Classic Car Archive Specs, Facts, & History
AC, a British specialty manufacturer was rumored to soon go bankrupt, and needed an engine to replace their dated pre-World War II design by BMW.
Carroll Shelby airmailed AC a letter asking them if they would build him a car modified to accept a V8 engine. They agreed and first approached GM who responded with a “No” because they didn’t want the Corvette to have any competition. However, Ford did want a car to compete with the Corvette and offered up their new 260 ci HiPo 4.2L V8 that was a lightweight, thin-wall cast small block V8.AC threw in the engine and began testing. After modifications and proper fitment, the engine and transmission were removed, and the chassis was air-freighted to Shelby in Los Angeles. His team fit it with an engine and transmission in less that eight hours at Dean Moon’s shop in Santa Fe Springs, CA, and began road-testing.
The first 75 Cobra Mark I’s were fitted with the 260 ci. The remaining 51 Mark I models were fitted with a larger version of the Windsor Ford engine, the 289 ci.
And so the legend began, and would continue to be produced through 1967.
|Engine||0 to 60 MPH||Quarter Mile||Source|
|260ci||4.2 sec||13.8 sec @ 112 mph||Road & Track|
|260ci HiPo V8||260ci||1x1bbl||260 hp @ 5800||269 lb-ft @ 4800|
|260ci Race Ready||260ci||4 Weber Carburetors||335 hp @ 8500||n/a|
|289ci||289ci||n/a||280 hp @ 5800||314 lb-ft @ 3400|
Ask Cobra expert Richard Ehrenberg