This exceptionally rare car made history at the Pebble Beach auctions

The very first Shelby Cobra just broke the record for the most expensive American car sold at auction at Pebble Beach on Friday.

Pebble Beach is a five-day vintage car show in Monterey, California, that kicked off Wednesday, with bidding beginning this weekend. The five different auctions occurring are expected to bring in $US370 million.

The original Cobra just sold for a whopping $US13.75 million, breaking the record held by a 1968 Ford GT40 race car that sold for $US11 million in 2012. Here’s a closer look at the car and why it’s so valuable:

Meet the 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX 2000 -- the very first Shelby Cobra ever made.

It's got a bit of a rugged look, but that's part of the charm. After all, this is the car that put American sports cars and racing on the main stage.

RM Sotheby's

The car was created by Carroll Shelby, one of the most influential people in the auto industry. His career started as a racer in 1952. He was so talented that he won the 1959 Le Mans 24-Hour race only seven years into his racing career.

Shelby ended his racing career after that Le Mans win due to health issues, but shortly after he launched auto company Shelby-American.

RM Sotheby's

And this car right here is the very first Shelby Cobra that company made.

RM Sotheby's

It was the first time Shelby fitted a giant, American V8 motor into a little British sports car.

RM Sotheby's

And the car performed beautifully. The year it was released, the Shelby Cobra reached a top speed of 153 mph and got to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.

RM Sotheby's

It was the only Cobra in existence for a solid seven months.

And its success is what allowed Shelby-American to thrive. The company was able to employ over 500 people within five years.

RM Sotheby's

But more importantly, the success of the Shelby Cobra kicked off the company's relationship with Ford.

RM Sotheby's

Shelby and Ford would go on to build the Shelby Daytona, pictured below, the design of which was loosely based on the Shelby Cobra. The Shelby Daytona was the first American car to win a international title at the World Sportscar Championship in 1965.

But it was the little Shelby Cobra that made the win possible, legitmising American racing and sports cars.

RM Sotheby's

Carroll Shelby owned the car until he died in 2012 at the age of 89.

RM Sotheby's

Now it's been sold to a new owner for $13.75 million.

Correction: A previous version of this article said the Shelby Daytona won the 1964 24 hours of Le Mans. It also said the original Shelby Cobra was the only one in existence for five months instead of seven.

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