AC Cobra/Austin Healey - Dave
I hope the back room can settle a dispute. (Well I've already lost but I'd like to know why...)

I seem to recall the AC Cobra starting life as a gutless sports two seater with a dodgy steering rack of a British production car that never quite worked.

Looking into the history of AC cars the name Cobra only appeared after a massive US engine had been put in an AC cars chassis.

So what is the guttless two seater with the dodgy steering rack I'm thinking off? Is it the Healey?
Re: AC Cobra/Austin Healey - John Slaughter

AC produced the Ace (convertible) and Aceca (Coupe) models, with 2 litre 6cylinder engines (I think Ford ? and Bristol units). I believe the Cobra was a development of the Ace, as you say renamed Cobra when the American V8 was fitted, as a method of improving the performance. Are they what you were thinking of?


AC Ace. - David Woollard
Yes John I thought of the Ace but with the 120bhp 6cyl engine (choice of Ford or Bristol I think) and a claimed 125mph max wasn't sure it fitted the description.

Re: AC Ace. - John Slaughter

No, I'm not sure either how it drove, but I'm sure the Ace was the basis of the Cobra. I believe the Ford engine was only 90bhp, although the Bristol unit was 120, so it would not have been that fast with the small engine.


Settled. - Dave
The bloke I lost the argument to has just told me I'm thinking of the Sprite which was fitted with the 'A' series engine.

I think he's right.

Bastard. ;-)
Re: AC Ace. - Tony Cooper
I think you will find that the 90bhp was considerably more. The Ford engine used was a Zephyr (2.6 litre?) with a cylinder head made by Raymond Mays. Balanced pistons, rods (by selecting parts from the Ford stock?) together with a choice of either 3 very large SU's or 3 double choke Weber carbs pushed output to more like 120 bhp whilst the Bristol engined versions were more. All this in a car that only weighed 16cwt (that's just over three quarters of a ton for the younger readers!) gave these cars some considerable performance. I had one and enjoyed "losing" other sports cars of the time.
There was also an AC 6 cylinder version that was more like 90 bhp.
It was said, unkindly, that AC had 3 of every thing to take care of the things that fell off! 3 carbs, 3 windscreen wipers, can't remember the rest.
Re: AC Ace. - John Slaughter

Thanks for that. I did query the Ford engine in my reply, because I couldn't think of a 6cylinder 2.0 litre Ford of that era. So, it was in-house AC engine then in the late '50s. I didn't have a reference to the use of the bigger 6 cylinder Ford.

Re: AC Ace. - Brian
I followed a Cobra for a mile or so on Monday.
First one I'd seen for a time.
Even the exhaust sound gives the same tingle as that of a RR Merlin.
Reminded my wife that it was my birthday in a fortnight and if she was short on ideas ..........................
Re: AC Ace. - Dave
You want a Spitfire? No traffic worries at all!

...and those machine cannons ought to deal with cameras!
Re: AC Ace. - honest john
Well done Tony Cooper. Haymarket's boss, Simon Taylor, as an Ace. See also Car by Car Breakdown. My first drive in a 'Cobra' was in a Superblower at Castle Combe before they put the extra chicanes in. Huge fun. Not at all scarey and with a nice adjustable chassis. You could feel exactly what each road wheel was doing. Obviously not as quick as an Esprit V8, but still enormous fun. A few months later I spent two hours driving a 220bhp cooking version round a test track in January sleet with the top down for a TV programme. No worries. I'd still rather have been doing that than sitting in front of a keyboard.

Re: AC Ace. - Dave
I can feel an "Is a Cobra faster than a bike thread coming on!"

Value my car