The Pageant will host the largest gathering of the Anglo-American sports car in the UK this year in a special display entitled ‘Cobras at the Castle’. The event is also introducing a special race category – the ‘AC Cobra 50th Anniversary Class’ – that will see the most famous Cobras, including one of only three ‘Lightweight Cobras’ ever built, compete for top honours.
When introduced in 1962, the Mark I AC Cobra featured a 4.2-litre V8 engine from Ford Motor Company, upgraded to a 4.7-litre unit in 1963 for the Mark II. Race-derived versions of the Cobra were dominant on the domestic US and international racing calendars.
The fearsome AC Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé won the 12 Hours of Sebring GT class twice in 1964 and 1965, finished fourth overall in the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the GT class, and recording victories across a number of other endurance events – often ahead of its main competitor, the Ferrari 250 GTO. The car also won the 1965 International Championship for GT Manufacturers in the World Sportscar Championship, winning 8 out of 10 races.
In the face of rising competition from other manufacturers, particularly GM’s Grand Sport Corvette, the Mark III Cobra (427) was introduced in 1965 with a 420bhp 7.0-litre V8 engine, becoming the most powerful production car in the world at the time.
Now in its fifth year, the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power will take place on the Cholmondeley Estate in Cheshire from 15 to 17 June. A full event schedule and list of participants will be announced over the coming weeks, with Pageant organisers set to reveal some exciting new additions and features for 2012.