One of Britain’s most iconic marques AC Cars is jumping on the electric band wagon.
It’s launching a new, limited series of 12 special cars recreated from the 1963 AC factory Le Mans cars.
They will be called the AC Cobra Le Mans electric and despite being powered by an electric motor, will offer 460kW of power and 1000Nm of torque — that’s 617bhp and 738 lb.ft in the old money.
The cars are faithful recreations of those conceived and built almost 60 years ago, with a single aim in mind — to win the 24 Heures de Mans.
The new cars will have bodywork sourced from AC Heritage, using some of the original, now decades old ‘technology’.
This comprises a highly trained pair of human eyes to judge the lines of bodywork and the services of a specialist ‘planishing’ hammer, wielded over the curves of an AC body jig.
Inside the handcrafted bodywork, however, is a power system for a new age.
To wit AC has introduced the services of its new Derby-based technical partner Falcon Electric.
Falcon’s proud description of itself more than hints at its pedigree and ambition.
“We are a hard-core technology company with the mission to make electric vehicles exciting. Passion and emotion drive us, electricity and innovation drive our vehicles.”
In 1963, AC built two bespoke AC Cobras for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
One of those was registration number ’39 PH’ and the other one was registration number ‘645 CGT’.
Six of each of the recreated cars, finished in two distinctive liveries, will be offered to customers.
The ‘new’ cars will have chassis numbers each bearing a new and unique prefix, as well as their original — a vital prerequisite for valuation process in the future.
The numbers will be listed alongside all other ACs in the company’s ‘Bible’, an important historical listing that underpins the importance and pedigree of the brand.
The most distinctive feature of the cars was the large, streamlined aluminium hardtop fitted to improve aerodynamics and to increase speed down Mulsanne Straight.
These removable tops necessitated the fabrication of long fuel-fillers that terminated just forward of the top of the rear window.
As the race drew near these cars created a great deal of interest, as they were sponsored by The Sunday Times and had Stirling Moss as manager.
The limited editions will be constructed just like the original from hand rolled aluminium.
They will be electric powered with handcrafted bodywork from the AC Heritage workshops on the historic Brooklands Racing Circuit, and mechanical units added at the Falcon premises in Derby.
The 12 ‘new’ heritage cars will each cost £600,000 plus VAT (about $1.1 million Aussie dollars — or $13.2 million in total)
The man behind AC since he acquired the brand in 1996 is Alan Lubinsky.
“We are determined to make a tremendous success of these recreated AC Cobra Le Mans electrics designs when they are launched first in the UK and later in other markets,” he said.
“We know the external appearance will win the approval of many ‘traditional’ AC fans.
“The inclusion of an up to the minute, emissions free powertrain from our new friends, the electric experts at Falcon, will chime well with the excellence of the handmade bodywork built in the historic and important location of Brooklands.
“This the start of not just a new chapter but of a whole new era in AC’s illustrious history. We will be following up the launch of these new models with other additions to our already expanding range,” Lubinsky said.
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