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AC marks 120 years with 12 Cobra Superblowers

Hagerty logo Hagerty 3/10/2021 Nik Berg
a car parked on the side of the road © Provided by Hagerty

AC Cars has announced a run of a dozen supercharged Cobra V-8s, one for each decade since the company was founded. Making these very rare $180,000 limited edition machines even more special is that they will be among the last combustion-powered Cobras built by AC before the classic roadsters switch to future-proof EV propulsion.


The latest Cobra Superblower is the most powerful to leave the factory with almost 580 hp from a 6.2-liter LSA V-8 crate motor and attached Eaton supercharger. The Anniversary Edition cars will come in a choice of five colors, all with contrasting racing stripes. The combinations are red/white, blue/white, British Racing Green/white, yellow/white, and Gulf Oil-inspired blue/orange.

While it is the AC Cobra that became the company’s icon, thanks to Carroll Shelby‘s ambitious plans to install a Ford V-8 in the little lightweight Ace sports car, AC has had an association with speed from its start.

The company can actually trace its roots to the Weller brothers who produced their first prototype car in 1903, which would go on to become the first Auto Carrier. Trading as Autocars and Accessories and then Auto Carriers the AC logo began to appear in 1911. A decade later AC Cars Ltd was officially founded.

a vintage photo of a truck: J.A. Joyce tests the AC in 1925 AC Cars © Provided by Hagerty J.A. Joyce tests the AC in 1925 AC Cars

In 1921 an AC was the first two-liter car to cover 100 miles in one hour. In 1923 and 1924 AC won the Brighton Speed Trials and in 1926 took the honors at the Monte Carlo Rally. The 1950s saw the introduction of the Bristol-engined AC Ace and from that the legendary Cobra was born. The first prototype Cobra is widely credited with causing the British government to introduce speed limits on motorways after the Cobra was clocked at 196 mph during a road test.

AC boss Alan Lubinksy is all too aware that times have changed considerably since, and has already announced models powered by more economical Ford Ecoboost engines and a battery-electric version. The Superblower is to be a drive-it-while-you-can send off to a machine that epitomised the idea of “no substitute for cubic inches”.

“We are near the end of an era,” says Lubinksy. “In time we’ll be saying a final farewell to the iconic AC Cobra. My question is: Will we ever see (and hear) its like again? My answer is – these celebration cars guarantee that the legend that is the AC Cobra will live on into the future and outlive the ICE Age.”

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