Saturday, November 27, 2010
First Drive: 2012 Iconic AC Roadster
Compare New Car Prices from Dealers Near You! One-Upping the Original Cobra October 30, 2010 / By Frank Markus | Tweet Click to view GalleryKit cars are an interesting breed. Most exist to make an iconic, super-cool old car accessible -- to folks who can't afford the original, to those who can't maintain or operate the original's fragile or archaic equipment, or to modernists who want the look and feel but with air conditioning and an iPod dock. They almost always sell for less than the originals, and most conceal mainstream corporate parts-bin components under their trompe l'oeil skins.One of the most ubiquitously knocked-off icons is Carroll Shelby's souped-up AC Ace, the Cobra. More than a dozen companies are ready and willing to provide you some semblance of the Cobra driving experience using underpinnings ranging from the MGB and Mazda Miata to custom tube-frames, often stretched and/or widened to better accommodate the dimensions of the American leisure class. Does the world need one more Cobra replica? Click to view GalleryNo. And it surely doesn't need one that costs about what a "good" 1965 Cobra Roadster 427 fetches (the base price is $475,000!). Clearly the Iconic AC Roadster is no ordinary kit car. It represents a thorough reimagining of what the AC Cobra might have become with 50 years of continuous evolution. And while legally it is sold as a component car like all the other Cobra kit cars (to avoid design-killing features like airbags), this one uses virtually no recognizable parts. Get a load of this bill of materials.Engine: Naturally it's a Ford 427, though it starts out as a Ford SVT NASCAR long block that race-engine builder Ernie Elliott bores, strokes, and tops off with Iconic's own cross-ram induction and fuel injection system. The way the individual throttle blades work is even patented. Output ratings: 800 horsepower at 7600 rpm; 660 pound-feet at 5800 rpm. Dry-sump lubrication is fed from a billet-machined oil tank mounted aft of the passenger compartment and includes special oil sprayers to cool the valve springs as they and their pushrods bounce along at the 8000-rpm redline.