WATCH | Legendary AC Cobra reborn for 2023
Six decades after the original, the roaring V8 sports car has been recreated in modern guise
With a shape as recognisable as the Coke bottle and the Eiffel Tower, the AC Cobra has been part of automotive lore since 1962. Generations of driving enthusiasts have found their happy place at the wheel of the roaring, roofless two-seater.
The car has spawned numerous replicas and "continuation cars” over the years but now, 61 years after its original launch, the legendary sports car has been reborn as the Cobra GT Roadster. Marking the return of a true automotive icon, the Cobra GT Roadster has been brought back by AC Cars, which holds the rights to the Cobra name and is Britain's oldest car manufacturer at 122 years old.
It is the same company that manufactured the original AC Cobra, which since 1962 was produced intermittently in both the UK and later the US, where it was sold as the Shelby Cobra and AC Shelby Cobra. In 1986 specialist sports car company Autokraft purchased AC Cars and developed the so-called Mk IV model, with around 480 examples built.
At a recent global premiere in London, AC Cars unveiled the new Cobra GT Roadster in left and right-hand drive versions powered by a thundering 5.0l V8 engine. Just 250 examples are expected to be built for worldwide markets every year, with the first year of production already allocated.
Official unveil of the new AC Cobra GT Roadster Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - London 19-23 April 2023
David Conza, CEO of AC Cars, said the Cobra GT Roadster is a cutting-edge modern sports car, produced using the latest technology and engineering processes, yet remains faithful to the spirit of the AC Cobra of the 1960s.
“It delivers the timeless style of the original model, yet provides the vehicle dynamics and performance you would expect from a modern, hand-built sports car,” he said.
The design is true to the original car but features a modern carbon-composite body over an aluminum spaceframe chassis, weighing in at under 1,450kg. The original Cobra had a steel tube frame clad in aluminium body panels.
The new car’s cabin accommodates drivers well over 1.82m tall, thanks to the 2,750mm wheelbase growing 284mm over the AC Cobra Mk VI, while the car’s overall length has grown 110mm, up to 4,225mm. The track has been increased for a wider stance, which, along with the car’s weight distribution and centre of gravity, benefits handling and agility.
As per tradition the new GT Roadster draws on a big V8 engine to deliver the speed and soundtrack expected of a Cobra. Available in two configurations, the new GT Roadster comes with either a naturally aspirated or supercharged Ford 5.0l V8 engine, respectively firing outputs of 338kW and 488kW to the rear wheels.
The supercharged version is capable of covering the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.4 seconds while the naturally aspirated car does the feat in 4.5 seconds. Top speeds are respectively quoted at 278km/h and 250km/h.
Two gearboxes are available: a six-speed manual gearbox for purists or a 10-speed automatic gearbox with steering-wheel mounted shift paddles. The supercharged model has more powerful brakes, with larger front and rear discs.
The new AC Cobra GT Roadster uses custom rims developed specifically for the car, using centre-lock style caps covering a conventional five-stud hub. The supercharged model rides on lightweight 21-inch rims, and both versions grip the road with high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres. Optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slicks offer a track-orientated alternative.
The AC Cobra GT Roadster’s exclusive cabin features bespoke details and unique hand finished elements that respect the car’s heritage. The interior blends old and new, with the fascia containing traditional analogue gauges and metal toggle switches, while the infotainment system is a modern touchscreen.
The Cobra is priced at £285,000 (about R6.9m) and is available to order for clients worldwide at accars.eu.
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