In September, AC Cars announced that it will be building nine new Cobras for a project which the automaker has called the ‘legacy’ series.
The nine Cobras will be built with the exact same specifications as the original 1962 AC Cobra – which means that each one will be handcrafted from aluminum using the original tooling that was once used to build the original Cobra. Also, only two colors will be made available – blue and yellow, shades which once gave life to the original Cobra. The cars, dubbed the AC Cobra Mk1 260 Legacy Edition, will all feature identical bodies and left-hand driving. Production is set to start by the end of the year with AC targeting to make its first delivery of these £500,000 (roughly $670,000) cars by mid-2017.
Aside from creating the nine “legacy” cars, AC Cars is also planning to restart its production of the Cobra next year.
How is this possible, you ask? Well, there’s a law called the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act which allows small car automakers to produce a limited number (a maximum of 325 units) of replica cars per year. This allows low volume motor vehicle manufacturers to reproduce vehicles (aged 25 years and beyond) in small volumes without having to go through the hassle of expensive certification processes of mass manufacturers and with the provision that the engine used in these replicas meet modern-day emission standards.
The brand-new Cobra will be called the AC Cobra 378 in the UK as a reference to its V8 engine’s capacity – that is, 378 cubic inches or approximately 6.2-liters. The Cobra 378 will come in two versions – a naturally aspirated 440-horsepower version and a supercharged 550-horsepower one.
AC Cars owner Alan Lubinsky said in an interview with Auto Car that the company will use the MKIV model for the new Cobra’s base. Furthermore, the new Cobra will be sold for not more than £100,000 (more than $124,000). The price would somewhat be right as it will come with an electronic control unit (ECU) as well as a modern gear box, powered steering and brakes and an optional air conditioning system.
Lubinsky describes the new Cobra as a “quasi-modern car” because it retains the classic feature of the original Cobra while incorporating modern technology to compete in the market. As significant as its upgrades may be, the underlying hardware – its chassis and surrounding parts – are exactly as it was on the original but with modern mechanical functions.
The reborn Cobra or the Cobra 378 (as we will start to call it) will see production a little later than the nine ‘legacy’ cars as it is expected to start early 2017. Deliveries in the UK will commence immediately after the first Cobra 378 comes out of its production sites. US buyers might have to wait a little longer, though, since a launch date is yet to be confirmed. It will then be sold as the Autokraft MKIV Classic in the US. Until then, we’ll be on tiptoes for the first few glimpses.