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First Ever Shelby Cobra Auction May Fetch $10M

Auctions are perhaps the most interesting part of the Monterey Car Week. They routinely grab headlines because of the high-value sales. The seven and eight figure newspaper screamers are typically reserved for a Mercedes-Benz, a Bugatti, or a Ferrari. But it could be different this year with the first ever Shelby Cobra auction expected to fetch $10 million. The gorgeous blue roadster built by Texas chicken farmer Carroll Shelby will go under the hammer at the Monterey car auction on 19 August. Automobile experts believe that the car would fetch at least $10 million.

Hyperbole? Not quite. There’s hardly any other car that altered the course of sports cars as unmistakably as the legendary CSX2000. The car sealed its maker’s career and led Ford Motor to emerge as a racing powerhouse in the 1960s. The first Shelby Cobra introduced Americans to the front-engine, rear-drive sports cars; macho roadsters that still run high on adrenaline.

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The Shelby Cobra CSX2000 dash
The Shelby Cobra CSX2000 dash. Source: Shelby Cobra

The first Shelby Cobra is much different from the later versions and modern replica cars. The CSX2000 has a 260 cubic inch V8 engine under its hood in place of the 289 or the fire breathing 427. The car runs on skinny cross-ply tires, instead of the most modern fat and gripping radials. However, the most outstanding aspect is how much the Auto Carriers (AC) Ace can be still noticed, notwithstanding the modifications by Shelby. The taillights of the CSX2000, to be put up at the Shelby Cobra auction, are manufactured by Lucas. They may not work now, but will sport the “Made in England” mark. The wheels also bear the AC logo.

Like several prestigious automobiles that go under the hammer at an auction, it’s the history of the CSX2000, which makes the car stand out. While it’s the first Selby Cobra ever built, the car spent its whole life under the ownership of its maker, Carroll Shelby himself. The CSX2000 was used for testing and development as well. Attendees at the Shelby Cobra auction must be aware that the car reached 60mph in just 4.2 seconds. That’s pretty fast even by today’s standards. But back in the early 1960s, this was unbelievable for a road car. The highest speed of the CSX2000 is 153mph. Shelby also used the car in promotions, painting it in various colors, to convince people that production was steady.

The Shelby Cobra CSX2000 Chassis No. Source: Shelby Cobra

The CSX2000 at the Shelby Cobra auction will be completely unrestored. But after more than six decades, the body is expected to bear signs of wear and tears. The paint is damaged and there are major chips and dents all over the body. The interior is no less than a disaster with worn and torn leathers. While those tears are far from pretty, they are nonetheless part of the car’s rich history.

The Carroll Hall Shelby Trust is entrusted with selling the CSX2000. That’s what Carroll Shelby wanted before he died. Shelby and his long-time pal Rob Myers had agreed that the car would be offered to the trust named after Carroll after he’s gone. And now, it was an emotional decision for Myers to put the car at the Shelby Cobra auction.

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