A 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra, CSX2000, the first built, became the most-expensive American car ever when sold for $13,750,000 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2016. This Cobra was the first car built by Carroll Shelby and was sold from single ownership to benefit the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust. It is only the third American car ever to have sold for more than $10 million at public auction.
Note: The American record was raised by a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ, chassis J-563, that sold for $22 million at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2018 classic car sale.
1962 Shelby 260 Cobra – The Most-Expensive American Car
The 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra, chassis CSX2000, achieved $13,750,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2016 sale to become the most-expensive American car ever sold at public auction.
The previous record for an American car at public auction was $11 million for a 1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight paid at RM Auctions Monterey 2012. A 1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Coupe that sold for $10,340,000 at Gooding Pebble Beach 2011 is the only other American car ever to have achieved over $10 million.
1962 Shelby 260 Cobra, CSX2000
The 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra, chassis CSX2000, is of course a very special car. This was the first car built by famous American racing driver and automotive entrepreneur Carroll Shelby.
The 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra, chassis CSX2000, was for five months the only Shelby car in existence but clever respraying ensured that the automotive world thought Shelby had a fleet available. The car was extensively used for promotion, development, and high-speed driver training.
Many consider the car as the most-important American sports car in history. By dropping a 260 bhp, 260 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine with a single four-barrel carburetor, into a relatively small and light car phenomenal performance was possible. CSX2000, which still has its original engine, recorded a 4.2 seconds 0 to 60 mph time with a top speed of 153 mph and a standing quarter-mile of 13.8 seconds.
CSX2000 remained in the Shelby organization and clearly shows signs of development, racing, and hard use. It is in no concours d’elegance condition but certainly would lose value if anyone ever tries to iron out the original bodywork.
The driver seat of CSX2000 is clearly original too. Employees took Carroll Shelby’s threat seriously that anyone trying to mend the leather covers would need to find a new job elsewhere the following morning.
In recent years, the 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra, CSX2000, was on display in the Shelby Heritage Center in Las Vegas. It was sold according to Carroll Shelby’s wishes by RM Sotheby’s to finance the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust.