Thursday, August 30, 2012

Car of the Week: AC Cobra

AC Cobra 1961-67

These cars were special when they were built and are still special today. It is an aggressive car with wonderful looks. This was in a time when there were amazing looking cars (Austin Heallys, Astin Martins, Triumphs, Morgans, Alfas, etc) but none of them could be considered aggressive performance wise. This car is a result of Carroll Shelby realizing this discrepancy. He started with a beautiful British sports car, the AC Ace, and shoehorned in a series of American V-8's. The smallest was a 4.3 liter and the largest being the 7 liter (427cubic inch) monster. These cars were fast, and they looked great. The main reason for the speed was the car's light weight. It was built with a tube frame chassis and covered with aluminum body work. With little creature comforts and no top the car was 500 lbs. less than the Corvette of the time. More horse power also helped...

The original AC Ace that the Cobra was based on. Photo from

The speed is not the only reason these cars are so desirable.  It is a great looking car and it sounded great. Current prices for a real Cobra are in 2 million dollar range. The main reason for this are the low production numbers. There were only 316 Cobras made and only 31 of those being the race engine 427. I know that I will never be able to afford one... or can I?
Real Cobra. Photo from

Because of the low production numbers and the extremely desirable nature of the car, there is a booming kit market for Cobras for people that want one but can't afford the real thing (...yeah, that would be me).There are literally dozens of companies that sell kits of every possible level. Aluminum bodies, and fiberglass bodies, with engines or without and most of them are very true to the original. This just gets my juices flowing; thinking about all the engine possibilities, wheel choices, and interiors ideas. Sure they end up costing 30 K but that will get you a nicer car than some of the original Cobras that had transverse leaf spring suspension (Yeah, I know! Ewe.)
Nice example of one of the kits available. Photo from

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