jointly made by AC (a british sports car maker) and Carroll Shelby. In 1962, Shelby was so impressed by the racing performance of AC's Ace car, that he modified them to take a variety of very large engines, and renamed it the Cobra. Engineless cars were shipped out by AC to Shelby in the US.
The original AC Ace had a 2-litre, 115 bhp engine, giving a top speed of around 115 mph. Shelby made 2 models of the Cobra, the 289 and 427. The 289 (the number denoting the engine capacity in cubic inches) had a 4.7 litre, 271 bhp Ford V-8 engine, which made for a very fast car. However, this was consdered to be insufficent, and in 1965 the 427, with its 7-litre V-8, was developed. The 427 was massively modified from the original AC Ace, with uprated transmission, suspension and chassis, to handle what was now a 485 bhp engine. The 427 could manage 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds, and 0-100 in 10.1. This is faster than all but about 20 production cars ever made. It had a top speed of about 150 mph.
The Cobra 427 is still regarded as one of most beautiful cars ever made, and one of the most fun to drive. However, the fact only around 300 were ever made means they demand incredible prices (around £150,000, or $250,000). Many replicas are made, by enthusiasts, specialist car companies, and AC themselves. The most recent AC model is equiped with a 3.5 litre turbocharged V-8 engine, from the lotuss esprit. This is less powerfull than the 7 litre V-8, but weight reductions mean the thing is just as fast, but much more fun to drive. It's not as cool as the 427 however, because it dosen't sound as loud and raucous