"the AC COBRA ... a way of living"
SLIEMA, Malta — Classic British sports-car maker AC has agreed to a new U.S. distribution deal following the start of production at its new factory on the Mediterranean island of Malta, off the coast of Spain.
The new plant builds an updated version of the classic 1960s AC Cobra. Called the Mk V, it features a carbon-fiber body shell. The car combines modern engineering and classic craftsmanship: The carbon shell is mounted on a traditional ladder chassis. The standard version includes a hand-trimmed leather interior with deep-pile carpeting, race-spec brakes and 16-inch alloy wheels.
AC Chairman Alan Lubinsky said the Malta plant will build 40 cars this year and offered details of the U.S. distribution deal: "We have reached an agreement with Texas-based Unique Performance, and sales in the U.S., Canada and Mexico are now underway." Unique Performance already manufactures and distributes limited-edition signature series vehicles, including the Shelby GT 500E, the Shelby GT 350SR and the Foose '69 Camaro."
European Mk Vs retain the Cobra's traditional American muscle under the hood, with a 360-horsepower Ford V8 engine. Combine that power with a weight of 2,645 pounds, and the result is a 0-60-mph time of 4.5 seconds. In the United States, the Mk V is supplied as a complete factory-assembled rolling chassis, fully painted, instrumented and upholstered with brakes, suspension and wheels, but without an engine or transmission, which are sourced locally by Unique Performance.
Lubinsky believes the U.S. deal will stamp out the trade in replica Cobras. "Every year, approximately 1,500 copies of the cars AC built in the 1960s are sold in America," he said. "Why would anyone buy a replica when they can own an authentic AC roadster that is lighter and better for the same cost?" In the U.K., the Mk V costs $94,000 at today's exchange rates.
What this means to you: The AC Mk V is the true descendant of the car Carroll Shelby turned into a racing legend. Like the man says, why buy a replica?
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