This very first Cobra, CSX2000, arrived in the United States in February 1962. It was personally picked up at the Los Angeles airport by Carroll Shelby and Dean Moon before being brought back to Moon’s shop, where they installed the 260-ci V8 Ford engine with a Ford gearbox in a matter of hours. And with that, CSX2000 was running.
The entire company’s finances rested on this prototype — and securing a successful deal for Shelby American that involved AC Cars and Ford. One of the car’s earliest functions was as a press car. What the press failed to realize was that every Shelby Cobra in different colors was in fact the very same car — CSX 2000, repainted repeatedly in a stunt of Shelby’s own invention.
Sports Car Graphic was successfully won over, decisively stating, “We can safely say that it is one of the most impressive production sports cars we’ve ever driven.”
In June of that year, Car Life tested CSX2000, running an astonishing 4.2-second, 0–60 mph time. Road & Track accomplished the same for its September issue, recording a top speed of 153 mph with a standing quarter mile of 13.8 seconds at 112 mph.
In the years that followed, CSX2000 has remained an irreplaceable part of the Shelby organization. As the car sits today, it is breathtakingly original with the workmanship of Shelby American visible throughout.