What's a racing Cobra without a V8? AC will endeavour to find out…
By Matt Bird / Friday, October 30, 2020
The Cobra story is famous enough that we all know the car simply wouldn't have existed without a V8; the AC Ace would have run its course, and Ford would be very slightly less cool. Thanks to Carrol Shelby, the engine configuration is as inextricably linked with the car as chicken it to Colonel Sanders – you can't think of one without the other. But the world changes: KFC will now sell you an original recipe vegan burger. And AC Cars is going to make a BEV Cobra.
Yep, the Le Mans Electric is coming next year, "a new and remarkable chapter" for the Cobra. The cars will be recreations – that word again – of the factory hardtop racers for the 1963 24 Hours, meaning they'll feature both a new chassis number prefix as well as an original AC number in sequence – a "vital pre-requisite in their place in the valuation process in the future." It's seldom that a car's status as a 'new' classic or not isn't its most controversial aspect, but then electric Cobras haven't happened before either…
The AC Le Mans Electrics are set to be powered by a motor producing 625hp and 738lb ft which, quite frankly, sounds absolutely terrifying in a car that was characteristically (if charmingly) unruly with a humble V8. The latest Cobras will be split into two specifications, with 12 to be built; six will evoke the red-and-white '39 PH' car, the other half dozen paying homage to '645 CGT', the white with black stripes Cobra that also competed.
Pleasingly, the Electric will still feature bodies sourced from AC Heritage in Brooklands, where aluminium sheets are still whacked into shape by hand over a body jig. Obviously the powertrain required different expertise, though, and that job has been tasked to Falcon Electric in Derby. Falcon's mission statement is to "make electric vehicles exciting" – a Cobra sounds as good a place as any to begin.
Of the Electrics, AC Cars' Alan Lubinsky said: "This the start of not just a new chapter but of a whole new era in AC's illustrious history. We will be following up the launch of these new models with other additions to our already expanding range". So far, only next year has been confirmed as a launch date for the Cobra Le Mans Electrics, though there would clearly be a nice nostalgic tie up if it could coincide with the 24 Hours. Prospective owners will want to be pampered like actual racing drivers, too – each Cobra is going to cost £600k plus taxes…
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