Shelby Cobra Mk1

Re: AC Cobra Mk1

It's a very odd car. It has 289FIA type exhausts, they exit underneath the sie of the car (if you know what I mean), its got quick jack over-riders, usually they have the chrome, "fang" shaped bumperettes, the fuel filler is in the center of the rear deck (as far as i know, they were only mounted on the right rear fender(never the left, regardless if the car was left or right hand drive) or slightly off center on the rear deck). It also has a bonnet scoop, and smaller air vents in the bonnet. It has small brake ducts in the front next to the nose, it has a hideous front bumper, combined with the quick jacks which is really weird, and it has funny stone guards on the front wheel arches.

I'd say it's a blueprint of the racing one pictured in reply #8, only it has a full windscreen and a front bumper, and stone guards. It could possibly be a BP of an ex-racer, with the modifications above added by its owner.

Can somebody please change the name to SHELBY Cobra. There is no such thing as an AC Cobra (well, there was for a year or 2 but they stopped using the name). It was Shelby who first called the car a Cobra, after the name came to him in a dream, and he has the naming rights (or some sort of other legal mumbo jumbo) to the name.
Re: AC Cobra Mk1

I also forgot to mention, another thing that, to me, points out that it is a racer or an ex-racer, is the little circle on the door, which is whats called a meatball (aka gumball) light. A meatball is the round spot that was stuck onto the doors, hood and trunk. The spot then had the cars race number painted or stuck onto it. The small light was used to illuminate it when racing at night, to make it easier for race officials to identify the cars. 8)
Re: AC Cobra Mk1

OK, seeing all 260 ci cars were exported to America and badged as Shelby Cobra's then this plan above is a Shelby Cobra Mk 1.
Besides, I don't think AC were ever into side exhausts.

U must have a different stack of old car magazines to me. Mine say AC actually built the complete cars, including fitting the engines. Shelby put up the idea of fitting the engines, and secured the engine supply from Ford for AC. AC thought they were supplying their cars to Shelby, and he thought they were building his car for him. One's view could well depend on country of origin. They didn't have an agreement about this on paper, so there was lots of room for "misunderstanding", and it led to court. Both names meant the same thing to me a week ago, and now I've learnt about the "difference". Carrol certainly would have taken a lot of engines in and out once it all got going though, and without his personality and promotion it would not have caught on in America the way it did. He developed the chassis, and then later other engine and chassis variations, and body variations too.

The AC Cobras sold in Britain had a grille insert, the Shelby Cobras didn't? Is that right? And there'd only be the Mk2 version?

I'm laughing at myself reading back over this, so revhead to go into these little details, and 427cobra, would i be right to say you are a dyed in the wool shelby-american-ford-427-cobra fan? A Brit would probably always call it an AC and say they wuz robbed... I'm an Australian and lean to General Motors stuff here, so don't have any particular allegiance, but still a detail nut. If a plan of a 289 Mk2 with a grille insert, no side pipes, and AC badges on it appeared, I wouldn't object to it being called an AC Cobra 289.

But you are right. This plan would most likely be a Shelby Cobra Mk1 260 cubic inch modified for racing.

PS Just found a site with even more detail history that varies again, says AC retains rights to the body, produced 289 from 64 to January 1969, some of them on upgraded 427 chassis, and that the prototype was worked on by ac and shelby in England....oh here, read it I gotta go bed...


AC fitting the engines?? No way. I distinctly remember reading about the first cobra, 260, whatever you want to call it, something along the lines of:

AC shipped the rolling body & chassis units to Shelby's speed shop in Venice, California, where he and his good friend Dean Moon fitted the 260 cubic inch Ford Engine, and drivetrain, (gearbox etc). They then went out in search of corvettes to race.

I think you are correct in saying that british cobras were fitted with grille inserts and US made ones were not. Although I think that some of the narrow hipped street 427 versions may have had a grille, not 100% sure though.

As for me being a die-hard fan, HELL YES.
Exactly, the actual first prototype vehicle.

That prototype vehicle was built and tested by Shelby and AC in England with a 221 V8, and then the prototype was shipped to America without a motor, whereupon Shelby, now back home, and Dean Moon put a 260 in that particular car. Then they go out, in the first Cobra ever in America, and look for Corvettes.

Originally I think they were going to use the 221, but by the time the car was ready for production, the 260 had come on line. They installed a 260 in the first one to reach America.......that's what I'm reading in my literature...

The 260 Mk1 production models were then made complete in England. I don't know if this changed during the course of production later, it may have, though I cant see Shelby wasting his time installing engines in production versions. (maybe the ones his team actually raced)

Ford supplied the engines to AC in Britain. Shelby arranged it. Some say Ford would not have done it otherwise.

So AC and Shelby together fit a 221 in England, they remove that motor because the ones they are going to get are bigger, ship the rest of it to the States where Shelby puts a 260 in the hole that was already made for it. No point shipping the 221 back to the US.

Carrol Shelby wanted to be a legend, and rarely bothered to mention details in interviews that might detract from a good self promotional story. When he fought the replicar mob over the name in later years he said that he and AC cars had never had any problems with each other. (not true, they both thought it was "their" car, and it went to court.) All this from a twenty year old pile of magazines.

And does it matter that much...he's a legend.... the cars a legend.....
I don't want to get into a new discussion guys because if we do we all loose
points. I just found a site and if they are right all of us will have to admit that
the story is not over yet.

and admire the beauty of this potent machine that was maybe more dangerous to the unwary owner than to an cautious opponent.

If the comments are true then I have to admit I was wrong with my
remark but still? let everybody have his/her own opinion but let us all feed
this "botherhood" of car lovers with the necessary prints or is with the prints
necessary to satisfy a person's craving for beauty.

note : this site ( freely translated as beauties of former/past times) contains
more pictures of aston's merc's auto union's ... so enjoy

I got corrected, by email, by someone who has better sources. Can't believe everything I have read, and wouldn't want to be putting out false info, especially about Cobras, so:

"All CSX-numbered production Cobras intended for the American market (apart from one or two special-build competition cars which might be destined first for events in Europe, like for example CSX 2142, the Ed Hugus 1963 Le Mans entry) were completed without engine and gearbox at Thames Ditton, and then shipped to the US for the Ford engines to be fitted. AC invoiced Shelby for the car in its engineless state.

It would have made little sense for Ford to ship the engines from Detroit to Thames Ditton for cars that were destined for America, incurring the need for customs declarations or carnets for those engines. For the same reason, some of the later cars that were fitted as new with expensive Halibrand wheels were shipped with slave wheels, just to allow loading and manoeuvring in transit, and the Halibrands were fitted by Shelby when the engines went in. Obviously the much smaller number of COB-numbered cars for the UK market and COX-numbered left-hand-drive European orders were fully completed, with engines and gearboxes, at the Thames Ditton factory.

My sources for these facts are several, but include:

1. My own observation when I was shown round the Thames Ditton factory by AC's sales director Keith Judd in 1966, when production of the coil-spring Cobra chassis was in full swing. I was shown batches of cars awaiting delivery to the US. They were ready for shipment with wooden protection boards bolted to the bumper brackets to protect the bodywork during shipping and slave wheels (actually redundant Greyhound narrow wire wheels). They had no engines or gearboxes fitted.

2. AC's factory invoices, which show chassis number but no engine number, and invoice the car to Shelby, less engine. In some cases they quote a small extra charge for the propshaft, which they would hardly do for a complete car.

3. The Shelby build sheets, some but not all of which still exist with a Cobra historian based in San Diego, which itemise by number the fitting of each engine and gearbox to each AC-delivered unit.

4. The Shelby American and AC Owners' Club Cobra registers, the latter being available on the internet to ACOC members.

5. The excellent book by acknowledged AC historian Rinsey Mills, "AC Cobra - the truth behind the Anglo-American Legend" published by Haynes. Mr Mills, who has been involved with AC cars for 40 years, interviewed former directors and employees of AC in researching his book. When I saw your e-mail I telephoned Mr Mills and read it to him. He dismissed it as rubbish. I also e-mailed it to the ACOC Cobra registrar, Robin Stainer, an acknowledged expert on the history and provenance of the cars themselves. His reaction was the same.

I have been an AC owner, and a follower of the marque, for 46 years, I have written a lot about ACs down the years, and I am the author of "AC Heritage", a book published by Osprey in 1996. I am fortunate enough to have met several of the major players at AC Cars when the Thames Ditton factory was active, and I have also enjoyed more than one conversation with Carroll Shelby about the Cobra story. Of course there were disputes between AC and Shelby. Of course Shelby is a self-promoter and a salesman who tells a good story. I am entirely aware that he likes to enhance the legend.

Now I have to leave it to you whether you choose to accept the factual accuracy of what I wrote, or whether you prefer to accept the version that you have culled from your twenty-year-old pile of magazines."