AC MkVI : The AC Kobra
If the idea of a German-made AC Cobra that uses a Corvette engine and Porsche brakes is the sort of thing to make you regurgitate your corn flakes, it’s probably best if you stop reading right now. If, however, you’ve always fancied an AC Cobra – a proper AC Cobra – but have always thought they’d be a bit, how shall we say, cruddy to drive, the new AC MkVI may well be worthy of your attention.
It’s not cheap at around $150,000, but then no car wearing a genuine AC badge with 432hp from a 6.2-liter V8 under the hood is likely to be affordable. What you get with this car is essentially German build integrity mated to a very obvious slice of English heritage, with a large side order of 22nd-century performance to round things off.
Made under license for AC Cars by Gullwing GmbH in Heyda, Germany, the MkVI provides a truly beguiling mix of old-world styling values and new-world dynamics. The cabin, including its cramped dimensions and elbows-out driving position, is almost exactly as it was 48 years ago, when Carroll Shelby persuaded AC Cars to build him a car with which to go racing. It even smells of yesteryear, thanks to a heady mix of pungent leather trim and hot exhaust gases.
And when you turn the key and the Corvette engine rumbles into life, it sounds just like a big-block Ford from 1968. Except not even one of those could provide the sort of crazed performance this car can generate at the twitch of your right foot.
There are two engines: a normally aspirated one with 432 horsepower and a supercharged version with 640hp, courtesy of the Corvette ZR1. Even with a mere 432hp, this 2,260-lb car is mind-bogglingly rapid. Throttle response is hilariously strong beyond 2000 rpm, and above 4000 rpm the acceleration is borderline uncomfortable.
During an impromptu drag race we staged with a ZR1, it blew the Corvette into the undergrowth to 100 mph. And yet it rides/handles/stops/steers properly.
Were I a rich man, I’d have one of these in the garage like a shot. Alongside the Ferrari F40 and E30 BMW M3. It’s that kind of car.