The hallowed AC Cobra has been radically reinvented from the ground up for 2023 – 61 years after its original launch – after a three-year, multi-million-pound development programme.
Named the Cobra GT Roadster, it promises to dramatically advance performance, refinement and build quality, courtesy of its newly developed architecture and a much more potent V8 than the Chevrolet engine in the existing AC Cobra 378 Superblower MkIV.
AC has confirmed a choice of V8s: a 454bhp and 420lb ft naturally aspirated unit and a more powerful supercharged variant producing 654bhp and 575lb ft.
That will be enough to send the sub-1500kg roadster from 0-60mph in around 3.6sec - nearly as quick as a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS.
It can be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a 10-speed automatic.
The V8 is housed in a redesigned, carbonfibre body that's significantly larger than the original, with a wheelbase of 2570mm. It stays largely true to the silhouette and defining cues of the fabled 1960s car but has fresh touches that bring it in line with modern rivals.
AC said the Cobra GT Roadster has been "meticulously engineered to be exceptional", features "cutting-edge material and manufacturing technologies" and will be highly customisable according to its owners' tastes.
Prices are set to start from £285,000 - a substantial premium over the £130,000 Superblower - and production will be limited.
The lengthy and costly development programme for the new two-seater centred on the engineering of the bespoke new aluminium spaceframe chassis, which was designed in Italy by Icona Design Group and Cecomp. This promises "excellent torsional rigidity" and "refinement with performance-orientated ride and handling" in keeping with the new car's billing as a grand tourer.
To be built in England, It will also offer modern amenities including air conditioning, electric windows, "sophisticated" in-car entertainment and a removable hardtop.
The Cobra Roadster GT will be sold alongside the standard Cobra, which is almost visually indistinguishable from the 1960s original and offers the choice of turbo four-pot, atmospheric V8 or electric power.
This is the first new model launch from AC since it appointed Swiss financial backer David Conza as CEO in May 2022. Alan Lubinsky, who acquired the marque in 1996, continues to serve as chairman.