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A legend returns as new AC Cobra GT Roadster debuts

by Antony Ingram
15 May 2023 2 min read
A legend returns as new AC Cobra GT Roadster debuts
Photos: 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 Z3 M Coupe, 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.

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 modern sports car; it’s just a modern sports car that happens to look much like its illustrious predecessor.

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 110mm longer than the classic Cobra (now at 4225mm) and more significantly, has a 284mm longer wheelbase, at 2570mm. These elongated proportions are offset by a wider track.

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

It shouldn’t want for power either, thanks to a 5-litre V8, available both naturally aspirated or supercharged. The engine is effectively Ford’s Coyote unit, making 454bhp without forced induction and 654bhp 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 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds, but the car has driving modes, stability control and ABS to rein in some of those classic Cobra handling characteristics.

AC Cobra GT Roadster interior

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.

A glance at the pictures shows this is very much a modern, high-quality cockpit (and while it features a touchscreen, it’s not occupying too much dashboard real estate), but definitely evokes the original, with the space constraints of the wraparound dash pushing dials into the centre. Apart from one – a 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 UK and Germany, and order books are open now, with a £2500 deposit. No price is quoted, but AC expects to build 250 per year.

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