AC Cars Builds a Modern Cobra With Coyote V-8 Power
AC Cars pulled the cover off an all-new AC Cobra GT Roadster, just a year after announcing the car's return. This thoroughly modern take on a legend combines vintage styling with nods to modernity. Perhaps most importantly, the car comes exclusively powered by a choice of two honking Ford V-8 engines.
While the Cobra name is inextricably linked to Shelby American on this side of the Atlantic, AC Cars's relationship with the project dates back to the Cobra's genesis. Shelby based the Cobra on the AC Ace, a roadster originally powered by a Bristol inline-six. AC was in the process of replacing the pre-war powertrain when they received a call from Carroll Shelby, who wanted an Ace modified to accept a V-8. While the Ace would ultimately live on until the 1963 model year with a new Ford-sourced inline-six, the V-8-powered Cobra collaboration was ready for 1962. While the cars were sold as Shelby products in the States, AC actually built and sold Cobras in Europe with instruction and approval from back home. It is only natural then that AC Cars is the one to bring the Cobra back to the old world with this latest project.
While the AC Cobra GT Roadster looks a lot like the classic model from afar, closer inspection reveals key differences. This new car is much larger than the original, four inches longer overall. The car’s wheelbase has stretched more than 11 inches and its track was widened too. The chassis itself is made from extruded aluminum and laid out in a space frame. The reworked body has been constructed from a carbon-composite material. It weighs just 110 pounds. AC Cars claims the car's stretched dimensions establish its GT character, while making it a more comfortable place for larger drivers. That extra size doesn't come without some penalties however, as this new Cobra tips the scales at just under 3200 pounds.
Under the hood, customers will choose between two 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 engines. A naturally-aspirated variant provides the Cobra with 454 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, while an optional supercharger can bring those figures up to 654 hp and 575 lb-ft. A six-speed manual transmission is the gearbox you should get, but a 10-speed automatic with paddles is offered. AC Cars says the supercharged variant is capable of a 0-60 mph sprint in just 3.4 seconds. For reference, in R&T’s September 1962 test, a 260 cubic-inch Cobra sprinted to sixty in 4.2 seconds.
The interior of AC's car features a retro design, but isn’t entirely faithful to the original. The beautifully trimmed seats and leather wrapped surfaces look upscale, while items like the center screen and push button starter remind you what era the car actually comes from. Losing some of the interior trimmings might have helped the car on the scales, but AC maintains this specific model is a GT car at heart. Only 250 units are slated for production each year, with every first-year model already spoken for. The cars are legal for road use in the U.K., but no pricing information is available at this point. Interested customers can fill out an inquiry form on the AC Cars website for more information.
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