Every year, the scene at Monterey Car Week grows in importance, intensity, and notoriety. There are the classic car shows, including the most famous of them all, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. There is historic racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Then there are the auctions (a highlight for many) which seem to push classic car values to new heights with each offer under the gavel.
One of the focal points this year is an ultra-exclusive collection of cars from one of the absolute legends of the business, Carroll Shelby. At the RM Sotheby’s Auction, to be held at the Portola Hotel & Spa in downtown Monterey, California the evenings of August 19–20, three cars from the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust and one from the Carroll Shelby Foundation will be offered for sale.
The mythical Shelby, a world-class racer and sports car designer/builder, passed away in 2012 at age 89. Among his many accomplishments were winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 and forming Shelby American in 1962, a custom vehicle manufacturing company that would go on to create the Shelby Cobra, Shelby GT350, and Ford GT40.
“When it comes to American sports cars, CSX 2000 is without peers.”
In terms of provenance, the CSX 2000, the first Shelby Cobra ever produced, would be a prized possession had it been in anyone’s garage. But on the auction block is the CSX 2000 owned, from new and until the day he passed, by the man himself.
“When it comes to American sports cars, CSX 2000 is without peers. Its historical significance and impact on the global sports car scene cannot be overstated,” said Shelby Myers, car specialist at RM Sotheby’s in a press release in advance of the sale. “In the automotive world, CSX 2000 was the shot heard ‘round the world; it revolutionized not only American racing, but the greater auto industry as a whole.”
Built in 1962 by Shelby and some fellow hot-rodders, the CSX 2000 project saw a 260 cubic inch Ford V8 placed into an AC Ace, a lightweight convertible sports car from England. While racing at Le Mans years earlier, Shelby took note of the speed and agility of the Ace; he rightly reasoned that a more powerful engine would make the car unbeatable at the track. The CSX 2000 is expected to fetch somewhere in the area of $2-million (U.S.) at auction.
The first Shelby Cobra may be the most prominent of the cars heading to auction, but the other three are nothing to sneeze at. The small collection also includes a 1999 Shelby Series I Roadster (the only car designed and engineered by Shelby from the ground up), a 1986 Dodge Shelby GLHS Omni, and a 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra CSX 3178, the latter two also owned by Shelby himself.
Photos (unless otherwise stated) by Darin Schnabel © 2016, courtesy RM Sotheby’s.