- Published: Thursday, 30 May 2013 10:46
- Written by Ben David T Quirk
AC Cobra history
AC & Carroll Shelby
Not many cars have had the same track record & inspiration as the AC Cobra in the mid 60's, mind you Dodge the people behind the Viper have recreated this many times through various replica models. AC worked by placing the biggest engine possible in the lightest frame, and dressing the car as a two seater sports car with definition and character, no roof and fun on country roads.
The AC Cobra company emerged back in 1901, the first car didn't actually materialise till 1953 with the intro of the second generation model. Renown motoring engineer John Tojeiro started to create his own two seater sports car, the model was based on the Ferrari 166 Barchetta (aka The Little Boat). The car was flying, but it wasn't how it should have been, the racing model needed more power.
The firstly choice was a 2.7 V8, then a 4.2 was chosen. These engines were the work of Carroll Shelby who was greatly impressed by all of AC Cobra's cars racing in the US, powered by there either Bristol or MG engines.
However AC soon realised a 4.2 or even a 4.7 wasn't enough, they needed more power, over 350 BHP. A V8 with a seven litre capacity was needed pushing the 427 upto 485 BHP. Modifications were fitted to allow the car to cope including widening it and upgrading the shocks and springs.
This range of cars in the 1950's were the epitomy of racecars, by the 1960's and 70's the AC Cobra 427 and others started to show there age compared to modern autos such as the Lotus Elan. There cars lacked modern refinements however there performance was amazing 0 - 100 in under 13.7 secs. The competition version the 427 had 580 BHP and could accelerate to 100 mph in under 10 seconds. One of the most defining features was its side exit exhausts. Tojeiro's soon became part of AC's evolution, usually driven by MG or Bristol engines, when he sold one of his engine designs to the company.
These automobiles are now a very rare marque, only a few exist. The car was made famous yet again through its appearance in the film Twin Town filmed in Swansea starring Rhys Iffans. This British racing car truly made its mark.