AC is building new Cobras with battery power or Ford four-cylinders
The British firm that teamed with Shelby to make one of the most iconic sports cars ever is taking that roadster down a more environmentally friendly road
Iconic British carmaker AC is reviving what could be described as the most famous sports car ever built, the Cobra, as an EV or fuel-sipping four-cylinder.
Of course, the cars it’ll build aren’t really Cobras, they’re technically “Ace” convertibles — that was the model’s name in the ’60s before Carroll Shelby replaced AC’s ancient straight-six with a Ford V8 and put the name “Cobra” on it.
But AC is calling them Cobras anyway, since it’s pulling off a similar swap to once again add more power to the Ace’s platform, although this time that swap might not be what you’d expect.
The new car can be ordered in one of two variants: either as the AC Cobra Series 1 electric; or the AC Cobra 140 Charter Edition.
The electric version features a 230-kW (308-horsepower) motor that offers 369 lb.-ft. of torque at its peak. It only takes 6.7 seconds to get to 100 km/h, and battery capacity is listed as 54 kWh. Unfortunately, the batteries make it quite heavy, almost 1,250 kg. Luckily your wallet will be pretty light to compensate, because the EV costs £138,000 (CDN$233,000).
The 140 Charter Edition is a little more interesting, as it follows in the footsteps of the original Cobra, adding a Ford-sourced 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder. Before you cry and say you’d rather have a V8, the four-pot in this AC makes 354 horsepower and 324 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s 134 more horsepower than the original hi-po 289-cube Ford V8 made in 1966. Zero to 100 km/h happens a little faster than the electric version, at around 6.0 seconds, thanks to the curb weight of 1,100 kg. Base price is £85,000 (CDN$144,000).
Just 58 of each type will be produced, a number chosen for the 58 years since the car was first produced in 1962. Both versions also have upgraded brakes, steering, and other amenities to make it more manageable to drive.
We understand reviving an automotive icon such as the Cobra as an EV is sure to ruffle some feathers, but really, it’s just history repeating itself, when you think about it. If you happen to buy one of these and don’t like the electric or four-cylinder powertrain, buy a set of spanners and Shelby-ify it yourself!
Driving.CA – Alex Reid