“When it comes to American sports cars, CSX 2000 is without peers. Its historical significance and impact on the global sports car scene cannot be overstated.” Those are not our words, but those of Shelby Myers of leading automotive auction house RM Sotheby’s.
The car he’s referring to is the very first Shelby Cobra ever made, and it’s set to bring in big bucks when it hits the auction block less than two months from now in Monterey, California.
CSX 2000 was born when Carroll Shelby and his team of hot-rodders brought an AC Ace into their garage in Santa Fe Springs, California, and shoehorned Ford’s then-new 260-cubic-inch V8 under the hood. The result was dubbed the Shelby Cobra, a legendary model in its own right, but also the impetus behind so many models to follow. Without CSX 2000, there might never have been a Daytona coupe, a Ford GT40 (not to mention the two generations of Ford GT that followed), a Dodge Viper, or so many Shelby-tuned and Cobra-badged Mustangs over the years.
Extending far beyond the role of a pre-production prototype, CSX 2000 served as a test vehicle for countless press reviews, a demonstrator at events across America, and even part of the motor pool at the Carroll Shelby School of High Performance Driving. It took center stage at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca, and long served as the centerpiece at the Shelby Heritage museum in Las Vegas.
Throughout its history, though, it has always been owned by the company founder, who left it in the care of the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust with strict instructions: “Carroll and Rob Myers discussed Cobra #1 many times, and they were good friends,” said trustee Joe Conway. “Their agreement that Rob would offer the car for Carroll’s Trust, after he was gone, was a very emotional one for both of them.”
You can bet that, even with all the other collectible metal on hand, it will be one of the top lots at the Monterey auction this year, but it won’t be the only Shelby on hand. Joining it will be a ’65 Shelby 427 Cobra, serial number CSX 3178, that served as Carroll’s daily driver, fitted with a rare automatic transmission, along with his Dodge Shelby GLHS Omni, and a ’99 Shelby Series I roadster. In short, it promises to be a real Shelby-fest at Pebble Beach this year, so collectors had better bring their checkbooks.