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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-28-2008, 04:55 PM
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Default CSX2451 - the Mercer Cobra

CSX2451 often shows up as the "mystery Cobra." Purchased as a chassis from SAI, it was stretched and rebodied as a show car.

The design was the work of Virgil Exner Sr., the famous designer from the Chrysler 50's era.

"...Virgil Max "Ex" Exner, Sr. was an automobile designer for numerous American companies, notably Chrysler and Studebaker. He is known for his "Forward Look" design on the 1955 through 1961 Chrysler products and his fondness of fins on cars for both aesthetic and aerodynamic reasons."

Exner did the milestone design of the Chrysler 300C...fins and all.

I had a few old and grainy pics of the Mercer Cobra, until recently when a good friend sent recent pics of the car in a rare showing last year. He has allowed me to share the images.

Quote:
1965 Mercer Cobra

Back in 1963 Virgil Exner Sr. designed a series of revival cars from many now defunct car manufacturers to show how he thought they might design a car today if they had survived and one of those was the Mercer.

Then in 1965 the American Copper Development Association picked Exner’s Mercer design to actually build this car and bring it from paper to reality. They purchased chassis number CSX2451 from Shelby and lengthened it 18 inches to start the build of this one and only 1965 Mercer Cobra. The coachbuilder chosen was Sibona-Basano from Torino Italy who built the body and as you will see from the photos used plenty of copper and bronze to adorn this custom body.

The engine was a Ford 289 installed and purchased from Shelby’s stock of CSX chassis Cobras being built in the same time frame.

Today this car is owned by William Lyon who also owns the Ghia bodied Bugatti another car designed by Exner Sr. Now on September 29th 2007 Virgil Exner Jr. Exner Sr. son and Peter Grist an automotive journalist and author of a new book about Virgil Exner Sr. titled Visioneer, the official biography of a designer extraordinaire held the Era of Exner Event at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

With the book signing and 10 automobiles from Exner’s milestone cars my friend Jim Milliken who brought his 1971 Stutz Blackhawk as another one of Exner’s 10 milestone cars took these pictures for me of this one and only built 1965 Mercer Cobra. As a Cobra enthusiast I am glad to share these pictures and this story with you.

Article by Dan Wulff

Photos by Jim Milliken
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-28-2008, 04:57 PM
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 10-28-2008, 04:57 PM
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:33 PM
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Definetly , without a doubt , the Ugliest car i have ever seen.It is such a shame to know a Great CSX car was butcherd into that abomination.
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Old 10-28-2008, 05:49 PM
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Jees o man! How much extra high speed lift can be added to a Cobra? Look at those front fenders etc...That car must be scary to drive...............
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBCOBRA View Post
That car must be scary to drive...............

Drive???????
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Old 10-28-2008, 06:33 PM
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I dont like it but I learned something interesting.
Thanks CW.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:15 PM
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I think Mr Exner was a great stylist. I love the late 50's early 60's MoPars

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Dodge...spagenameZWDVW
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kris-kincaid View Post
I think Mr Exner was a great stylist. I love the late 50's early 60's MoPars

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Dodge...spagenameZWDVW
Ironically, being a mopar fan, I always thought the early 60s cars were some of the ugliest things Dodge ever put out. Now I know why. That Mercer Cobra almost makes my eyes bleed. Should have been called the Mercy Cobra.

Interesting piece of history though, thanks Ron.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:51 PM
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Dang, are you sure that isn't Jules Vern car.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:55 PM
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Jules Vern?
.....you're old enough?
Mercer was not quite the name.
It was Mercy
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:02 PM
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Looks more like Elvis designed that car after a peanut butter and banana binge.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:29 AM
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That is one butt ugly car
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:12 AM
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Strip that copper off - worth a fortune in China!!!
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Old 10-29-2008, 06:36 AM
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First off there is no car as ugly as you guys portray and this car was Exner Sr attempt at what a Mercer roadster would look like if they had stayed in business. The only reason the Cobra name is tied in is because they needed a frame and bought CSX2451 and a 289 Ford engine from Shelby to have this one and only Mercer built which makes it part of the Cobra history. In the 3rd picture posted you can see a Studebaker, Chrysler, and a Dodge all designed by Exner that actually went into production. Thanks Ron
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