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RM Sotheby's set to auction first-ever Shelby Cobra

Chassis designation CSX 2000 has lived a long life in the hands of the Shelby estate, but now it's time for a changing of the guard.

Shelby Cobra CSX 2000
RM Sotheby's

There are special cars, and then there are special cars. The Shelby Cobra is a special car, but the first one ever made? That's something that belongs in a museum. But, instead of a museum, it's about to head to the auction block for the first time ever.

The first Cobra ever, chassis designation CSX 2000, was built in a garage in Santa Fe Springs, California. The Cobra is the result of Carroll Shelby taking a British-made AC Ace and replacing its beating heart with a 260-cubic-inch, 260-horsepower V-8 engine. It turned the thing into a damn hot rod, with a 4.2-second 0-to-60 time -- in 1962! With a car built in a shed!

Before the Cobra began production, Shelby used CSX 2000 for a wide variety of roles. It served as a development mule, a press loaner and a marketing vehicle. It was repainted several times to make it appear that production had already begun. For the first seven months of his marketing efforts, CSX 2000 was the only Cobra that Shelby had.

As such, the car isn't exactly in mint condition. The interior is worn to hell, and the paint is about as far from original as it gets. Yet, it's a piece of automotive history, and RM Sotheby's will be auctioning it off to the highest bidder. If I were a betting man, which I am, I'd wager that the highest bid will be very high, indeed.

Currently, the car exists as a centerpiece in the Shelby Heritage Center in Las Vegas. It's been in possession of the Shelby estate its entire life, so this auction will be the first time someone else can lay claim to its title. All I'll say is good luck trying to tame it.