The star of this year’s RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction at Pebble Beach was undoubtedly a blue 1962 Shelby Cobra. Not just any blue 1962 Shelby Cobra, mind you. No, this is chassis CSX2000, the very first example ever built.
It’s rolling piece of history, the crème de la crème of prototypes. Over 50 years, it had never been outside Carroll Shelby’s stewardship, initially as part of his personal collection, and, since his death in 2012, part of the the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust. It officially became the most expensive American car ever sold at auction when the gavel fell on Friday night.
A cool $13.8 million, was the final price, including auction fees. That puts it in the same league as the incredible Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato at December’s RM New York, and Alfonso de Portago’s Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France, which sold at Pebble Beach last year.
The previous record-holder for American car at auction was a 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight, driven by Jacky Ickx to a win a Spa and also used on the set of 1971’s Le Mans. That car sold in 2012 for $11 million.
The GT40 of course is prime. But somehow Shelby’s own Shelby holding the title feels more appropriate. The man was a hustler, a Texan, a visionary. Shrewd, sometimes ruthless, and enamored of hot rodding. And, now, the mastermind behind the most expensive American used car on the books.