All-new, bigger, carbon-bodied Cobra from the company behind the 1960s icon to be unveiled in April
March 3, 2023 at 05:39
by Chris Chilton
AC has clearly been taking a peek at Morgan’s homework. The British company that teamed up with Carroll Shelby to create the original Cobra is radically updating its most famous sports car with state of art materials and modern technology, but wisely choosing not to mess with the iconic snake’s silhouette, or not so you’d notice.
The £285,000 (£344,000) AC Cobra GT Roadster won’t be fully revealed until April, but the firm has dropped a couple of pictures of its new car to accompany technical details that highlight how radically different it is under a skin that features flush door handles, LED lights and a windshield surround that no longer looks about as sturdy as an wire coat hanger.
Perhaps the most striking of the tech details is the 2,570 mm (101.2-in) wheelbase, which is a massive 284 mm (11.2-in) longer than the traditional AC Cobra Mk IV, while overall length has only increased by 110 mm (4.3-in). AC says the additional inches between the axles improves interior space and a wider track improves the handling, and presumably helps balance out the extra length to preserve the classic Cobra look.
The body is carbon fiber and fitted to an extruded aluminum spaceframe chassis that AC claims is both light and stiff, and the interior will feature analogue instruments augmented by Digital Glass displays and hand-finished trim details the company says have never been seen before. The standard equipment list is also closer to what you’d expect from a modern car than one born in the 1960s. The original Cobra didn’t even have wind-up windows, but its 2024 namesake will come with electric windows, climate control, electric power steering, six-piston front brakes, 21-inch wheels and an infotainment system with satellite navigation.
Related: New Coyote-Powered AC Cobra With Up To 654 HP Coming This Spring
If that’s got the purist in you fuming, what’s under the hood may help calm you down. AC already builds classic-looking Cobras with electric power, but fortunately the GT Roadster sticks with a traditional V8, one supplied by Ford, the automaker who filled the engine bays of the original Cobras.
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AC says the supercharged version of the 5.0-liter Coyote develops ‘up to’ 654 hp (663 PS) and 575 lb-ft (780 Nm) and can slingshot the sub-1,500 kg (3,307 lbs) GT Roadster to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and to a 173 mph (278 km/h) top speed. But Autocar reports that a milder, naturally aspirated version will also be available. The Ford connection brings with it the option of a 10-speed automatic transmission, but buyers will also get to choose a six-speed manual for a more authentic Cobra experience.
There’s no word yet on North American availability, but by retaining the iconic Cobra silhouette AC should be able to bring the car to the U.S. using the same low volume crash-test exemption that is allowing Morgan to bring its cars across the Atlantic this year.