AC Cobra returns – but it’s no Shelby

AC Cars Cobra GT Roadster

The Cobra is making a comeback, but is doing it with a twist.

The Shelby Cobra is an iconic American muscle car that helped create the legend of Carrol Shelby and his empire. But it wouldn’t have been possible without a small British car company called AC Cars.

That’s because the Shelby Cobra was based on the AC Ace, a very English roadster from the 1960s that used a six-cylinder engine rather than the V8 Shelby shoe-horned in. But now, in 2023, AC Cars is bringing back the Cobra by itself and is doing it with V8 power.

AC Cars Cobra GT Roadster

The company has revealed details and renders of its modern take on the Cobra – officially called the AC Cars Cobra GT Roadster – and it features all the classic styling cues but with a modern powertrain underneath.

In fact, in a nod to the ties between Shelby and Ford, the powertrain appears to be lifted from the Ford Mustang, with a Coyote 5.0-litre V8 paired to either a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission. The engine is tuned to make 487kW of power and 780Nm of torque and with an aluminium chassis keeping weight below 1500kg AC Cars claims the new Roadster will take just 3.4 seconds to run 0-100km/h and keep going all the way to 278km/h.

AC Cars Cobra GT Roadster

There are some other modern touches too, such as a more ergonomically designed interior with digital technology but there are also analogue gauges to maintain a level of retro style.

The final production-ready version of the new Roadster will be revealed in April and the company has begun taking orders already, ahead of first deliveries beginning in 2024. This new-age muscle car doesn’t come cheap though, with an asking price of £285,000 (approx. $510,000).

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