The AC Cobra will be reborn — bigger and more modern, AC Cars says

Somewhere up there, Carroll Shelby is smiling.

The unmistakable AC Cobra, the two-seat British-made roadster known to most Americans as the Shelby Cobra, is to be reborn next year with a V8 motor generating 645 horsepower and a new name: the AC Cobra GT Roadster — so says AC Cars, which claims to be Britain’s oldest (122 years) automaker, and says it’s nearing the end of a three-year development phase on the car.

Though details are sparse, AC says the lightweight sports car will be fitted with a Ford 5.0 Coyote V8 with the option of a supercharged engine that produces 654 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, sufficient to send it from 0 to 60 mph in around 3.6 seconds. It will be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a 10-speed automatic.

With an extruded aluminum space frame chassis and hand-finished manufacturing process developed by Icona Design Group and Cecomp Spa in Italy, the Cobra GT roadster is the largest AC Cobra to date. The powertrain is housed in a redesigned body shell larger than that of the existing Cobra — 170 inches long (14 inches longer) with a wheelbase of 101 inches (11 inches longer). The car will weigh around 1,400 kilos (3,080 pounds).

The new model, the company says, won’t sacrifice modern touches, and will include air conditioning, electric windows, sophisticated in-car entertainment and the option of a removable hardtop.

The car was originally launched as the AC Ace in 1953 until Carroll Shelby teamed up with AC and jammed a 260 cubic-inch Ford V8 into it to create the Cobra for 1962. Shelby had originally approached Chevrolet for a motor, but they passed. Next up for Shelby was Ford, which welcomed the opportunity to market a car to compete with the Corvette.

Countless replicas and many iterations of the Cobra have been built over the years, but first original car still exists and was auctioned in 2016 for more than $13 million.

The AC Cobra GT is expected to be revealed in the spring in London. No word on U.S. availability, but more details are supposedly forthcoming.

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