A legend returns as new AC Cobra GT Roadster debuts

AC Cars

You can measure the AC Cobra’s impact by just how many times other cars are described as a “modern-day Cobra.” From the Dodge Viper to the BMW M Roadster, any time a roadster arrives with beefy haunches and even beefier performance, you can bet someone will compare to to the Cobra.

The car itself has been revived more than once however, and 2023 sees its latest incarnation under the AC Cars brand itself, as the new AC Cobra GT Roadster has been revealed at an event in London, England.

First impressions? Well, it looks like an AC Cobra, but this is no continuation model or “close-enough” kit car. AC Cars calls it a clean-sheet design and a cutting-edge sports car—a modern machine that happens to look much like its illustrious predecessor.

AC Cobra GT Roadster side rear three quarter
AC Cars

One clue to this is in the new car’s dimensions. Cobra connoisseurs might spot it at a glance, but the new GT Roadster is 110 mm (4.3 in) longer than the classic Cobra (now at 4225 mm, or 166.3 in) and more significantly, has a 284 mm (11.1 in) longer wheelbase, at 2570 mm (101.1 in). These elongated proportions are offset by a wider track.

The body itself is now carbon composite (the shell weighing under 50 kg, or 110 pounds), while the chassis it sits upon is an extruded aluminum spaceframe. All-up weight is under 1450 kg (3196 pounds), chunkier than an original Cobra 427 (which came in at under 1200 kg, or 2645 pounds), but lighter than many modern sports cars.

AC Cobra GT Roadster front corner closeup
AC Cars

It shouldn’t want for power either, thanks to a 5.0-liter V-8, available both naturally aspirated or supercharged. The engine is effectively Ford’s Coyote unit, making 454 hp without forced induction and 654 hp with the blower, and can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters—again presumably picked from the Ford parts bin. In its most potent form, the Cobra should cover 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds, but the car has driving modes, stability control, and ABS to rein in some of those, uh, classic Cobra handling characteristics.

Like the pumped-up exterior styling, the interior mixes elements true to the original with, thanks to the larger body, enough space for taller folks to get relatively comfortable. It can now accommodate drivers “well over six feet tall,” according to AC.

AC Cobra GT Roadster interior
AC Cars

AC’s images of the Cobra successor show a very up-to-date, high-quality cockpit. While it features a touchscreen, it’s not occupying too much dashboard real estate, either. The design definitely evokes the original, with the space constraints of the wraparound dash pushing dials into the center. Less traditional is the slim glass display on the steering column, which can relay digital information, much like the head-up display in some modern vehicles.

“Our goal was to surpass the expectations of our esteemed clientele, who have grown accustomed to the finest in automotive luxury” explained David Conza, CEO of AC Cars. The company is currently based at Donington Park, and has facilities in both the U.K. and Germany, and order books are open now. AC expects to build 250 examples per year “for worldwide markets,” which we presume would include the U.S. given the already homologated powertrain and replica-legal body. The price: £240,000, or $300,570, to start.




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    Close enough kit car?
    Give me a break.
    The factory five cobra with full independent suspension and a Coyote motor with a t56 6 speed can be built for under $70,000 in under 300 hours.
    And weights in 1000 lbs less,
    Even if you were to hire a builder instead of putting it together yourself, there would still be enough money left over to buy a brand new fully loaded c8 corvette.
    I’ll take close enough any day.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a “GT Roadster” rather a contradiction in terms? Sure, I know the meaning of words changes over time. But really.

    Aside from that niggling (don’t hate me, it has no racist meaning) detail, and the price, this is gorgeous.

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