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The AC Cobra GT Revives an Iconic Roadster With a 654-HP V8, Manual Transmission

The original Shelby Cobra is getting a successor with extra power and modern technology. And yes, it's keeping a manual transmission.
AC Cobra revival
AC Cars

The car we in the U.S. know as the Shelby Cobra is coming back, and it’ll be better than ever. We’re not talking about license-built “continuation” or kit cars here; we’re talking about an improved successor model from the company that conceived the original Cobra, AC Cars.

AC is a historic British carmaker, dating all the way back to 1901. Like DeLorean, it’s not exactly the same company it was at its peak, having transferred ownership and rebooted multiple times over the years—though the lineage is more or less intact. Now, it’s returning to what made it successful by preparing a new Cobra that’s more than a rehash of the old formula. It’s more like a direct descendant, one that carries forth the Cobra’s original spirit.

The Cobra GT, as it’ll be called, will be a grand touring roadster with a body designed by Italy’s Icona Design Group—the same firm behind that retro Microlino EV. It’ll be manufactured by Cecomp, which builds the Alpine A110 for Renault. Suffice it to say, it’ll be made to high standards, and god will it ever perform to them too.

Cobra GTs will be built using aluminum spaceframes specifically designed for them (not chassis modified from the ’60s Cobra). It’ll have a wheelbase 11.2 inches longer than the original, increasing stability and interior space. The Cobra GT will still be light for a modern car, with AC promising a curb weight less than 1,500 kilograms (3,308 pounds), though that’ll still make it markedly heavier than its sub-2,400-pound predecessor. Still, it’ll haul ass, because this Cobra will again have a big V8 under its hood.

The motor’s displacement wasn’t shared, but AC promised power output of up to 654 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. They’ll be sent through the rear axle via a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission, enabling zero to 60 mph in about 3.6 seconds. Just speculation on our part, but this sounds like it could be a tuned-up Ford Mustang GT drivetrain. It’d be fitting, as the original Cobra also used Ford V8s.

Because the Cobra GT will be a grand tourer, it’ll be more livable than the classic Cobra. It’ll feature air conditioning, electric windows, a removable hardtop, and “sophisticated in-car entertainment”—though that seems antithetical to the ethos to us. In any case, we’ll see what AC has in store in spring 2023 when it reveals the Cobra GT in London. Price is TBA, though the Cobra GT sounds like it’ll be well into the six-figure range. Still, that’s cheaper than a real Shelby goes for these days, and it won’t make people think you’re driving a kit car to boot.

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