AC Cobra 427

This superb example of one of the world’s desirable sports cars has covered only 8,000 miles from new and was road-tested by the English magazine “The Autocar” (Dec. ’71). When we say that this car will accelerate 0-100 mph, in 11.7 seconds, and cover the standing quarter mile in 12.9 seconds, we do not mean a car of this type – we mean this car. “The Autocar,” indeed, chose it for its special “Christmas edition” road test, which traditionally has been reserved for outstanding machines. In fact, the magazine did not bill it as a Cobra 427, but as a 427+ in deference to its highly tuned engine.

This car achieved the fastest 0-100 mph acceleration that the Autocar had ever recorded at the time of its test. The rear wheels spun all the way to 60 mph in first gear, third gear was not engaged until 115 mph had been reached, and top speed was given as “in excess of 145 mph.” A reasonable estimate would be over 160 mph.

Such a low mileage as this Cobra has is not always desirable because a potential owner needs to know that a car is not just an ornament in a garage, but is capable of sustained use. In this case, the early owners cosseted the car while the most recent owner has used it for long-range driving, including touring Europe. It represents the best of both worlds: a pristine car of proven competence.

The Cobra 427 has the Mk III chassis which was designed by Bob Negstadt of Shelby-American and AC’s Allen Turner, the man responsible for the timeless beauty of the original Ace and the subsequent Cobra. The basic layout of the original Tojeiro-designed ladder-frame chassis was retained, but the main tubes were larger, and set further apart, and coil springs replaced the transverse leaf arrangement. The Ford Motor Company took an active interest in the project and final design benefited by being verified by Ford’s computers.

The 427 was sold only in America and first buyer of this car was an executive with General Motors who presented it to his son. He decided that the standard 390bhp was insufficient for his needs and so took it to Doug Nash Racing for the engine to be blueprinted and tuned (special pistons, a four-barrel Holley carburetor system on a new inlet manifold, etc.) and the bottom end of the engine was also strengthened. The specification is similar to the works Ford GT40s and power is ‘adequate,’ well in excess of 500bhp.

Despite this care, attention and expense, the new owner used it sparingly and by the time it was imported to Britain by Hexagon of Highgate in 1971, it had covered only 2,000 miles. Indeed, it had covered no more than 5,000 miles by 1988, mileage which included a hill climb at Loton Park and a sprint at Silverstone. When work has been needed, it has been undertaken by leading experts: Ian Richardson (who raced Cobras with great success) rebuilt the engine and Autokraft (which now owns AC Cars) resprayed the car from its original silver to its current dark blue with white stripes – America’s racing colors.

Only 348 examples were made of what is often regarded as the ultimate front-engined sports car, and none can be in better condition. The car has a black interior and tonneau cover, is fitted with seat belts and a radio/cassette, and has all the desirable features including a bonnet scoop, driver’s roll-over hoop, side exhausts and chrome-plated nudge bars. The current owner has had it rewired, has had a new hood and sidescreens manufactured and has fitted a Bosch electric fan. All bills are available together with copies of magazine articles in which it has featured and, of course, it is in the Cobra Register.

This is not merely a proper motorcar in every respect; it is an outstanding example of one of the greatest of all sports cars.