1986 AC Cobra MkIVSOLD

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Registration No: 365 KOB
Engine No: Not Stated
CC: 5000
Colour: Orange
Trim Colour: Black
MOT: June 2012

Reference Number 128202

as of 6/1/2011

Overview
Car 1986 AC Cobra MkIV
VIN AK1147 
Mileage 35,719 miles 
Configuration Left Hand Drive (LHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
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Known History

There is something wonderfully raw and elemental about the Cobra. Perhaps that is why on the eve of its fiftieth anniversary the model continues to fascinate enthusiasts worldwide. Born of a tie-up between Texan Le Mans winner Carroll Shelby and AC Cars Ltd, the would-be icon drew heavily on its Ace predecessor. Heir to a competition pedigree that encompassed the Mille Miglia, Le Mans 24-hours and numerous SCCA class titles, the newcomer's tubular chassis frame housed a stronger rear differential, improved four-wheel disc brakes and proven all-round independent suspension (via transverse leaf springs). Powered by a 260 cu in Ford V8 allied to four-speed manual transmission, the two-seater boasted accelerative capabilities that exceeded those of many a period sports racer. As uncompromising as it was characterful, the Cobra did without such niceties as a user friendly hood frame or side windows. Raced pretty much `out the box', the Anglo-American hybrid was soon upgraded to a 289 cu in engine (after the first seventy-five cars had been made), while in MKII and MKIII guises it gained rack and pinion steering and a new chassis respectively.

 

The latter had been necessitated by Carroll Shelby's decision to install an even more potent 427 cu in unit (though, AC marketed its own 289 cu in equipped MKIII variant). A wider track, more sophisticated coil-sprung suspension and increased diameter main longerons (up from 3-inches to 4-inches) gave the driver a sporting chance of staying on the black stuff. Wilfully out of step with its peers - which contrived to be altogether more practical and civilised - the model was never a strong seller. Despite Shelby American Cobra Daytona Coupes beating Ferrari to the 1965 FIA World Manufacturers' title, total MKI, MKII and MKIII production amounted to just over 1,000 cars. The late 1960s and 1970s saw AC focusing on its younger 428 / 429 and 3000ME ranges. Unaware of the Cobra's burgeoning retrospective popularity, the Thames Ditton firm seemed content to refer owners to Brian Angliss's newly formed Cobra Parts (later Autokraft) business. Having acquired the relevant jigs, dies, bucks and tooling over time, Angliss was able to offer a comprehensive restoration / replication service, while his decision to populate Autokraft with various ex-AC employees brought a further sense of continuity.

 

Introduced in 1982, the MKIV was designed and manufactured by Autokraft but - thanks to a suitable licensing agreement - badged as an AC. Far more closely related to the MKIII than had seemed possible the previous decade (when industry disquiet as to the extent of proposed Federal safety legislation was at its height), the brutishly handsome two-seater wore strikingly similar, hand-wheeled aluminium bodywork. Most MKIVs played host to Ford 302 cu in V8 engines but some carried alternative 351 / 427 / 429 cu in units, while others were supplied without powerplants. Assembling a complete car reputedly took Autokraft some 2,300 man hours. However, the resultant levels of fit and finish were widely held to better those achieved by either AC or Shelby during the 1960s. The MKIV sold well enough for Brian Angliss and a partner to buy AC in 1986 - thus ending the Hurlock family's fifty-six year tenure. Ford took a stake that year too and allowed Autokraft to use the Cobra moniker in all but the US market (a privilege which was revoked a few years later when the Blue Oval and Angliss parted ways). The MKIV remained in production until 1996 by which time some 459 are thought to have been hand built.

 

This particular left-hand drive example - chassis number AK1147 - was supplied new to Mr Fayer Bayzid during 1986. A Portuguese resident, he is understood to have specified the car with a short nose, bonnet scoop, additional front air inlets and automatic transmission. Acquired by its second keeper Mr Leslie Kitson during August 1988, the MKIV was dispatched to Autokraft some nine months later for a manual gearbox conversion. Originally finished in Black with a Red centre stripe, the Cobra acquired its current Blood Orange livery as part of a bare metal respray carried out in 1990. Benefiting from various mechanical upgrades over the next four years, paperwork on file indicates that the two-seater gained a detachable rollover bar, Harvey Bailey front / rear anti-roll bars, uprated front / rear coil springs, new inner / outer front wheel bearings, all-round Koni adjustable shock absorbers and front / rear Aeroquip stainless steel brake lines. Determined to give the MKIV more bite, Mr Kitson had a far fiercer engine built-up by Performance Unlimited of Dunnington, Yorkshire.

 

Still displacing 302 cu in, the replacement unit apparently boasted a four bolt mains Ford Motor Sport cylinder block, Crower bespoke `three-quarter race' camshaft, baffled alloy sump, uprated oil pump, thermostatically controlled oil cooler, Bosch fuel pump, Mallory dual point distributor, gas flowed Ford Motor Sport GT40-type cylinder heads, custom made pistons, roller rockers, balanced / tuned exhaust manifolds and quad Weber 44 IDF carburettors etc. Capable of running on unleaded, the balanced and blueprinted V8 was estimated to produce some 380bhp and 370lbft of torque (a considerable increase on its pre-transplant 200bhp). To help tame such prodigious outputs, the Cobra was fitted with a Doug Nash (Richmond) five-speed manual gearbox, Lakewood `shatterproof' bellhousing, heavy duty clutch and Hurst shifter. Most of the work was carried out at circa 20,000 miles (the current odometer reading is warranted at 35,700). Lent a more period feel by its Moto-Lita wood-rim steering wheel, bullet wing mirror, distinctive `365 KOB' registration number and Aerial Machine & Tool Corporation harnesses, the two-seater also sports a stainless steel exhaust system and black-painted 15-inch alloy wheels.

 

Entering the current (third) ownership via our June 2001 auction (some 2,600 miles ago), the MKIV was entrusted to RW Racing Services Ltd of Northamptonshire for a thorough service / check-up some five years later. As well as having engine, gearbox and differential oil changes, the car had attention paid to its steering, valve gear, ignition system and brakes. Consigned from a deceased estate, `365 KOB' has seemingly not been driven on the road since late 2008. Worthy of close inspection, it comes with a history file detailing much of the work done and a quantity of spares including: a detachable rollover bar, distributor cap, engine pulley, handbrake lever, rear bumper assembly (with over riders), AC steering wheel, cranked gear lever, two headlamp units, carburettor jets, assorted cables, four shock absorbers, four Autokraft wheel centres (plus associated spanner) and orange indicators etc. Recently treated to some light recommissioning by Grappenhall Motor Services Ltd of Appleton (new battery, points and spark plugs), this appealingly enhanced MKIV now possesses a MOT certificate valid until June 26th 2012 - not to mention a rather wicked exhaust note!