Crazed performance at the twitch of your right foot

What is it?

This is the AC MkVI; let’s call it an AC Cobra with a difference. If the idea of a German-made AC Cobra that uses a Corvette engine and Porsche brakes is the sort of thing to make you regurgitate your Cornflakes, it’s probably best if you turn away right now.

If, however, you’ve always fancied an AC Cobra – a proper AC Cobra – but have always thought they’d be a bit, how shall we say, cruddy to drive, the AC MkVI may well be worthy of your attention.

What’s it like?

It’s not cheap at around £90,000, but then no car wearing an AC badge with 432bhp from a 6.2-litre V8 under the bonnet is likely to be affordable. What you get with this car is essentially German build integrity mated to a very obvious slice of English heritage, with a large side order of 22nd-century performance to round things off.

Made under license for AC Cars by Gullwing GmbH in Heyda, Germany, the AC MkVI provides a truly beguiling mix of old-world styling values with new-world dynamics.

The cabin, including its cramped dimensions and elbows-out driving position, is almost exactly as it was 48 years ago, when Carroll Shelby persuaded AC Cars to build him a car with which to go racing. It even smells of yesteryear, thanks to a heady mix of pungent leather trim and hot exhaust gases.

And when you turn the key and the Corvette engine rumbles into life, it sounds just like a big-block Ford from 1968. Except not even one of those could provide the sort of crazed performance this car can generate at the twitch of your right foot.

There are two engines: a normally aspirated one with 432bhp and a supercharged version with 640bhp, courtesy of the mighty Corvette ZR1. Even with a mere 432bhp it is mind-bogglingly rapid. Throttle response is hilariously strong beyond 2000rpm, and above 4000rpm the acceleration is borderline uncomfortable.

During an impromptu drag race we staged with a ZR1 for a forthcoming video, it blew the Corvette into the undergrowth to 100mph. And yet it rides/handles/stops/steers properly.

Should I buy one?

Were I a rich man, I’d have one of these in the garage like a shot. Alongside the Ferrari F40 and E30 BMW M3. It’s that kind of car.


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jackjflash 17 July 2009


Topkat wrote:
Wow I didn't know people paid so much money for cars that look so dated :-)

Modern sports car with nanny devices and creature comforts cannot recreate the visceral experience of these types of cars. I’m not saying that it is for everyone, but some people prefer this type of driving experience and will pay for it, try it you might just like it.

Topkat 17 July 2009


Wow I didn't know people paid so much money for cars that look so dated :-)

Engelbert 17 July 2009


Clearly, along with a vacuum cleaner and pop-up toaster, every home should have one......