Advertisement

AC Cobra

American car designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby was at the heart of the AC Cobra, despite the British badge on the bonnet.

American car designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby was at the heart of the AC Cobra, despite the British badge on the bonnet. Shelby saw the opportunity for the beautiful AC Ace, which had previously been using a straight-six engine, to be fitted with a powerful V8 engine. Ford, seeing the opportunity for a Corvette rival, offered Shelby a 4.2-litre V8, which was fitted to the Ace - and the Cobra was born.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The lightweight body and thumping V8 combined to create an incredibly fast car - even now, the Cobra has a fearsome reputation for having a huge turn of speed without any driving aids to reign it all in. The car was even fitted later on with a 7.0-litre V8 engine, plus a restyled body with huge flared wheel arches. With 425bhp and only weighing about a tonne, it was a seriously fast car - in fact, one was recorded at 186mph on the M1 motorway in 1964 (before the 70mph speed limit was put into force).

The AC Cobra was developed into a Daytona Coupe version for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1964 - the fixed roof was needed to increase the car's top speed on the long Mulsanne Straight. It was all part of an effort to beat Ferrari on the track - and in the end the 190mph Coupe took victory in the GT class at the race.

Today, the AC Cobra is a rare and desirable classic car - but with many kit cars and replicas on the road, it can still be possible to experience the incredible power-to-weight ratio of this American-British crossover.

1. Ford Mustang2. Chevrolet Corvette3. Plymouth Road Runner Superbird4. Cadillac Eldorado5. Ford Model T6. AC Cobra7. Ford F-Series8. Tesla Model S9. Jeep Wrangler10. Lincoln Town Car

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

New Skoda Octavia vRS 2020 ride review
Skoda Octavia vRS Hatchback

New Skoda Octavia vRS 2020 ride review

We get our first taste of 242bhp Skoda Octavia vRS with Skoda tech development boss Christian Strube in the driver’s seat
10 Jul 2020
New Kia e-Niro 2020 review
Kia e-Niro SUV

New Kia e-Niro 2020 review

All-electric Kia e-Niro mid-sized SUV 
benefits from same updates as hybrid Niro versions
9 Jul 2020
New Cupra el-Born electric hot hatch offers 310-mile range
Cupra el-Born

New Cupra el-Born electric hot hatch offers 310-mile range

The sporty Cupra el-Born is the Spanish brand’s first all-electric vehicle – and it has a maximum claimed range of 310 miles
8 Jul 2020