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‘Born-again’ AC Cobra in production for NZ$150,000

on November 11 2016 | in Highlights, Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

Aluminium body shell for Cobra at AC Cars

Aluminium body shell for Cobra at AC Cars

British carmaker and restorer AC Cars has expanded its plan to build a handful of identical examples of the classic 1962 AC Cobra (above) to doing a ‘reborn’ version of the Cobra Mk4 for selected global markets.

It will be called the AC Cobra 378 and based on the model produced from the 1980s by America’s Autokraft. The car is already in production in Britain and first deliveries are expected next February. Price is likely to be around £90,000 (NZ$153,000).

AC Cobra 378 will come with a choice of two 6.2-litre Chevrolet V8 engines: a naturally aspirated one producing 330kW, or a supercharged one with 410kW. Both versions will get an electronic control unit (ECU), modern gearbox, power brakes, power steering and come with optional air conditioning.

Autokraft Cobra of the 1980s-90s

Autokraft Cobra of the 1980s-90s

“It’s a quasi-modern car, you can use it every day if you want,” AC Cars owner Alan Lubinsky told Britain’s Autocar. “It’s had significant upgrades but the underlying hardware – the chassis and surrounding parts – are essentially as they were before, just with more modern mechanicals.”

Production of the 378 will be unlimited, and it’ll be followed by a more user-friendly Cobra model in the next few years. “We are already working on another one that’ll be a really good car for more people,” said Lubinsky.

The 378 will also be available in the United States under that country’s Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act (LVMVMA), which allows small carmakers – like DeLorean, for example – to replicate cars built at least 25 years ago, as long as they use a modern engine that meets present-day emissions requirements.

Shelby never attempted to restore his own Cobra

Shelby never attempted to restore his own Cobra

“We are waiting for new US low-volume manufacturing rules to be finalised so we can sell the car there,” said Lubinsky. “The car will be sold in America as the Autokraft Mk4 Classic, like the popular 1980s model.”

Meantime, AC Cars is building nine examples of the 1962 Cobra, each one called the AC Cobra Mk 1 260 Legacy Edition and sharing the exact same specifications as the original owned by Carroll Shelby.

That means it will have the same hand-built aluminum body, twin-tube chassis, transverse-leaf spring front suspension, and live rear axle as the original Shelby version. Engines will be new 4.2-litre V8s. Price of the 260 Legacy Edition? Knocking on the door of NZ$1 million.

  • Shelby’s very own Cobra (top of page) was sold by the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust at auction in the US in August for US$13.75 million. It never left Shelby’s hands until he died in 2012. For 50 years he kept it painted blue and never restored it.


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