Jerry Heasley
September 15, 2016

Keith Young of North Andover, Massachusetts, was in for a shock when he started to work on the small-block Ford engine in his dad’s 1938 Ford pickup. “I asked my father what year the motor was. He didn’t know the exact year. He asked me to run the numbers on the motor.” Crouching down under the hood with a flashlight in search of numbers, Young couldn’t help but notice “COBRA” script on the intake manifold and valve covers. Could this 302 be a Shelby Cobra motor?

To be certain, Young emailed the Shelby American website. He included the engine-stamping numbers, visible on the top and back of the block, along with the casting number and date-code stamp. SAAC informed him that this engine was originally installed in a 1968 Shelby Cobra G.T. 350 convertible with the Shelby VIN number ending in 02857. Enthused, Young went back to his father to get more history on the old truck that had been in his family for more than 40 years.

The engine appears to have its original exhaust manifolds intact. The last six digits of the stamping on the top rear of the block match the last six digits of the original Mustang’s VIN. SAAC has a list that cross-references the original Ford VIN with the Shelby VIN.
Keith Young pulled a 302 Shelby Cobra engine out of this 1938 Ford pickup truck, a street rod.
Crud had obscured COBRA lettering, which is cast into the aluminum intake manifold.

“Somewhere around 1972, my father wanted a street rod, and my grandmother found this truck that was just being completed in Southern California. My father travelled out there and bought the truck.” The story the senior Young got from the seller at the time was the builder had pulled the parts from a Mustang that had been in a car accident, and they put the engine and other parts in the 1938 Ford pickup truck. “My father drove the truck for 20 years but got tired of chasing storage on the truck. My brother had just bought a house with a garage. So, my father passed the truck onto him.”

The car sat in his brother’s garage from 1992 until recently. After Young’s brother passed away, he became the new owner and wanted to get the old truck running again. “I can run my 1938 Ford pickup truck with any 289 or 302. I don’t need the Shelby motor in there,” Young says. He contacted “Rare Finds” at Mustang Monthly to see if we could seek out the owner of the 1968 Shelby Cobra G.T. 350 convertible. Luckily, Young loves old cars and is willing to part with this engine if the correct car can be located. SAAC’s letter did more than confirm the engine stamping corresponds to a 1968 Shelby. The letter also mentioned that the 02857 last sold, according to their SAAC Registry, in 2001 in Washington State. So, will the real owner of Shelby #02857 please come forward and claim “your” engine? We will chronicle what happens here next. Stay tuned!

The Cobra intake manifold on the 302 is cast with “S2MS-9424A” lettering.
Cobra valve covers were still on the 1968 Shelby Cobra 302.
The original Holley carburetor was still on the engine, having the original stamping of “S8MS-9510-C” for a 1968 Shelby G.T. 350 with four-speed manual transmission.