Lot 837: AC Autokraft MkIV Cobra
Est. 400 bhp 351 cu.in. OHV Ford V-8, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel fully independent suspension, and four-wheel power disc brakes. Wheelbase: 92" The AC marque is inextricably linked not only with its own sports cars, including the Ace and Aceca, but, of course, with the timelessly stylish bodies utilized by Carroll Shelby and married with 260 and 289 Ford small block engines to produce one of the most desirable and capable sports cars in history. Light and nimble with brutish American power under the hood, the Shelby Cobra was a fearsome weapon both on the track and at red lights around America. In the 1970s, the AC factory at Thames Ditton stopped service and repair of older Cobras. Brian Angliss' Cobra Parts operation quickly picked up that business and built up a strong and influential customer base. He also moved closer to the factory operation over the years, eventually collecting enough original tooling, jigs, and body bucks from Thames Ditton to fabricate new aluminum bodies, and utilizing the same tooling and jigs used to create the original Ace and Cobra bodies. The bodies were the wide bodies built for the 427, but they used highly tuned 302 V-8s. Although they used the same five-inch tubular steel frame, the chassis were two inches longer than the originals to allow more room for slightly taller individuals. The quality of Angliss' work was so well-respected by owners and others in the AC community that in 1986 he was allowed to purchase the rights to the AC name from the Hurlock family, who had been strongly protective of the venerated name that they controlled since the 1930s. A new AC company was established as a joint venture with Ford, who had also recently bought Aston Martin. Angliss' company then became Autokraft, which began offering the AC MkIV since the last production of the AC/Shelby Cobra, which ended with the MkIII in 1967. Given his legal right to use the AC name and, more importantly, the unbroken lineage of craftsmen, tools, and materials employed in their production, these cars were lauded for their high levels of build quality and their retention of the original's spirit and are generally considered continuation cars. Autokraft shortly thereafter moved to a purpose-built factory in Brooklands; in total, approximately 480 MkIV Cobras were built, several of which were ordered by such executives as Bob Lutz. According to the original documentation, Mr. Dingman ordered his Brooklands-built Autokraft Cobra via Jack Roush Performance Engineering. His car, chassis number AK 1164, was shipped directly to Roush for replacement of the stock 302 engine with a Ford 351 Windsor engine, which is the same type that was used for MkIVs sold outside the United States. In addition to the estimated 400 horsepower HO V-8, this example is equipped with an 11-inch heavy duty clutch and bell housing, engine accessory drive kit, dual electric cooling fans, motorsport ignition, wing vents, premium sound radio, wind wings, racing-style seat belts, and suspension modifications, with an initial cost of approximately $46,000. In 1999, Mr. Dingman commissioned an extensive overhaul, which resulted in the car being finished in British Racing Green. With excellent contours and no visible flaws in the paint, chrome roll bar, black cockpit with black leather seats, and Smiths instrumentation, this is as close as any continuation can get, short of having been constructed in the 1960s. The car also wears Halibrand-type SC Cobra wheels shod in BF Goodrich TA radial tires. The odometer shows 401 miles, which were presumably tallied after the rebuild. A memo dated November 3, 1999, indicates a cost of $142,843.69 (please contact an RM representative for further details) for the overhaul, not counting the original purchase price of the car, which was in excess of $45,000. With excellent AC lineage, faithful and authentically crafted bodywork, upgraded performance, and the outstanding care received as part of the Dingman collection, this Autokraft Cobra retains a significant place in AC history and will certainly gain increasing recognition over the years to come.
The Dingman Collection 2012|
RM Auctions, Hampton, New Hampshire
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