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AC Cobra. A kind of…

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Cobras are not an endangered species. It is full of them. For many people, such a Cobra is the ultimate sports car just because of its looks. And for the original copies with V8 blocks, amounts are now ticked off with seven digits.

Of course there were the original American copies

But Cobra breeders in the United States and just outside Europe, in England? There were and are bunches of suppliers of Cobra kitcars where there was everything under the hood from a 1600 Ford block to 7,2 liter V8s. Kent Motor Cars of England offered the RAM Cobra in the pictures with a tubular steel frame, as drawn by Formula 1 designer Adrian Reynard. This Cobra replica was made by Thunder Road Cars and they did their very best on it. His overcoat is Salisbury Blue, and the Cobra gray and blue interior and is provided with - again replica made - stickers from the correct time. The audio is provided by a tuned 5.7L V8 small block. And the car comes complete with a whole load of documentation, invoices and maintenance history.


The purebred Cobras

Only 1961 real Cobras were built from 1968 to 998. At the end of 1968, AC stopped production of the Ace body. They continued to produce AC Cobras for Shelby until 1968. It has always been an ongoing project developed and perfected over time. During production, both AC in England and Carroll Shelby in the US made modifications to the iconic roadster. It was either to improve performance or to reduce production costs.

So much loving craftsmanship comes at a price, of course

With respect for the approximately 100 current suppliers of Cobras: But they are actually replicas, of course. A significant part of it is equipped with Ford Pinto blocks or Rover V8s. In addition, the Pinto version is the cheapest, but the most in line with what the Cobra once had as a basis when it was just a British sports car as an AC. And what something like that looks like you can see in the photos of our Anglo Czech friend and international car broker Jan Kurty. The red Cobra is one that was made by Pilgrim and it has about 2 liter Ford Pinto engine with which it is brave enough and very usable.

All kitcars

If you see a Cobra in the wild in Europe now, it is not a real one. Unless he raises his head menacingly and hisses. Freedom is happiness and you do what you can. As a result, not all Cobra replicas are created equal. Over the years, manufacturers have made some really sloppy interpretations of this classic. Although the market forces have driven the worst vandals out of the market, as a Cobrareplica buyer you should do serious research before making a purchase. Worldwide there are about 100 (!) Suppliers of this piece in tribute to The Original.

In the special corner we find the replicas that are not made of polyester, but of aluminum and the BMW Z3s disguised as AC Cobra.

With the question whether all that beauty is still about classics, everyone can come to terms for themselves. But personally, we would find owning such a Tupperware Cobra, even with a Ford Pinto four-cylinder under the hood, as festive. By the way, we see prices in this segment between 15.000 - 150.000 euros.

The car broker and his loot

Z3 In fighting outfit

8 Comments

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  1. Here in Het Haagje we are, from April to, I thought October, every 1st Saturday of the month visited by an army of “USA cars”. The Cobras and the like “power stations” don't interest me that much.
    When I scurry around I always look for Stingrays. I think they are beautiful and they have a connection with Abarth, of which I can own one of them. The then Chevy chief took an Abarth 1500 to his hq to inspire his designers.

  2. In addition to the many kit cars, one exception, the Superformance; this is basically a continuation, the only one approved by Shelby and made in the same factory where the current Shelby's are made.

  3. Great fun stuff! I built one a long time ago (DAX) with one of the two original Ford V8s in it: the FE 428 (7 liters) with a Toploader 4-speed behind it. Drivetrain based on Jaguar, bombproof and quite a la original. So literally enjoy it, although in my case it was unfortunately far too short. By the way, those 428s were picked up by Caroll when the 427s were about to run out and well, that customer did not notice the difference with a 40hp was the reasoning 🙂 In any case, it saved a lot of money!
    The prices of the second hand replicas really don't make any sense anymore: ordinary Pilgrims with 2 or 4 cylinder for way too much money: then you have a Cobra based on Ford Granada chassis etc. In itself also a pleasant thing of course to “punish” with. but those prices make no sense anymore. There is still a small block Ford in it, which makes it much, much better, because a bit sad to hear the sound of a 6- or 4-cylinder with this car 🙂 There are of course some exceptions, but well. And yes, an aluminum Kirkham is of course very nice, but really expensive. A nice history of this with an original that was fully measured in an aircraft factory and then turned out to be quite asymmetrical. Almost all replicas actually come from the same Cobra (s) and there are therefore the same errors / inequalities in the bodywork. At the time they rented or borrowed a Cobra and it was then cheerfully put in a shed where a mold was taken. And so it came to be 🙂
    Nice stuff, that's for sure. So anyone who wants to share an unfinished project that can accommodate a big block V8, just give me a call 🙂

    • It is a serious business model. There is even a program on one of the TV channels. Seems like a buyer to me: “Find me a suitable wife” “And arrange a booth for the wedding night. Because I'm busy ”

  4. About five years ago, in Zaltbommel on the quay near the historic center, a whole nest of Cobras was shining, that it was a delight. A number of them had the hood open, revealing a whole host of Edelbrock stuff. Without any exception, they were all V8 blocks showing the fat muscles. A lot of 'bling bling' but that was fine because when the Cobra nest set course again, it sounded dangerous and the acceleration of some
    'show off's' was, as the sight suggests, downright impressive.
    So we could just marvel at all that fun!

  5. With stories like this you should not be surprised if someone who also thinks this is a great car, hits a bit of tilt when, during a refueling stop with a few mates just across the border, a whole column of Cobras suddenly comes to fill up at this gas station. A group of owners of American cars had a day out and there were no fewer than 8 Cobras. As riders of American motorcycles we of course immediately had enough to chat so that this was a very pleasant refueling stop. Unfortunately, the Cobr's were too far apart and between the other cars so that I could only get three in a photo at a time. But how beautiful that was.

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