RM Sotheby's is calling this the most important modern American automobile.

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It's only an American automobile because Carroll Shelby had the wise idea to shove a V-8 into a British AC Ace chassis. The result is the first-ever Shelby Cobra.

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This, in fact, is the first-ever Cobra, with a chassis number of CSX 2000.

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The car was built in a California shed in 1962.

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CSX 2000 has lived a long life, serving as a press loaner, a marketing tool and a development mule.

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Shelby convinced folks that he was making multiple cars by painting CSX 2000 over and over again, for different events.

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Sporting a 0-to-60 time of 4.2 seconds, the Cobra was brutally quick for its day, despite having just 260 horsepower.

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The car has been with the Shelby estate for its entire life.

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Its current home is the Shelby Heritage Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Don't expect to walk away from auction with this car for anything less than a princely sum.

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