Automotive AC Cobra_Shelby_Classic 1965 model

Published on August 21st, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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AC Cobra Gets An Electric Heart

The AC Cobra needs no introduction. 

The iconic partnership of American tuner Carroll Shelby and British auto manufacturer AC Cars has lead to this tiny British sports car with its massive American V8 to be the the epitome of the American hot rod. Being in the same ranks as the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Charger. 

AC Cobra side profile

However, even with this symbol of American freedom in its lineup, AC Cars closed its doors some time in the early 80s, like much of the British car industry back then. Happily, the AC is back in business, making updated versions of the iconic sports car. 

AC Cobra rear view

Jumping straight into what everyone wants to know. Yes, the revived Cobra still comes with a fire-breathing V8 engine. Unlike the Cobras of old however that were powered by Ford V8s, underneath this new Cobra is a supercharged 6.2 litre V8 from GM. 

AC Cobra V8 engine option

If the V8 sounds a bit too environmentally damaging though, there is also an EV version of the Cobra available for the environmentalists. 

BHP Banner

Powered by a 230kW (304bhp) electric motor and 54kWh battery pack, this 1250 kg EV roadster might not be as fast as the lighter V8 version, especially with a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds and only a 190 km/h top speed. But the instant acceleration thanks to its EV powertrain might be able to convince you otherwise. A 240 km range on a single charge is also a reasonable figure, even when compared to purpose built modern EVs. 

AC Cobra Mk111 version

Those however who are adamant for a Ford engine under the hood of the revived Cobra is also catered for, as there is an option for a Mustang engine to be fitted in this American hot rod. But it is not the engine one might normally associate with American muscle, because the only Ford engine option for this reborn Cobra is the 2.3 litre Ecoboost turbocharged four cylinder. 

That being said, this ‘Charter Edition’ Cobra does make 350 hp and perhaps more comforting is the fact that this is the cheapest of the three variants at £85,000 (RM 472,000). 

The V8 Cobra meanwhile starts from £129,500 (RM719,000), and the EV version costs a whopping £138,000 (RM765,000). 

One also does not get that much in terms of modern features, even with that eye-watering price.

AC Cobra 2020 model

Underneath, although there is modern brakes, modern electronics and modern power steering; the ladder-frame chassis on which everything is bolted onto is a 60 year old design, albeit a tad modernised to accommodate the modern powertrain. 

The interior too is retains its traditional aesthetic. Modern leather, deep pile carpets and even the option of air-conditioning does not disguise the fact that the interior design is from a different era. Especially with its low bucket seats, wood rim steering wheel, lack of side windows or even exterior door handles. 

The exterior styling is also barely different from Cobras of the past. The body for the V8 powered Cobras are based on the meaner-looking later generation Cobras, whereas the 2.3 litre and EV variants wears the cleaner, more rounded lines of the first generation cars built in 1962. 

The retro aesthetic though is the whole point of the revived Cobra. Judging by the countless Cobra kit cars and replica available, the iconic shape is the reason why everyone loves and wants a Cobra.

And to those who actually want to live the dream of owning one of these iconic American hot rods, these reborn Cobras are available now for a limited number only. 

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