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Lot 135: AC Cobra Roadster to 'MkII' Specification

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (15 September 2012)

Rightly regarded as one of the all-time great classic sports cars, the muscular, fire-breathing Cobra succeeded in capturing the hearts of enthusiasts like few of its contemporaries, the car's enduring popularity resulting in its revival in 1980 after twelve years out of production. Convinced that a market existed for an inexpensive sports car combining European chassis engineering and American V8 power, Texan racing driver Carroll Shelby concocted an unlikely alliance between AC Cars of Thames Ditton and the Ford Motor Company. The former's Ace provided the simple twin-tube chassis frame - supplied with four-wheel disc brakes for the Cobra - into which was persuaded one of Ford's small-block V8s. The 4.2-litre prototype first ran in January 1962, with production - exclusively for the USA initially - commencing later that year. After 75 cars had been built, the 289cu in (4.7-litre) unit was standardised in 1963. Rack-and-pinion steering was the major 'MkII' up-date; then in 1965 a new, stronger, coil-suspended 'MkIII' chassis was introduced to accommodate Ford's 427ci (7.0-litre) V8, an engine that in race trim was capable of producing well in excess of 400bhp. Wider bodywork, extended wheelarch flares and a bigger radiator intake combined to create the definitive - and much copied - Cobra MkIII look. Production ended in 1968 after 1,029 cars had been built, resuming in 1980 under the auspices of Brooklands-based Autokraft which had acquired the AC name, trading as AC Cars (Brooklands) Ltd. The MkIV Cobra employed the same chassis as the preceding MkIII and continued to use Ford V8 engines. Autokraft was granted exclusive use of the Cobra name in 1985, and production of the car continued into the 1990s. Although most of Autokaft's production was of cars in the MkIII style, they did build a small number to MkII specification; that offered here being one of them. We are advised that 'BNK 314A' is believed to have been completed around 1995, and after spending a period of time in AC Cars' showroom was first registered in August 1999. It is not known how it acquired a 'believed manufactured' date of 1963 (see Swansea V5 document). The current vendor acquired the Cobra in August 2000, since when it has formed part of his private collection of powerful classic cars. Converted from left- to right-hand drive by the factory circa 1999/2000, prior to the vendor's acquisition, the car is powered by a Mathwall Engineering Hi-Po 289ci unleaded-compatible engine producing 310bhp (up from the standard 271 horsepower) and comes with the relevant dynamometer printout. The original ('non unleaded') cylinder heads are included in the sale. Only 1,642 miles have been covered from new and the car is described by the private vendor as in generally very good condition, benefiting from a transmission overhaul by Thunder Road, Woking carried out in 2011 (bill of file). Finished in blue with black Connolly hide upholstery and matching Wilton carpeting, this exceptionally low mileage Cobra is offered with chassis instruction book, current road fund licence, MoT to August 2013 and Swansea V5 document.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood
Lot Number135
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£125000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£141500
Condition rating2
Registration numberBNK 314A
Chassis numberCOB 4002
Engine number289/4002
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2