The Last of an Iconic Breed: The AC Cobra 212 SC
Every once in a while something special rolls off of a production line around the world. In a time where limited editions and super sport specials are becoming commonplace, it’s always satisfying to take a moment to wind back the clock a little and revisit the machines which spawned today’s headline stealers.
One of these headline stealers is the AC Cobra, and at Premier GT were are proud to hold one of the rarest examples of the breed, the 212 SC. Before we get into the detail around this iconic car, let's take a look at the incredible back story of one of the automotive worlds true icons...
Every motoring era tends to have it’s Concorde moment, whether that’s the Ford Model T that started the mass-produced automotive revolution back in the early 20th century or the gorgeous Jaguar E-Type which raised the bar for car design in the ‘60s, all of these machines seem to define their generation and to this day, are still regarded as all-time greats.
One machine that always comes up in conversation around the topic of all-time classics is the AC Cobra. A no-nonsense sports car, it was light, powerful and was a fantastic car to drive. A name that’s gone down in automotive folk law, the AC Cobra still has a dedicated following to this day.
One of the oldest car makers in Britain, AC was founded by the Weller Brothers in West Norwood, London back in 1901. From humble beginnings, the AC brand slowly grew and produced a variety of models before it struck upon its watershed moment, the Cobra.
A lightweight two-seater sports car, the Cobra was light and powerful thanks to a full-fat V8 engine courtesy of Ford. Immediately striking thanks to that gorgeous bodywork which wraps itself tightly around the wheels and chassis, the AC Cobra was always a sight to behold. An undiluted driving experience, the Cobra quickly stated a claim for itself on the automotive stage before things went stratospheric thanks to the involvement of legendary automotive designer, Caroll Shelby.
Looking for a suitable partner to provide a car capable of being modified to suit a V8 engine, Shelby made an approach to AC. The company obliged on the proviso that a suitable engine could be found. At that time in the states, there was a vast amount of competition between the domestic car makers. With a plethora of V8 engined machines available on the market, knowing where to turn for a V8 engine seemed simple enough. However, Shelby was to face an uphill struggle.
Initially opening up dialogue with Chevrolet, they declined a supply of engines as to not impact sales of their high selling Corvette. Going back to the drawing board Shelby instead joined forces with Ford, who as it turned out were actively looking to produce a car to take the fight to Chevrolet’s Corvette. An engine was duly sourced and Carroll Shelby returned to AC. The Shelby Cobra was born.
These events formed the basis of a car that would go on to become an automotive icon and produced the foundations on which one off AC Cobras would be built later down the line. These one-off specials became increasingly rare and one of the rarest of these is the AC Cobra 212 SC. Only two of these were ever built. One now resides in the United States in left-hand drive configuration whilst the other, in right-hand drive specification now sits in our current collection and is currently available for sale.
The AC Cobra 212 SC is a truly one of a kind car and a car that comes with a fantastic pedigree. A genuine one of a kind, this AC Cobra features a 3.5-litre 350bhp twin-turbocharged Lotus V8 engine and a full carbon fibre body. This means that it has an incredible power to weight ratio weighing in at a mere 900 Kgs.
Given the impressive nature of this example and given how rare it is, naturally, it’s had its fair share of attention. In October 2000 it found itself as the centrepiece on AC’s stand at the British International Motorshow where it was given the once over by a young Richard Hammond.
In addition, the car was also featured on an episode of Top Gear back in 2000 and this review can be viewed below. It also featured in Jeremy Clarkson’s All-Time Top 100 Cars and has also been driven by Damon Hill, Mark Blundell and Tiff Needell for features in Car, Evo, Octane and Top Gear magazines. It was also the pace car for the first ever NASCAR race at Rockingham.
A car that has been meticulously cared for, it is immaculate in every single way and comes with radio intercom for clear communication, a separate bespoke carbon fibre hardtop alongside full wet weather equipment.
A machine that is all about pure driving thrill, the AC Cobra 212 SC is a theatrical powerhouse. With a soundtrack to thrill and handling to delight, this example deserves all of the plaudits that it receives.
The AC Cobra defined an automotive generation and this example could quite possibly be the ultimate expression of the breed. A true one of a kind, the full details on this stunning machine can be viewed here.