My Car Quest

July 22, 2024

A New AC Cobra is Coming in 2023

by Mike Gulett –

Carroll Shelby likely would not be happy to hear that AC Cars has introduced a new version of the AC Cobra. We remember how upset he was when AC and Autokraft and Ford introduced the AC Cobra Mk IV in the 1980s (see what he said below).

Carroll Shelby quotes from Kit Car Illustrated – October 1986

As you know, Shelby American was the builder of the Cobra and not Ford. Ford really had nothing to do with it.

I sold the name Cobra to Ford for $ 1.00, I didn’t sell the right to manufacture this car that AC cars was building.

What I’m saying is they (Ford) don’t have the right to give the name away to be used on this particular car. What ever it takes to stop it, I will do. I was lied to by Edsel Ford.

I’ve seen the cars [AC Cobra Mk IV] before and they’re damn nice work but why doesn’t Brian Angliss [owner of Autokraft] build something he thought up instead of copying somebody else?

If anybody was going to build the Cobra again, it would be me.

AC Cars writes in their press release dated 20 December 2022

AC Cars, Britain’s oldest active vehicle manufacturer, has released the first details and images of its brand-new and exclusive sports car, the AC Cobra GT roadster, which will be formally unveiled in spring 2023.

With an extruded aluminium space frame chassis, developed specifically for the new AC Cobra GT roadster by partners Icona Design Group and Cecomp Spa in Italy, the two seater will provide the performance, handling and soundtrack that the Cobra name is famous for. With a V8 engine developing up to 654bhp (663PS) and 575lb ft (780Nm), and the choice of a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic gearbox in a car weighing under 1500kg [3307 lbs], acceleration will be nothing less than spectacular – with a 0-60mph sprint of approximately 3.6sec.

Inextricably linked with the legendary sports car of the 1960s, AC Cars will be reaffirming its rights to the Cobra name when it unveils the new AC Cobra GT roadster next year.

AC Cars Cobra GT

AC Cars

They go on to say that “AC Cars is the legitimate owner of the AC Cobra trademark…”. Carroll Shelby is not around to dispute that statement but I suspect he might have something to say if he were here. However, Ford has claimed ownership of the Cobra brand in the past as seen in this quote from a Ford press release dated 11 August 1986.

Ford has granted a licence to Autoraft Limited of Brooklands in Surrey for the use of the name COBRA for the AC Mk IV sports car which is now being manufactured by Autokraft.

The name COBRA, a registered trademark was originally owned by Carroll Shelby but was assigned to Ford Motor Company in 1965. The COBRA trademark is still the property of Ford Motor Company and under the provisions of the Trade Marks Act 1938 and similar legislation in other countries, it is an infringement of Ford’s trademark rights to use the name COBRA in relation to motor vehicles.

I assume that AC Cars has taken the necessary steps to be able to use the Cobra name for this new model with Ford’s consent.

They did not announce pricing but I do hope they are more reasonable than the price for the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Corsa Revival.

It will be interesting to see the new AC Cobra when it arrives.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

AC-Logo 2

A New AC Cobra is Coming in 2023
Article Name
A New AC Cobra is Coming in 2023
Carroll Shelby likely would not be happy to hear that AC Cars has introduced a new version of the AC Cobra. We remember how upset he was when AC and Autokraft and Ford introduced the AC Cobra Mk IV in the 1980s.


  1. At least AC is using a genuine V8 engine and not going EV like almost all the others . Ford has granted the rights to call it a Cobra . Whatever they call this 2023 version , it will sell like hotcakes .

  2. Rex O'Steen says

    When I saw ‘AC’ my first thought was alternating current. Any new car will always be a ghost of the real thing.


  3. Why in the world would he have sold the name for a dollar ? What under the table negotiations are known today ?

  4. wallace wyss says

    My thought as a biographer of Shelby is that he wanted that name Cobra
    and wanted it known that he thought of it in a dream (though he still had to buy it off another company). That all added to the legend
    of him inventing the car though of course the AC initials said who actually made it. At the time money was pouring in from Ford and he could see they were bitten by the racing bug to go to LeMans so he thought, hell, whatever I can get is nothing compared to the money I’ll make from here on in so he went for a dollar. And regretted it ever since.

  5. We’ll see if Lubinsky actually come through this time. He’s had other Cobras that never really made it as far as I know…his EV Cobras and the V8 (Chevy powered);which I understand never really made official production. Smoke and mirrors. Hopefully this launch will actually be successful.

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