England-based AC brings back the Cobra with electric or Mustang power

It's the car Carroll Shelby turned into his first hot rod

AC Cobra Electric
  • AC Cobra Electric
  • AC Cobra Electric
  • AC Cobra Electric

England-based AC is bringing back the Cobra to capitalize on the growing demand for resto-modded classics. Although the roadster is more commonly associated with Carroll Shelby, it traces its roots to a British design.

The modern-day Cobra looks just like the 1962 original inside and out, down to the wire wheels and the analog instrumentation, but keeping it period-correct wasn't one of the company's priorities. Without being terribly specific, AC noted it upgraded the steering and the brakes (among other components) to deliver the ride and handling that drivers expect from a car made in 2020, without compromising the convertible's early 1960s flair. While the Cobra arrived in 1962, the Ace it was based on was launched in 1953, so its style transcends decades.

Motorists who want a Cobra without the exhaust note can order an electric powertrain that consists of a 54-kilowatt-hour battery pack that zaps a 308-horsepower electric motor into motion. Its peak torque output is rated at 368 pound-feet, though the continuous figure delivered by the motor stands at 184. With a full charge, the 2,755-pound Cobra takes 6.7 seconds to reach 62 mph from a stop, and has up to 150 miles of driving range.

Alternatively, enthusiasts uncomfortable with the idea of electrifying a vintage car can order a variant of the Cobra named 140 Charter Edition that's equipped with a turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder borrowed from the Ford Mustang. It's tuned to develop 350 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, and it sends the 2,425-pound Cobra from zero to 62 mph in approximately 6 seconds. The EcoBoost shifts through a six-speed manual.

AC explained it will celebrate the Cobra's 58th birthday by making 58 electric examples and 58 gasoline-burning models. Roadsters equipped with a battery pack cost £138,000, while those fitted with a gas tank start at £85,000, figures that represent roughly $171,000 and $105,000, respectively. Deliveries will start in late 2020.

These figures are about on par with what other companies charge for a modern-day Cobra. Shelby priced the CSX-7000 at $96,000 when it's ordered with a fiberglass body, and $181,000 when customers select an aluminum-bodied models. Buyers need to source the engine and the transmission separately, however. Superformance, which has a licensing deal with Shelby, set the MKIII-R's price at $80,000, though it doesn't come with an engine, either. It's a little rarer than other replicas because annual production is capped at 20 units.

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