What is a Ford AC Cobra ?
The original Ford AC Cobra was a light weight, fast, 2 door open top roadster. It was light because it had an aluminium body, and it was fast because it had a Big Block v8 Engine. It's best described with a Photo.
Thanks to Phil and his beautifully finished C.R. ID 427 for this pic.
The original range of Ford AC Cobra's were built by Ford in the early 1960's and were the brainchild of Carol Shelby, a retired race car driver and later a builder of performance sports cars. Shelby's story is an interesting read and can be found here.
The Cobra itself was based on a little known roadster called the AC, that was built in England in the 1960s. Shelby's idea was to take a light weight European sports car and put a ford V8 in it and race it in touring car classes in North America and Europe, and try and beat the Ferrari's and Corvette's of the day. The Cobra was immensely successful and is sometimes referred to as the fastest production car of all time.
Only 600 or so Cobra's were ever built, and original's are very rare indeed. There are only a handful in Australia, and they are worth upwards of AUD$500,000.
Due to this rareness and cost, very few people can afford to own one, so an entire industry has sprung up producing "replica" Cobras. In Australia alone there are a dozen or so manufacturers of Cobra replicas and the quality, price and performance varies. Some are built on old Toyota Crown chassis' while others have completely custom built chassis - designed and engineered to be light and stiff and thus ideal for the ooccasional race day.
One thing is common between all of the replicas. A lightweight body, and a big V8 engine which of course delivers breathtaking straight line acceleration.
So why would anyone want a Cobra ?
There are many reasons but most people love the experience of open top motoring ,the exhilaration of hard acceleration and race car like handling.
You've got to drive one to understand it.
Imagine getting into a Mazda MX5, doubling the engine power and making it sound like a tank - and you're nearly there.