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Car of the Month - August

Car of the Month

The AC Cobra

Undoubtedly one of the most Iconic British cars of all time, the AC Cobra holds its place in the history books for being a beautifully designed sports car, as well as a lightning fast race car. The Cobra has its origins back in the 1950s, as people were starting to feel less restricted from the worries of the post war period. Under direction of the Hurlock brothers it was decided to move away from the saloon cars that we being produced, in order to build more exciting cars. As the American market also started to show signs of interest in British sports cars there was all the more reason to develop something special.

The AC company benefited from being graced with some of the finest designers of the era. John Tojeiro was influential in the design of the AC Ace, which was the immediate predecessor of the Cobra. Tojeiro’s race car designs were adopted by AC, and after transforming the car into something a little more suitable for the road going population, the Ace was born. Then at the beginning of the '60s, in walked Carroll Shelby. After retiring from racing Carroll wanted to build cars, and I think we are all extremely happy that he chose that path. With some of the ultimate muscle cars coming from Shelby in the '60s, the AC and later the Shelby Cobra were probably top of the list.

One of the exciting components that added to the Cobra aura of prowess was its impressive V8 engine. The Ford 260 cubic inch power unit produced a standard 165 bhp at 4500rpm, but after Carroll was able to get his hands on it the power was boosted to 260 bhp at 5800rpm. Although nothing like this had been fitted to the AC chassis before it was sure to produce exciting results. Further increasing the bore size to 4 inches, Ford were able to supply the V8 as a 289 cubic inch engine which allowed a higher power output. Some of these cars were able to achieve up to 400 bhp as many onwers began to race prepare their cars with special parts and modifcations. The Shelby 427 Cobra became the ultimate muscle car. With changes such as swapping the leaf springs for coil suspension, and the change from wire to alloy wheels (not to mention the monstrous 700lb engine), the Shelby 427 became the epitome of the development of a powerful sports car.

Although the various model designations may have become a little mixed up over the years, possibly because of the low production numbers and the constant changes to the cars, most enthusiasts could only dream of meeting any of them. For the purposes of the Car of the Month we shall stick with this model that we were very proud to help to victory in the 2014 French Lick Concours d’Elegance.

This 289 Cobra, with chassis number CSX 2401 was restored to its original condition over the last 27 years. For the majority of that time the owner was collecting parts, and for nearly 6 years the car has been disassembled for restoration. The owner had the task of bringing the car as close to the original specification as possible. The very first AC Cobras were fitted with a very deep well wire wheel, the same rim that was used for the steel Range Rover wheels. These of course were not ideal for wire wheels, and added unnecessary weight. Although early cars were released with painted wires, they were soon to be fitted with a chrome wheel. Production of these wheels ceased with the production of the original cars, but MWS have been supplying the replacement ever since using a lighter, more suitable rim. The Judges at the French Lick were pleased to see these on the car and went some way to help the car win.


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