There were a ton of absolutely insane cars at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction at Pebble Beach, but by far the most monumental was the first Ford Shelby Cobra prototype built on a CX2000 chassis.
The 1962 Cobra, which went on auction last Friday night, sold for a record-breaking $13.8 million, making it the most expensive American car ever to be sold at auction.
This 1962 Cobra holds with it an insane amount of history. Firstly, it was the first. It’s what launched Carroll Shelby’s career and his partnership with Ford. Shelby then went on to develop the Ford GT Le Mans race car, which went on to win four consecutive championships.
This 1962 Cobra is the predecessor to the GT, which was the hallmark for American automotive engineering on the world stage.
For the past five decades this 1962 Cobra was within Carroll Shelby’s estate, and was part of his personal collection. Even the torn up driver’s seat only added to the cars history, and probably had little to no influence on its value. After Shelby’s death in 2012, it was incorporated to the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust before it was moved over to the auction block.
The last record-holding American car to sell at auction was a 1968 Ford GT 40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight. Yes, it was the same Ford GT 40 to win at Spa and Le Mans and was driven by Jacky Ickx. It sold back in 2012 for $11 million.
Even today, Shelby’s influence is permeating through Ford design. Ford recently brought back the Ford GT to compete in Le Mans once again. And for years Ford has slapped the Shelby badge on its Mustang, but this year’s Shelby GT 350R is a monster of a machine and an even more miraculous drive. Shelby’s attention to detail is clearly alive within Ford.