7 December 2009

Canadian is crazy for Cobras

Earl Pfeifer owns one of the most desirable collector cars in Canada, but his 1966 427 Cobra is no museum exhibit. Not even the frigid winters of Kaslo, British Columbia, can keep the Canadian off the road.

Pfeifer’s been in love with Cobras since his early teenage years, when his father was the new-car sales manager at Metro Motors in Calgary, Alberta. The dealership ordered a red 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 – which his father drove as a company demonstrator – a blue GT350 and a 427 Cobra.

It was Pfeifer’s dream to own one of these cars someday, and that dream came true when he purchased a 289 car. The CSX2100 was the 100th Cobra built. But Pfeifer sold the car prior to moving to New Zealand, where he became a very successful businessman and owned 140 Subway stores.

In 2004, Pfeifer sold his company and returned home to Canada. It was time to buy a big-block Cobra. He knew about CSX3282 because the car has an entire Web site devoted to it. Pfeifer’s brother found the site by chance one day and sent off an e-mail expressing Earl’s interest to purchase the car. The current owner said he had decided to sell the car that very day. Pfeifer was speaking with him less than 10 minutes later and purchased the car over the phone.

Pfeifer isn’t afraid to drive the Cobra occasionally in the frigid Canadian winter. When was the last time you saw one with side curtains and the top up and the heater on? He isn’t scared to let others have a turn either. His niece regularly drives the Cobra.

When you think that they only made 356 big-block cars, what are the chances of finding two in Kaslo, a village of just 1029 people? Pfeifer was on the main street one day when a passerby asked if he had overheating problems. The man said he was having a problem with his own Cobra. Pfeifer was shocked; there couldn’t be another one in town, could there?

Alas, Pfeifer remains the only true Cobra man in Kaslo. The competition turned out to be a Factory Five replica!

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