Shelby Cobras aren’t cheap and not many of the iconic sports cars were built. It’s not uncommon to see preserved or restored models sell for $2 million or more today, and even a daily driver is worth over $500,000.
If you want the first Cobra ever made, however, that’s really going to cost you.
In 1962, Carroll Shelby dropped a 260-cubic inch Ford V8 under the hood of a lightweight British AC ACE and created one of the most exciting cars in history. The venerable salesman and showman then took it around to the car magazines to promote its sale, repainting it each time so it looked like his cash-strapped operation had already produced plenty of cars.
The scheme worked and the orders came in. Shelby eventually added the more powerful 289 and 427 models that would cement the Cobra’s legend, but Carroll never let that first development car go. He kept it himself until the day he died in 2012.
Dubbed CSX 2000, it wears its final coat of blue paint — chipped in several spots exposing the previous layers — and retains its now very tattered driver’s seat. Even though it looks like it needs a little work, it just set an enviable record: The most expensive American car ever sold.
The Carroll Hall Shelby Trust let it go at the RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterrey, Calif., on Aug 19th, where it went for $13.8 million, including auction fees. That beat the mark set by another car Shelby helped develop — a Ford GT40 that sold for $11 million in 2012, but as sky high as those prices are, they may seem like a bargain one day.
In 1964-65 Shelby built six Daytona Coupes that were very successful on the sports car racing circuit, but eventually supplanted by the GT40. They all remain, but are rarely offered for sale. The last one traded hands in 2009 for a then record of $7.25 million.
According to the Hagerty Price Guide, a Daytona Coupe in perfect condition is now worth $30 million.