AC aka Autocarrier is the British car company most famous for creating the AC Ace. To some of you that name resonates along with the most hallowed names in automotive history. The rest of you who are slightly confused and fail to recognize the AC Ace name it will all make sense shortly. The AC Ace was the little British sportscar that rocked a fairly potent straight 6 engine. This engine was the very same engine Carol Shelby ripped out and stuffed in a Ford V8. It only takes one glance but you immediately recognize the shape. With Shelby’s help most Americans simply know the Ace as the Cobra. The car that launched the Shelby legend.
The little car based on a classic British sports car with the American V8 heart, built in a garage would go on to best the might of the world. You all know the legend of the Cobra, a car that is the most copied car of all time. The Cobra’s beautiful simplicity made it an instant hit with kit car companies. Go to just any car show or drive night and it is highly likely that you will see one. Ford and Shelby even built more Cobras in 2014 with a run of 50 cars to celebrate the 5oth anniversary of the original 427 Cobra.
Thing of it is AC never really went away. The ownership changed hands several times but the company remains today and they’re still churning out brand new Cobras. Now owned by the Germans AC will sell you a brand new classic Cobra with everything that made the original great (except a Chevy now calls the engine bay home) Sacrilege to some, but simply put if you want a powerful American V8 these days without spending a fortune you turn to Chevy. Plus the original Cobra concept was big American V8 in a small European car. This modern car with the classic shape is called the MkIV GT.
If 437 horsepower is a bit tame, a bit common for you AC will sell you something completely bat shit insane. It is called the MkIV GTSR and it features a carbon fiber body it only weighs 995 Kg (2193.6 lbs). The power comes from a supercharged, race prepared 6.2 liter V8 and chucks out a pants browning 780 horsepower. That is an insane amount of power in a car that small. For perspective one of the brand new IMSA DPi Prototype race cars weighs in at 930 Kg but only makes 600ish horsepower. Do the math, that gives the GTSR a better power to weight ratio than fully modern purpose built Prototype racing cars. Combine the Cobra’s famously short wheelbase and while on paper it sounds like 10 different forms of awesome, in reality this car will kill if the driver isn’t paying attention.
But to some, you may have known this, even a cursory Google search would reveal AC is still making Cobras. What really caught my eye was something I read this morning during my typical morning routine where I wake up and check in on the automotive news of the day. This morning I happened upon an article on DailySportscar previewing the new machinery coming to the GT4 class in 2017. GT4 is the baby brother to the hugely popular GT3 and in 2017 GT4 is set for a massive explosion of new machinery. Brand new cars like the McLaren 570, Mustang GT350, BMW M4 will all make their GT4 debuts this season. Mercedes and Audi are even getting in on the fun with GT4 versions of their AMG GT and R8. This influx of high-end machinery is huge all by itself, however one piece of the article blew the rest clean out of the water.
Simply put there is a very strong possibility of AC returning with one of their modern Cobras to international motorsport. Thats right AC is bringing the Cobra back to where it has always belonged, the race track! DailySportscar did point out that AC has hinted at a modern racing Cobra before and failed to deliver. However, the new GT4 Cobra is set to be revealed at the Autosport Show in Birmingham, England later this month. With the rise in the quality machines making their way into GT4 the proposed Cobra would be going up against some of the world’s best, exactly as it should be.