Hannah EckertCar and Driver
From the August 2020 issue of Car and Driver.
In the summer of 2018, David Karpik of Kenai, Alaska, nosed Shelby Cobra chassis CSX2060 out of his garage and onto the road. The drive was a short one, the 289-cubic-inch V-8 rumbling as the car circled the block only a couple times. However, history was made: A Cobra had finally arrived in the northernmost state.
According to club records, until Karpik, no one had ever registered a Cobra in Alaska. Ford had brought a GT40 up as part of its Total Performance promotional tour in the '60s, but not a Cobra. CSX2060 could very well be the first example to turn a wheel on Alaskan tarmac.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Karpik restored a 1967 Mustang GTA fastback in his early teens with his father. He eventually sold that car to buy a rough 1967 Shelby GT500. It cost him less than what a new Honda Civic goes for now. "When you have a Mustang, the ultimate is to have a Shelby," Karpik says. "When you have a Shelby, the ultimate is to have a Cobra."
Karpik relocated to Alaska after college for what was supposed to be a one-year residency in Anchorage, but he ended up staying and building a family with his wife, Katy Rice. Owning a Cobra was a shared dream, and there were years of near misses. Then, in 2012, Karpik met a Cobra club member selling CSX2060 and leapt at the chance. For the first five years, Karpik and Rice stored their car in the lower 48, where most Cobra events happen. They joined thousand-mile club tours and tracked down the car's original owner in Boulder, Colorado. The 89-year-old man regaled them with stories of impromptu hill-climbs on freshly paved canyon roads in the '60s.
Now CSX2060 resides in Alaska. Shipping the Shelby back and forth for events isn't practical, but Karpik intends to keep driving it with his friends. He plans to host another tour through the state, as he did when he lured three Cobras and their owners there in 2018.
"Great cars have a living history, bigger than any one person," Karpik says. "I don't ever intend to get rid of this car. The black Cobra is special. That's why it's here with me."
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