AC Shelby Cobra
Some cars are created through the vision of a single minded individual, but the Cobra`s genesis was more tortuous. The story began with a twin-tube chassis designed for club racing by John Tojiero and featuring all-independent suspension with a transverse leaf-sping at the rear. In 1952 Cliff Davis had fitted one of these chassis with a 2.0 litre Bristol Engine and a very pretty alloy body inspired by a Ferrari 166 Barchetta. The Car came to the attention of Charles Hurlock of AC who bought the car and decided to put it into production. The AC Ace was born in 1954.
AC fitted its own overhead-cam 2.0 litre engine which gave 85 bhp in triple-carburettor form, then offered Bristol engines as an option from 1956. When Bristol moved to Chrysler V8 power, AC looked around for an alternative and settled on tuned 2.6 litre Ford Zephyr engines.
Meanwhile , American race driver and engineer Carroll Shelby had come up with the idea of installing powerful American V8 engine in a neat-handling European Sports Car Chassis. As a driver Shelby had won at Le Mans for Aston Martin in 1959. and he went to his old team with the idea. Aston Martin showed interest but had other priorities, Shelby approached AC with backing from Ford`s Walter Hyes for supplies of Ford`s new V8 engine. In the autumn of 1962 the first Cobra was build, Shelby droppinga 260ci ( 4261 cc) Ford V8 into a mildly revised Ace chassis.
Serious straight-line performance was a Cobra speciality but the twin-tube chassis was really overhelmed by the engine`s power. Later cars had a redesigned chassis.