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AC Cobra 427 buying guide (1965-1967)

AC Cobra 427 side AC Cobra 427 rear AC Cobra 427 interior AC Cobra 427 front AC Cobra 427 engine Launched in 1965, the AC Cobra 427 was the world’s most powerful car in its day. It was also the fastest car tested by Autocar magazine that year, established the Guinness Book of Records’ fastest 0-100-0mph time, and held it for ages.

So the Shelby Cobra was the ultimate road rocket, even if it wasn’t as successful on the track as its forebear, the 289 MkII. But by 1965 the 289 racers were up against serious competition: the Cobra needed more power. Ever-wider wings clad a tubular chassis with coil springs instead of leafs and a race-developed 420bhp Ford 427ci (6997cc) V8. There were three derivations: Competition, Street/Competition and road cars.

Like many radical designs the 427 was not a sales success. It was never homologated by the FIA, as fewer than the required 100 cars were built, and the road cars were fitted with cheaper, more fragile 428 Police Interceptor engines. In total, 320 MkIII Cobra chassis/bodies were sent to Shelby and 27 were constructed and sold in Britain and Europe with the 289cu in engines, sold as AC 289s.

Of the 320 officially constructed 427 Cobras (the chassis numbers go up to 350 but 30 were unused), many were developed and raced with success by privateers and, as such, they remain some of the most mystical and therefore collectable of all Cobras.

MARKET VIEW

Leading specialist and expert Rod Leach has dealt with over 350 Cobras since establishing his Nostalgia business in 1973. ‘There is a small but keen market in the UK and, while there is no typical 427 Cobra buyer, they are all great enthusiasts,’ he says.

‘Prices go up when the overall market is good and then stay there. Because these cars are so rare and enjoyable to drive they will never go down in value. Supply is still outstripped by demand.’

Originality is important, but some cars have had their 428 engine replaced with an authentic 427. ‘That’s acceptable, but the car must retain its four-speed gearbox,’ says Rod.

Cobras have risen steadily in value and are in huge demand, offering sensational performance with ease of maintenance.

IN A NUTSHELL

‘Of course, you need to know exactly what you are buying because of all the replicas and fake cars out there. The absolutely crucial point is to double-check the chassis number,’ says Leach. ‘There is a worldwide registry for all the cars in the Shelby American Automobile Club tome that lists all the chassis numbers but it is not entirely gospel. Just to confuse the issue, a few cars share the same chassis number. This is inevitable because many of them were raced and crashed, resulting in rebuilds over the years. Also, there is a registry for Cobras within the British AC Owners Club.’

As with many sports and racing cars there are plenty of urban myths and stories about the provenance of some 427s, including Cobras being hidden by members of the mafia, etc. So you must consult a real expert before signing a (very) large cheque. In the good old days, crashed cars were junked and chassis numbers were transferred to new cars so you really need to know your onions. Provenance is all with a Cobra so it is essential that your research is done with forensic thoroughness.

With original 1965 427s selling for up to a million pounds, the AC Cobra 427 MkIII S/C Continuation cars (as pictured here, road-registered as a 1966 Historic Vehicle) seem like good value at about half the cost. With cast-iron AC Cars Ltd certification (and FIA eligiblity), this 427 appears and drives exactly like the 1960s original. Only ten were built in total during the early 1990s.

Because what you’re really buying is provenance, and because Cobras are highly valued, this isn’t the kind of buying guide that warns of frilly wheelarches and blue smoke on start-up. That said, all Cobras feature aluminium bodywork, so watch for stress cracks and dents. A complete body rebuild costs around £100,000.

But the really good news is that these powerful cars are easy to run and maintain. All components are available, with mechanical parts well priced in American catalogues. Things get expensive with performance components such as heads, high-rise manifolds and Weber carburettors, but figure on a price around £10,000 for a full engine rebuild by a specialist such as Mathwall Engineering.

CONCLUSION

The Shelby Cobra 427 is one of the rarest and most powerful road cars ever manufactured. Original cars can be worth more than £1 million, so it is essential to know exactly what you are purchasing. Speak to the AC Owners Club and Bill Shepherd who, although he now specialises in Mustangs, has a great wealth of experience racing and preparing Cobras, at www.billshepherdmustang.com; +44 (0)1932 340888.

But most definitely talk with Rod Leach, who is a fund of information on the complicated history of this great marque. The story of AC itself, the Cobra, Shelby, lawsuits, the various owners of the company and the rights to the name, Continuation Cobras, Autokraft, replicas, kit cars, etc, etc – it’s a snake pit that can catch out even the most agile researcher. Make sure you don’t get bitten.

MODEL HISTORY

1962: The original MkI was manufactured from 1962 to 1963. The cars were constructed in Thames Ditton and the initial prototype chassis, CSX 0001, was fitted with a 221ci engine and tested in Britain. The engine and gearbox were then removed and the chassis shipped to Carroll Shelby in Los Angeles where a 260ci (4.2-litre) V8 was fitted, reputedly in just eight hours. In total 75 MkI 260s were produced.

1963: The MkII followed with the 289ci (4.7-litre) engine and the first 51 continued with worm-and-sector steering. A further 538 MkIIs were then produced with rack-and-pinion steering taken from the MGB.

1965: The 427 (MkIII) was launched and ran until 1967, with a total of 320 manufactured. Carroll Shelby stopped importing chassis/bodies in 1967 but thereafter AC cars continued producing cars in Britain with the 289ci engine (and the 427’s tubular chassis and independent suspension) until 1969.

Autokraft: Brian Angliss of CP Autokraft started building cars using Cobra parts and AC shells from the mid-1970s and began manufacturing the MkIV in the early 1980s. 500 were built.

Continuation cars: The first AC Cobra 427 S/C Continuation was specially commissioned and built in 1990, and over the next 13 years just ten Continuation Cobras were constructed. Nine were left-hand drive, of which five remain in the UK; one right-hand-drive example went to New Zealand. Now worth between £250,000 and £300,000+.

Other ‘Cobras’: Autokraft went into receivership in 1996. Alan Lubinsky then developed the MkV and carbon-bodied CRS. Carroll Shelby built ‘continuation’ versions of the 289 FIA and 427 S/C.
AC Cobra 427 side AC Cobra 427 rear AC Cobra 427 interior AC Cobra 427 front AC Cobra 427 engine
Last updated: 3rd Dec 2014
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AC Cobra cars for sale

11 Search results
AC Cobra
37995 99990 GBP
  • AC COBRA 289 CONTINUATION MODEL (BLACK) - 1996 VERY RARE, BUILT ON THE LIGHTWEIGHT MK II 289, SHORTNOSE CHASSIS, ONE OF APROXIMATELY FOUR ONLY MANUFACTURED. 14,000 MILES BLACK COACHWORK with MIDDLE WHITE STRIPE HAND CRAFTED BLACK LEATHER SEATS WITH RED PIPING MATCHING LEATHER HEAD RESTS, LEATHER TRIMMED ALUMINIUM LIGHTWEIGHT DASH WITH "SMITH" ORIGINAL STYLE INSTRUMENTS. INTERIOR IS FINISHED WITH HIGH GRADE WILSON BLACK CARPETS PIPED IN BLACK LEATHER. EFI injection engine V8, normally aspirated arrangement , 8.9.1 compression ratio cast iron engine block with cast iron heads, roller camshaft, upgraded SVO lower aluminium inlet manifold/upper aluminium inlet manifold body with performance 65mm throttle body For further information please contact us on 0208 202 8011 interested in vehicle print vehicle details

    • Year: 1996

    Last update: 26 Days Old

    • Mileage: 14000 mi

    For sale
  • see details
  • AC COBRA MK IV BUILT ON LIGHTWEIGHT SHORTNOSE CHASSIS BY AC CARS (ROLLS ROYCE EBONY BLACK) 11,000 MILES LIGHTWEIGHT LARGE BRAKES FLAT DASH SMITH INSTRUMENTATION TELESCONIC 5MPH IMPACT BUMPERS FRONT AND REAR REAR PETROL TANK BEHIND SEATS/RACING FILLER TRIANGULAR CHROME ROLLBAR FULL LETHER CONNOLLY HIDE IN SILVER GREY WITH PIPE BLACK High performance fuel injection 5.0 Litre FORD V8 engine. Very rare and limited production of the best that AC could offer, with the best features of the Lightweight production run. interested in vehicle print vehicle details

    • Year: 1997

    Last update: 26 Days Old

    • Mileage: 11000 mi

    For sale
  • see details
  • Recognized and listed in Shelby American World Registry and quoted: Completed 88, Green/Green interior, 302. Shipped to Nostalgia. Purchased by Straight Eight Garage (Eng) We are pleased to present this stunning and rare RHD hand built aluminium bodied AC Cobra, MkIV finished in Jaguar British Racing Green with handcrafted Green leather interior with unmarked Green Whilton carpets, 5ltr Ford 302 V8 SVO stage 3 carburettor engine with 5-speed manual gearbox, 20’100 miles from new. High spec including the following - 16" Halibrand wheels with polished wheel spinners, chrome stone guards, Mota lita wood rim steering wheel, perspex sun visors, glass wind wings, just completed full service by Redline Engineering, MOT, all matching numbers, stainless sports exhaust tail pipes, radio, full weather equipment with tool kit., service history, We understand from history file the last owner has owned AC for some 20 years with documented service file along the way. This is a unique opportunity to acquire an ultra – rare original AC Cobra Mk4 built by craftsmans using traditional tooling methods. Fantastic V8 bark from 5.0 ltr factory fitted SVO engine, offering great enjoyment and tremendous va

    • Year: 1989

    Last update: 30 Days Old
    For sale
  • Redline Engineering
    0845 241 5557
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  • AK AC Cobra Roadster 5 Speed Manual 6.2L V8 finished in Pearlescent Blue with Full "Mushroom" Cream Leather with Blue Piping and Contrast Stitching, Registered in October 2013, One Owner from New, Cheverolt LS3 Aluminium Engine, Omex Technology ECU Kit, 18 Inch Silver and White Halibrand Replica Split Rim Alloys, TKO 5 Speed Gearbox, Limited Slip Differential, Two 5 Inch Stainless Steel Exhaust Pipes, Lucas P700 Halogen Headlamps, Power Steering, Stainless Steel Washer and Header Tanks, Blue Silicon Hoses, Front and Rear Stainless Steel Nudge Bars, Twin Roll Over Bars, Wind Wings, Sun Visors, Tinted Windscreen, Hydraulic Boot and Bonnet, Full Soft Top Roof and Half Tonneau Factory Fitted Cover, Aluminium Aston Filler Cap, Aluminium Stalk Ends, Stainless Steel Stone Guards, Handbrake Handle, Gear Knob, Triple Splitter Wing, Side Vents and Console Buttons, Willians 4 Point Racing Harnesses, Mountney M Range Steering Wheel, Luxury Wilton Blue Carpeting Throughout, Black Faced Smiths Flight Range Instrument Set and Stainless Steel Switchgear, Red Illuminated Dials with Brushed Stainless Steel Console Buttons with Blue Black Lights, Huge History File with Original Parts and Build Invoic

    • Year: 2013

    Last update: About 1 Month Old
    For sale
  • Targa Florio
    01243 641117
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  • DAX Factory Build AC Cobra 427 5.7 V8 Chevrolet Small Block registered May 2008 finished in Metallic Daytona Blue with Blue Diamond Quilted Italian Leather interior with Silver Grey Leather Edging and Stitching, 17 Inch Halibrand Alloy Wheels, Willans Four Point Harnesses, Power Steering, Huge History File with Original Parts and Build Invoices, Wooden Steering Wheel, Stainless Race Fire Extinguisher, Water Tank, Fluid Containers and Engine Head, Engine Bay Parts and Components Re-sprayed in Matching Body Colour, Black Removable Cloth Hood, Blue Floor Mats with Cream Leather Piping, Edelbrock Intake and Throttle Bodies, All Tyres and Brakes Recently Replaced, Two Owners From New. Finance available on request including lease purchase with balloon - subject to status. Part Exchange welcome.

    • Year: 2008

    Last update: 22 Days Old
    For sale
  • Targa Florio
    01243 641117
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  • This outstanding AC Cobra by AK Sportscars is finished in Candy Apple Red Metallic with stunning Cream leather seats with Red piping. The Cobra is powered by fantastic 6.7 litre Chevrolet V8 engine that is producing around 400 BHP and has covered 20,000 miles since being built over a two year period in the late 1990’s costing in excess of £30,000. The Cobra was built by two highly skilled motor engineers to a first class standard and today is offered in outstanding condition. This stunning looking car is high quality in every respect. It has been beautifully styled and the paintwork and chrome is excellent throughout. The exterior is enhanced with extra wide wheels with spinners, P700 headlights, front spoiler with side diffusers, front and rear chrome nudge bars, tinted windscreen, colour coded hard top with heated rear window and Cobra stainless steel exhaust shields. The engine bay is pristine and looks impressive with Edelbrok Chrome air filters, Edelbrok chrome vale covers, stainless steel header tank and uprated coolant hoses. The upholstery is beautifully finished and boasts heavy duty thick pile fitted carpets with red piping, Cobra logo embroidered carpet mats, leather das

    • Year: 1997

    Last update: About 1 Month Old

    • Mileage: 20000 mi

    For sale
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  • Gardener Douglas GD 427 Mk4 AC Cobra Roadster 5 Speed Manual 6.3L V8 finished in Black with Black Roof registered September 2007, 18 Inch Split Rim Period Alloys, Roadcraft 383ci Chevy Engine with 400BHP and 400lbf.ft, Full Black Leather Interior, Tremec TKO600 Gearbox, Forged Crank, Edelbrock Performer-RPM Aluminium Heads; Air-gap Inlet Manifold and Carburettor and Roller Cam, MSD Distributer and MSD-6AL Ignition, Aluminium Water Pump, Billet Flywheel, HD Clutch, Mohair Soft Top, 4 Point Willans Harness, Huge History File with Original Parts and Build Invoices. Fully Valeted; 12 Months MOT; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Year: 2007

    Last update: About 1 Month Old
    For sale
  • Targa Florio
    01243 641117
    see details
  • We are pleased to present this stunning and rare LHD hand built aluminium bodied AC Cobra MkIV finished in Porsche Guards Red with handcrafted tan leather interior with unmarked cream carpets, 5ltr Ford 302 V8 injection engine with 5-speed manual gearbox, 9'500 miles from new, high spec including the following - unmarked 16" colour coded Halibrand wheels with polished spinners, chrome stone guards, Monza fuel filler cap, Mota lita wood rim steering wheel and gear knob, full weather equipment, glass wind wings, just completed full service by ourselves Redline Engineering UK, road tax & Mot, stainless sports exhaust tail pipes, colour coded aluminium riveted bonnet scoop, this stunning looking AC is joy to drive and sounds fantastic, offering great enjoyment and tremendous value when compared to original MkII and MkIII Cobras. Year: 1987 Price: £95,400 For more information call 0845 241 5557

    • Year: 1987

    Last update: 3 Months Old
    For sale
  • Redline Engineering
    0845 241 5557
    see details
  • Genuine AC Cobra MK IV 427 5.0 Litre;;Rolls Royce Cobalt Blue Metallic ;Parchment Leather Upholstery;1988/F;14,000 Miles;'COB 44A' Private Plate Included in Sale;;5.0 Litre Ford 427 V8 Injection Engine;5 Speed Manual Gearbox;Mota Lita Wood Rim Steering and Gear Knob;Glass Wind Wings, ;Leather Sun Visors ;Black Halibrand Wheels with Gold Spinners ;Chrome Stone Guards ;Tonneau Cover;Indoor Fully Fitted Car Cover;Sports Exhaust;;This matching numbers AC Cobra, listed in the Shelby American World Registry features stunning blue paintwork, and is beautifully trimmed in parchment leather, First registered in 1988, this stunning cobalt blue AC Cobra has covered a 14,000 miles and is presented in superb condition.;;The dashboard has totally correct dials.The gauges are Tudor and include oil pressure, water temperature, amps, fuel level, speedometer and rev counter. There is also a discreet Sony stereo head unit mounted under dash. The Interior of these cars is wonderfully retro, simple and true to the feel of the 60's cars.;;5.0 litre V8 fuel injection car producing 280 bhp and with its aluminium body moves very quickly. The engine is cooled via thermostatically set Kenlowe fans which eliminate any horsepower loss. Transmission is the proven Borg-Warner (Tremec) T-5 five speed transmission.;;The Autokraft MK-IV Cobra features a tubular steel frame which reduces weight and improves the ride. Just one of the reasons the MK IV is the car to have is the great handling, making this a fabulous drivers car.;;The car offered for sale is in outstanding condition, comes with a fresh UK 12 months MOT and Fully Serviced. ;;Model History;-------------------;;The AC Cobra is without any doubt the most sought after classic super sportscar. This is the reason why so many replicas and kit cars took inspiration on this great AC Cobra model.;;The combination of a beautifully designed tubular chassis by Tojeiro, an ultra-light aluminium Italian barchetta style body and Carroll Shelbys genius idea to shoe-horn into the chassis the very strong and reliable Ford V8 small block engine was the initial recipe. From the original versions (MKI MKII and MKIII), built between 1962 and 1967, only approximately 1,000 were produced, but fetch today on the collectors car market astronomical prices, although ironically a failure in the sixties.;;After a short Frua bodied coupe episode, which wasnt very successfull, things led to the bankruptcy of AC in the late seventies. The companys tooling and eventually the right to use the name, were licensed by Autokraft, a Cobra parts specialist and replica car manufacturer owned by Brian A. Angliss. In agreement with Carroll Shelby, the last version MKIII car, of which only 327 were produced in the sixties, would appear again in 1982 with some modifications as the Autokraft MKIV, basically an AC MKIII car with a 5.0L V8 and a Borg Warner T5 Transmission.;- See more at: http://www.cameronprestige.co.uk/cars/ac/cobra/autokraftmkiv5.0litre/26008/#sthash.yA8GqL91.dpuf

    Last update: About 14 Hours Old

    • Mileage: 14000 mi

    • Engine size: 5

    For sale
  • Cameron Sports Cars
    01225 892244
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  •   Chassis Number  COB 6120   Right Hand Drive:  UK Supplied: Original Registration NumberThe Mk III Cobra was produced between 1965 and 1968. The updated chassis of the Mk III was designed by Bob Negstadt of Shelby-American and Allen Turner of AC in co-operation with Ford, Detroit. The previous model chassis was modified with its main tubes enlarged and set further apart and coil springs replaced the transverse leaf arrangement. Cars with 289 cu in (4.7 litre) engines were sold in Britain and Europe while America took the 427 with a 7-litre engine versionThe MK III missed homologation for the 1965 racing season and was not raced by the Shelby team, however the cars were raced successfully by many privateers and went on to win races all the way into the 1970s. Our car was supplied new on the 1st September 1967 to William Cadbury by Lincoln Motors of Birmingham UK. # 6120 is fully detailed in the latest “Shelby American” World Registry and the car was also featured and road tested in “Autocar” w/e 21st April 1979, copy of the magazine is included in historical chassis file.We understand from historical records that the motorcar had been owned by a number of very well-known collectors who have had the Cobra maintained to exceptional standards. The last owner acquired the AC some 10 years ago and had commissioned a comprehensive restoration which has just been completed (August 2014) by one of the UK leading AC restorers Historic Automobiles Ltd. Also accompanying the car is an independent report carried out by two ACOC accredited independent period AC Cobra specialists.We are delighted to offer for sale this rare, much sought after and highly collectable concours prepared AC Cobra MKIII. The motorcar is now available for immediate inspection at our central London showrooms.

    Last update: 3 Days Old
    For sale
  • Hexagon Classics
    02072253388
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