Complete AC Cobra lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1985 AC Cobra (Mk IV) - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1990 - 2001 AC Cobra CabrioletCobra (Mk IV)7 Trims 225 to 370 Hp

The AC Cobra is a two-door roadster made from 1962 to 1967 by AC Cars based in Thamas Ditton, England. This was sold in the United States as the AC Shelby Cobra (or just Shelby Cobra) and was a collaborative effort between AC Cars and Shelby American. AC Cars is still around today and the AC Cobra is making a comeback with innovative technology as an all-electric version.

AC Cobra - Carol Shelby Touch

When Carroll Shelby expressed his desire to tuck a powerful V-8 into the existing AC Ace platform, he created a special moment in automative history that still grabs generation after generation of fans.  The AC Ace roadster and its coupe sibling the AC Aceca both utilized 2.0L engine options throughout the late 1950s and into the early 1960s. While the AC-designed engine was still peppy for the lightweight vehicles, it wasn’t until they received the widely acclaimed Bristol straight-6 engine that those vehicles really took off, making the scene at various racing circuits around the world. Eventually, a retired American racing driver named Carroll Shelby would reach out to AC Cars to find out if they would create a customized vehicle with their platform. But instead of the smaller straight-6, he wanted to go with a higher displacement American powerhouse. As luck would have it, the Bristol engines that were previously used had just been discontinued and AC Cars needed a new engine. Mr. Shelby first turned to Chevrolet, but they declined due to concerns about creating a competition to its popular Corvette. Since Ford had no similar offering, they agreed to provide a new Windsor 3.6L V-8 engine with lightweight thin-wall construction in the small-block engine. And the rest was history.

First AC Shelby Cobra

Chassis number CSX2000 was the first AC Ace 3.6 prototype using the Ford engine. By moving the steering box aside, the engine was able to fit into the relatively small hood space. A new, stronger Salisbury 4HU differential was also utilized to handle the increased power. The production model included inboard brakes and a relocated fuel filter. AC completed, painted, and trimmed the vehicles before shopping them to Los Angels for the engine and transmission installation. Some were also finished by Ed Hugus in Pennsylvania. After the first 75 units were produced, they switched over to an even bigger 4.7L V-8 engine. In 1962, rack and pinion steering was brought to the AC Cobra, designated as Mark II, which had approximately 528 units produced from 1963 to 1965. AC also produced their own Cobras to sell in Europe, making sure to meet the requirements of the Shelby American counterpart. While AC was still its own business, it seems the Carroll Shelby influence might have dominated a bit deeper than other collaborations had done. Eventually, Mr. Shelby would also tinker with a 6.4L big block engine, but it was quoted as virtually underivable at first. The Mark III was designed in cooperation with Ford in Detroit on an entirely new chassis. Various other variants have been brought to the market over the years as this Shelby Cobra became to grow into worldwide fame. 

AC Cobra Electric

Today’s AC Cars’ Cobra was first re-introduced as an electric roadster with 308 horsepower and a 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) time of 6.7 seconds. While these numbers are pleasing to many, they aren’t really keeping up with the insane performance figures put out by other electric vehicles. Thankfully, those seeking more power can still choose an AC Cobra. They have now released the AC Cobra Series 4 and it has all the power you could want, especially in such a small package that only weight 2,624 lbs. You’ll likely have to worry about keeping the rubber firmly planted on the road with its 617 horsepower and 738 lb ft of torque, showing that this little beast now means serious business and likely many trips to the tire warehouse. The 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) time has dropped to a respectable 3.8 seconds. It has a 54 kWh battery pack and a range of 200 miles. The electric motor is now supplied by Falcon Electric, who has tweaked the performance of this roadster to the impressive figures mentioned. The $223,000 price tag also gets pretty serious.