AC Cars – The AC Cobra was sold in the United States as the Shelby Cobra and AC Shelby Cobra. It is a British-American sports car with a Ford V8 engine, manufactured largely in both the UK and the US since 1962.
How was AC Cars first created?
Like many British manufacturers, AC Cars were using the Bristol straight-6 engine in its small-volume production, including its AC Ace two-seater roadster. This had a hand-built body with a steel tube frame and aluminum body panels that were made using English wheeling machines. The engine was designed before World War II by BMW which by the 1960s was considered as old. Bristol had taken a decision in 1961 to stop the production of its engine and instead to use Chrysler 5.1-litre V8 engines. AC started using the 2.6-liter Ford Zephyr engine in its cars.
In September 1961, American race car driver and automotive designer Carroll Shelby wrote to AC asking if they would build him a car modified to accept a V8 engine. Bristol engines for the AC Ace two-seater sports car had recently been stopped. AC agreed and provided a suitable engine that could be found. Shelby went to Chevrolet to see if they would provide him with engines, but not wanting to add competition to the Corvette they said no. However, Ford wanted a car that could compete with the Corvette and they happened to have a brand new engine that could be used in this car. The Windsor 3.6-litre engine, a new lightweight, thin-wall cast small-block V8. Ford provided Shelby with two engines.
How was it modified later?
The first Cobra featured a large, high-performance Ford Windsor engine inside a small roadster that AC Cars had modified at Shelby’s request. Likewise, the Shelby Cobra concept car is small and minimalist, and has most of the features found in most modern cars (such as air conditioning, a radio, anti-lock brakes, and even windshield wipers)