions were very clear “look ahead, look through the corner at the next corner” and all I could think was that I would rather that Bob looked at the track in some way, rather than looking at me in the passenger seat, he still clipped, every apex though. Hence my ultimate respect for him as a driver and a great honour that he agreed to sign the glove box of CSX2360. At that time the dominant driver on the grid in Improved Road Sports was Aiden Mills Thomas with the ex-Billy Walker (the boxer) AC 289 Cobra. Aiden would deliberately turn up late to qualify out of session so that he started at the back of the grid, but he would always win! And that really started my dreams of owning a Cobra one day.
As time progressed, and with some success in business, I managed to buy my first Cobra, CSX 2153, the ex-George Wintersteen Sebring Cobra, which I raced with some success in single driver events and two driver events with Jackie Oliver, Richard Attwood, Sir Stirling Moss and Gerry Marshall. I sold that car to Belgian, Marc Devis, who still owns the car to this day. I later bough the Independent Comp car CSX 2151, better known as the Hairy Canary, which I sold to my great friend Bill Bridges to allow me to buy the ex-Shelby Team entry for Le Mans in 1963 – CSX2142, which I eventually sold to Frank Sytner. But my longest ownership of a single Cobra was COB6008, the Jack Sears car and one of three European cut back door Cobras. I owned that car for over ten years and did pretty much every event that I wanted, such as the Goodwood Revival many times, Le Mans, Spa, Silverstone Grand Prix support races and the Macau Grand Prix etc.
I Have been racing a Morgan Plus 8 in the HSCC for the past 6 years now, but it is fair to say that the snake has bitten me once more and the urge to go Cobra racing is back. The plan was to race in HSCC Historic Road Sports, back to where it all started with the GT350. But times had moved on, my race-winning time from 2001, in the TVR Griffith, would now only put me mid pack.
I have been Chairman now of the HSCC HRS for 6 years and have loved racing with a great bunch of guys. This year, we took a trip to Anglesey race circuit for the first time on the 13th & 14th July, with all 6 classes of car running in a double-header event over the weekend. We had a special focus on Class A (over three litre) V8 cars, branded under the banner of ‘True Grit’ …Why? Because, unlike many events these days, we only run true cars, no replicas, homages, continuation, sanction or whatever your name for them. Just true honest period correct race cars. With over 7000 bhp across the field. It was some race!
In my first season racing The FoMoCo Blue Demo I’ve had the most amazing success, with 13 races in 2019, 11 pole positions, 11 fastest laps , 13 outright wins and 14 HRS wins. I must express huge thanks to all the team at RW Racing Services for building such a fantastic machine, that has been ultra-reliable too!
Who would have thought that from my humble race beginnings, I would end up with a world record for having raced the most Cobras at the famous Le Mans circuit, having raced, CSX 2153 – Sebring Cobra, CSX 2130 – Willment Cobra, COB 6008 – Angolan Grand Prix Cobra, CSX 2151 – The Hairy Canary and Cobra chassis no. CSX 2348.