AC’s carbon-fiber, V-8 Cobra costs $860K less than Shelby’s

AC Cars

Britain’s AC Cars has unveiled pricing and more specs for the most sophisticated Cobra in the company’s entire 60-year-plus run. 2023’s Cobra GT Roadster is new from the ground up, sharing not a single component with the original, which found a second life in-period thanks to America’s favorite chicken farmer, Carroll Shelby.

In lieu of a tubular steel chassis, the new Cobra is built on an extruded aluminum spaceframe with an 11.2-inch longer wheelbase. Since the wheels are pushed further into each of the car’s four corners, overall length grows by just over four inches. That makes for a more spacious and easier-to-access cabin, and allows AC’s designers to actively consider ergonomics for a change.

For example, a new Advanced Driver Information Center puts key engine info directly in the drivers’ eyeline, while creature comforts include electric windows, climate control, and satellite navigation.

AC says the new Cobra was styled by “a team of world class designers” from Icona Group. The group has stayed true to its iconic ’60s shape, creating a seamless carbon-fiber body that masks the up-sizing. Under the trademark hood scoop sits a 663-hp V-8 (of so-far undisclosed origin) and there’s a choice of six-speed manual or ten-speed automatic transmission.

Weighing in at less than 3300 pounds, the Cobra GT has power-to-weight ratio of 0.2 hp per pound, and will crack 60 mph in 3.4 seconds from a standstill. AC has developed the car’s handling alongside a British racing team, so the roadster’s performance can be presumably exploited on road and track, as well as the drag strip.

Diehard Cobra fans can still by a 289- or 427-powered car from Shelby, although the latest carbon-fiber Diamond Edition will set you back $1.2M. AC’s is far more affordable, and available to order now with a base price of around $340,000. First deliveries are due in 2024.

In all, AC’s is a very similar approach to the one that Morgan, a fellow boutique British sports-car maker, took when it reinvented itself. There’s clearly a market for nostalgic styling, but AC’s ground-up approach, with a focus on modern drivability, means this reborn Cobra could offer the best of both worlds, in contrast to the new-engine-in-old-chassis, “restomod” approach.

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    “Weighing in at less than 33000 pounds, the Cobra GT has power-to-weight ratio of 0.2 hp per pound,—”


    So many Cobra replicas around, they look good, but this in another league. I find odd that in the U S, these replicas are nearly all called Shelby Cobras, forgetting the original AC….I even spoke to an owner at a show who did not even know about AC. 🙄

    So what if it weighs less than 33,000 lbs? What a random point you’re making. You know what? Every Ferrari, Porsche, even Camero weighs less than 33k lbs. great reporting. What other great bits of information can you give us? The car is certified to drive on at least one planet in our solar system? The car has a top speed of at least 40mph? The aluminum used in this car also came from the same galaxy we habitate? Damn fine reporting.

    This is a Beautiful Automobile, and it’s Fantastic that AC Cars is building the car that became a Sports car Legend once again! I am looking forward to a possible purchase of this new updated version of a Classic British Sports car! Can’t wait!😍

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