1967 AC COBRA MK III TWIN-TURBO ROADSTER 'COB 1'
Chassis No. COB 6131
Engine No. HM 201
Registration No. COB 1
Metallic midnight blue with blue/grey leather interior.
Engine: V8, 427cu in., 6997cc, twin Garrett turbochargers, Holley 'double-pumper' carburettor, c.750bhp at 6000rpm; clutch: triple dry plate; gearbox: manual four-speed with synchromesh, limited-slip differential; suspension: independent all-round by wishbones and heavy- duty coil springs. Right hand drive.
Ford Motor Company of Detroit had a very fine small block V8 powerplant they wanted to use in International Championship racing; AC Cars of Surrey had a much admired all-independent suspension two-litre roadster for which the engine supply had just dried up; retired racing driver Carroll Shelby very much wanted to drop an american V8 engine into a British-style sports chassis and market the result in the US. Those three threads came together in 1961 and produced the 4.7 litre, 289cu in. Cobra, first shown at the New York Auto Show in 1962. Ford achieved their International Racing championship, AC built Cobra's, Shelby's race tuning and sales organisation thrived. Ford decided they really wanted to race their monumental 7 litre 427 V8 in an improved Cobra chassis and in a whirlwind of transatlantic design activity the Cobra MkIII was born. The old-fashioned leaf springs were replaced by adjustable coil-spring and wishbone suspension; the bodyshell was stretched and reshaped, creating one of the most enduring high performance automobile outlines. Then Ford switched its racing effort elsewhere and the Cobra ceased to be part of their plans. As contracted, AC shipped a number of cars to Shelby in California and built another few with small-block engines for European customers as the MkIII 289. Gradually as demand tailed off, AC themselves looked in other directions. Several MkIII chassis remained at the factory, some as rolling chassis, others as bare frames.
One such was COB 6131, the last but one of only 32 MkIII European Cobras. The chassis was first sold to Paramount Films, then aquired by Brian Angliss, at that time running Autokraft, a company specialising in the restoration and recreation of Cobras. Autokraft became the nucleus of a new AC Cars company under Mr Angliss, aquiring jigs, tools and body bucks. This chassis was developed in his workshops to its present unique specification from 1971 to 1979.
The engine is a rebuilt and blue-printed Ford competition 427 with side-oiler and cross-bolt main bearings and medium-rise heads. There are special 7.5:1 compression ratio pistons together with a reprofiled cam and finned alloy 'Cobra Le Mans' rocker covers. Originally fitted in 1978 but re-engineered by Power Engineering in 1993, the installation features twin Garrett turbochargers specially designed and developed for the system and has wastegates and an intercooler. To keep pace there is a pressurised 850cfm Holley 'double-pumper' carburettor supplemented with separate fuel injection. An oil cooler is fitted and there is a custom-built balanced exhaust system. Power at maximum revolutions is estimated to be 750bhp at 7.0 bar boost.
The transmission features a special heavy-duty clutch rated to over 1000lbs/ft whilst the gearbox is a Ford top-loader with Hurst shifter and there is a Salisbury limited-slip differential with 3.31:1 rear axle giving 26mph per 1000rpm in top and a theoretical maximum of close to 180mph. In keeping with this potential, magnesium alloy 15inch BRM wheels as fitted to the Ford GT40 are fitted with Dunlop Racing CR82 tyres. Servo-assisted ventilated discs have been installed.
The vendor, who has owned this Cobra throughout its life, has found that it is completely docile, running smoothly at 1000rpm in top gear and through city traffic without distress, which we can vouch for. There is a driver's roll-cage, full racing harness and a 40 gallon fuel tank with Monza fillers. The interior is trimmed in dark blue Bridge of Weir hide with fully fitted grey Wilton carpeting. The boot is trimmed and contains the dark blue mohair hood, tonneau and sidescreens in protective bags. The 16-gauge aluminium bodywork too is unique, longer in the nose, a little wider across the wings, with stainless-steel inner wings. The car has its original paintwork and trim from 1978.
It has been a star guest at numerous events throughout the UK, Europe and USA, attending the opening of the new Nurburgring Formula One Circuit and International Motor Shows in Birmingham and Amsterdam. The Shelby Automobile Club of America described COB 1 as "The Ultimate Cobra" and featured it on the front cover of the prestigious Shelby American Journal - there have been numerous other articles and videos on the car.
Absolutely unique and in concours condition, having covered a mere 2991 miles from new, COB 1 can lay claim to being probably the most powerful road-going open sportscar ever built ( estimated 0-100mph in 7.5 seconds) as well as being the most instantly recogniseable example of the Cobra marque. It is offered with a substantial dossier detailing and illustrating its complete history, a new MoT certificate and, of course, the UK registration document bearing the entirely appropriate number 'COB 1'.
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