The very first Shelby Cobra – serial number CSX 2000 – sold this past weekend at auction for $12.5 million dollars; with auction fees, the price came to a grand total to $13.75 million USD.
That sum represents a new world record, the most money paid for any American-made car to have crossed an auction block, and makes the unrestored Cobra one of the fifteen most expensive cars sold at auction.
The sale on the evening of August 19 was held by Chatham, Ontario-based RM Sotheby’s, at its Monterey Car Week sale in southern California. The auction is one of several held during the car enthusiast-themed weekend, which centers around the famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
CSX 2000 was the very first Cobra assembled by Carroll Shelby himself, way back when he was still principally concerned with chicken farming.
Arriving in the United States back in February of 1962, this first-ever Shelby Cobra started life as a British-built AC Ace convertible sports car. Convinced that all this British sports car was missing was a big ol’ American V8, Shelby shoehorned a 4.2-litre Ford engine under-hood and paired it with a four-speed manual.
The results were dramatic, and after a very un-scientific round of testing, Shelby’s partner Dean Moon deemed the car a success.
“We got drunk and drove it around—an impromptu road course we had set up between the oil derricks. When it didn’t break, even after all that rough treatment, well, then we knew we had a good car,” said Moon. Times have changed, but this Cobra’s allure hasn’t.
CSX 2000 was owned by Shelby since its creation and it never left his care, until his passing in 2012.
While we’re typically not a fan of garage-queen collectors, we hope this legendary car is kept vacuum-sealed behind security glass.
CSX 2000 is emblematic of grass-roots automotive enthusiasm and American entrepreneurship and captures the best of an era–perhaps that’s why the auctioneer’s tongue got a serious workout last weekend.
(All photos by Darin Schnabel for RM Sotheby’s)