The AC Cobra (better known as the Shelby Cobra), is one of the most iconic sports cars of the 60s and arguably the greatest Anglo-American collaboration since D-Day… But these days, they’re pretty hard to get one’s hands on. Well, not any more.
THAMES DITTON, SURREY, ENGLAND – The Cobra’s genesis is a genuine automotive legend. In September 1961, American retired race car driver and automotive designer Carroll Shelby wrote to specialist British car marker AC asking if they would modify one of their AC Ace roadsters to fit a V8 engine. After some ringing around, Ford got involved: they wanted a car that could rival the Chevrolet Corvette, and they had a brand-new V8, the now-hallowed Windsor, ready to go…
In short, it was a match made in heaven: a small, beautifully sculpted British roadster with a stonking big V8 slapped in it and not much else? It had no choice but to be an amazing car. From 1962 to 1967, AC and Shelby made just under 1,000 Cobras, but despite this, it became an icon.
In the years since its production run, numerous different ‘continuation cars’ – authorised reproductions of the Cobra – as well as replica and kit car makers have all continued producing Cobras, some more ‘pure’ than others. You can get a replica for around $20,000 to $30,000, but a genuine Cobra? You’re talking over $1 million.
But what about a brand-new Cobra, made by its original creators, with all the best modern tech in a classic body? Sounds pretty good to us, and that’s exactly what the reborn AC Cars is doing over in England.
The new AC Cobra GT Roadster might resemble the original Cobra, but it’s a very different beast under the skin. Speaking of its skin: rather than the alloy body of the original, the new Cobra has a carbon/composite body placed on an extruded aluminium chassis.
Like the original, a big Ford V8 sits up front, but rather than the venerable Windsor, it now has the 5.0 L Coyote V8 from the modern Ford Mustang, which has been supercharged to deliver an impressive 488 kW and 780 Nm of torque. The result? 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds. Carroll Shelby would approve.
Buyers will have the choice of either a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic gearbox (likely the same box that’s in the Mustang). Once launched, a four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine is also likely to be on the cards, for those who don’t need quite so many horses.
AC Cars says it expects pricing of the Cobra GT Roadster to kick off at £285,000 (~AU$510,000) and they will be exporting it, but haven’t explicitly confirmed that it’ll be coming Down Under just yet, Carsales reports. Find out more about the AC Cobra GT Roadster here.