Automotive

Back where it all began: Shelby's original Cobra, the CSX 2000, goes to auction

Back where it all began: Shelb...
The CSX 2000 was the original Shelby Cobra prototype
The CSX 2000 was the original Shelby Cobra prototype
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The CSX 2000 was the original Shelby Cobra prototype
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The CSX 2000 was the original Shelby Cobra prototype
The CSX 2000 was conceived to compete with the Corvette
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The CSX 2000 was conceived to compete with the Corvette
The CSX 2000 was built by Carroll Shelby
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The CSX 2000 was built by Carroll Shelby
The CSX 2000 was built in 1962
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The CSX 2000 was built in 1962
The CSX 2000 has the chassis of an AC Ace roadster
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The CSX 2000 has the chassis of an AC Ace roadster
The CSX 2000 is a high-performance two-seater
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The CSX 2000 is a high-performance two-seater
The CSX 2000 has an elegant, smooth and flowing shape
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The CSX 2000 has an elegant, smooth and flowing shape
The CSX 2000 has been kept in its original condition
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The CSX 2000 has been kept in its original condition
The CSX 2000 has wire wheels
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The CSX 2000 has wire wheels
The CSX 2000 is credited with the success of Shelby American
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The CSX 2000 is credited with the success of Shelby American
The sale of the CSX 2000 is being handled by RM Sotheby's
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The sale of the CSX 2000 is being handled by RM Sotheby's
RM Sotheby's is handling the sale of the CSX 2000 on behalf on the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust
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RM Sotheby's is handling the sale of the CSX 2000 on behalf on the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust
Once built, the CSX 2000 served a number of purposes, including as a development car, test car, press car and show car
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Once built, the CSX 2000 served a number of purposes, including as a development car, test car, press car and show car
The badge of the CSX 2000 features the words "Shelby Cobra"
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The badge of the CSX 2000 features the words "Shelby Cobra"
The badge of the CSX 2000 features a circle containing the letters "AC," referring to the chassis manufacturer
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The badge of the CSX 2000 features a circle containing the letters "AC," referring to the chassis manufacturer
A badge on the CSX 2000 recognizes the Ford engine by which it is powered
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A badge on the CSX 2000 recognizes the Ford engine by which it is powered
As a result of never being restored, the CSX 2000 has nicks and scratches
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As a result of never being restored, the CSX 2000 has nicks and scratches
The original upholstery of the CSX 2000 is in tatters
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The original upholstery of the CSX 2000 is in tatters
Many of the gauges in the CSX 2000 are said not to work
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Many of the gauges in the CSX 2000 are said not to work
The CSX 2000 features a 260-cu in (4,260-cu cm) Ford small-block V8 engine
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The CSX 2000 features a 260-cu in (4,260-cu cm) Ford small-block V8 engine
A badge on the CSX 2000 references its model name
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A badge on the CSX 2000 references its model name
The 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) time of the CSX 2000 was reputedly 4.2 seconds
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The 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) time of the CSX 2000 was reputedly 4.2 seconds
The CSX 2000 could apparently do a standing quarter-mile run in 13.8 seconds
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The CSX 2000 could apparently do a standing quarter-mile run in 13.8 seconds
The top speed of the CSX 2000 is said to have been 153 mph (246 km/h)
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The top speed of the CSX 2000 is said to have been 153 mph (246 km/h)
The CSX 2000 was given a fresh paintjob for different public appearances to give the impression of more than one of the model having been produced
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The CSX 2000 was given a fresh paintjob for different public appearances to give the impression of more than one of the model having been produced
The CSX 2000 never left Carroll Shelby's ownership during his lifetime
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The CSX 2000 never left Carroll Shelby's ownership during his lifetime
In 2012, the CSX 2000 featured at a number of shows to celebrate 50 years of the Shelby Cobra
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In 2012, the CSX 2000 featured at a number of shows to celebrate 50 years of the Shelby Cobra
Since 2012, the CSX 2000 has been on display at the Shelby Heritage Center in the US city of Las Vegas, Nevada
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Since 2012, the CSX 2000 has been on display at the Shelby Heritage Center in the US city of Las Vegas, Nevada
The CSX 2000 is being auctioned along with a number of other Shelby models, including a 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 and a CSX 3178
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The CSX 2000 is being auctioned along with a number of other Shelby models, including a 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 and a CSX 3178
The RM Sotheby's auction at which the CSX 2000 will be for sale will be held from August 19th-20th in Monterey, California
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The RM Sotheby's auction at which the CSX 2000 will be for sale will be held from August 19th-20th in Monterey, California

Few models of car are as iconic as the Shelby Cobra and its story can be traced all the way back to one single vehicle: the CSX 2000. The prototype was built by Carroll Shelby himself in 1962 and is credited as sparking a revolution in sports car design. It is now set to go to auction.

The CSX 2000 is described by RM Sotheby's, which is handling the sale on behalf on the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust, as "the most important modern American car — period." The auctioneer's appropriately named car specialist Shelby Myers says the historical significance and impact on the global sports car scene cannot be overstated.

"In the automotive world, CSX 2000 was the shot heard around the world; it revolutionized not only American racing, but the greater auto industry as a whole," says Myers in a press release. "Had Carroll Shelby never decided to squeeze that high performance V8 into its engine bay, there would be no Cobra and certainly no Shelby American, nor GT40, nor the others that followed."

The V8 engine in question was a 260-cu in (4,260-cu cm) Ford small-block that was new at the time. It was dropped into the chassis of an AC Ace roadster in an attempt to take on the Corvette and the result was a voraciously high-performance two-seater wrapped up in body that is at once neat, tidy, elegant, smooth and flowing. Its 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) time was reputedly 4.2 seconds and its top speed 153 mph (246 km/h).

The CSX 2000 has been kept in its original condition
The CSX 2000 has been kept in its original condition

Once built, the CSX 2000 served a number of purposes, including as a development car, test car, press car and show car. It is said that, in order to convince the public that full production was underway, the prototype was repainted a different color for different appearances and press drives. This gave the impression that there was more than one of the models in circulation, when, in reality, it was the only one for seven months.

Despite never leaving Shelby's ownership during his lifetime, the CSX 2000 continued to appear in media features and tour shows. In 2012, to celebrate 50 years of the Shelby Cobra, along with the launch of the Cobra 289 FIA and 427 Cobra limited editions, it made a number of high-profile appearances, including at the likes of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Since then, it has been on display at the Shelby Heritage Center in the US city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Interestingly, it was Shelby's wish that the CSX 2000 be left in its original state and, according to Shelby American company historian Jim King, Shelby went so far as threatening to fire anyone who dared upgrade the upholstery. As such, many of its gauges don't work and its upholstery is in tatters. "In fifty-four years no-one has dared touch it — it is the way it was," says King in an interview with RM Sotheby's. "That is really part of the aura of CSX 2000. It is as original as you can get it."

The CSX 2000 never left Carroll Shelby's ownership during his lifetime
The CSX 2000 never left Carroll Shelby's ownership during his lifetime

The CSX 2000 is being offered for auction by by the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust, along with a number of the company's other notable models including a 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 and a CSX 3178. The auction will take place at RM Sotheby's in Monterey, California, from August 19th-20th.

In the video below, King talks about the history of the CSX 2000.

Source: RM Sotheby's

Shelby Cobra 'CSX 2000': The Shot Heard Round the World

2 comments
Calson
It did not take much to be competitive in the later 1960's against the Chevy Corvette. The races at the Riverside Raceway more often than not were one by people driving the Lotus Elan with an equivalent power to weight ratio to the Corvette, and even one Ford Falcon was outperforming the Chevy's on the race track.
worf2
i hope one 3d-scanned the car for future print purposes.