One of the original 'muscle cars' swaps V8 brawn for electric power

The AC Cobra's biggest claim to fame is the fact that it is perhaps the major reason why the UK national speed limit is capped at 70mph. Back in 1964, AC Cars tested one of their Le Mans Cobras on the M1, hitting 185mph in the process – which spurred the government to implement the limit. Now, you can buy one with an electric powertrain.

Called the AC Cobra Series 1 electric, it is being released by AC Cars as an extremely limited run on 58 cars, celebrating the 58 years that have passed since a Ford V8 was dropped into an AC Ace and the Cobra was born.

Back in 1962 the mixture of a 427 cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8 and the AC Ace's diminutive figure, which was far more used to 2.0-litre engines, was incongruous. But thanks to that pairing, one of the world's most iconic cars was created, and one which went on to motorsport success as well as spawning an array of replicas which continue to have a huge global following.

The modern version of this incongruous mix isn't powered by a hulking V8; the AC Cobra Series 1 electric gains its motivation from a zero emissions, electric powertrain. But whilst on the move it might be near-silent, the Series 1 electric will look every inch the part, with the bodywork gaining the same iconic lines that made the original 1962 car an immediate hit.

In fact, to some the subtler looks of the Series 1 will make it more desirable than the later edition cars which were more 'Americanised' in their aesthetic.

Like many of the various EV conversion options for classic cars that are available nowadays the AC Cobra Series 1 electric uses the same underpinnings as the original car and is as faithful wherever possible to the original designs. The ladder frame chassis is one such original element that is retained. Unlike most conversions, however, the car is newly built from scratch with modern steering, brakes and other components to ensure that it retains 1962 style but with 2020 driving dynamics.

Thankfully the interior is very faithful to the original car.

In terms of powertrain there are some pleasing specs and some which are a reminder that the AC Cobra Series 1 electric is essentially a £138,000 toy. The good elements are the actual power that is sent to the wheels which, at 308bhp and 184lb-ft continuous and 368.8lb-ft peak torque, are pretty wholesome in a 1250kg package. This sees 62mph come up in 6.7 seconds which is brisk enough by most people's standards.

Where the powertrain falls down compared to a proper OEM-spec unit is in efficiency. The 54kWh battery is hardly small, but this only delivers a range of around 150 miles. What's more, a snail's pace charging capacity of 6kW will mean that overnight charging is the only viable option.

That being said, we highly doubt that many owners are going to be taking the AC Cobra Series 1 electric on long road trips. It's not really the point, after all.

As we mentioned, should you want one of the 58 cars that are to be produced by AC Cars with an electric powertrain you're looking at £138,000 plus any local taxes. They're available to order now, with more info on the brand's website, and can be had in one of four colours: AC electric blue, AC electric black, AC electric white (pictured) and AC electric green.


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