Shelby Cobra Mk1


Active Member
Re: AC Ace

mmmm..... sorry guys, this is definitely NOT an AC Ace.
The Ace was much more clean and elegant looking than this one and didn' t have the wide wheelarches, the air-intake on the bonnet and certainly no roll- bars attached. Front was different as well.

Of course, someone could have made a nice car into something that looks like a Cobra, or it could also be one of the polyester Cobra- replicas ....

Re: AC Ace

the ac ace was in production for many many years, not just the 60s but thoughout the 50s. this is a very early example. the only thing rong with it is the roll bar the ace was never fittd with a rollbar.

the fact that this is an ace is clearly shown by the narrow wheel arch fenders, and overall shape of the car, including the doors and nose.


jalopy madness
Re: AC Ace

I have to agree with Pete-MJL,

it does not look like the original AC ACE but more like the AC Cobra 289 as raced in 1963

Reference pictures in the book Shelby Cobra : the shelby American original archives 1962-1965 show
cars like the one pictured as raced (sometimes with a different roll bar) by Gurney.

Also note the shape of the rear-view mirror on the side view and the race-type fuel cap in the middle
behind the driver . The AC ACE had the fuel cap on the left-hand side and no such rear-view mirror


Active Member
Re: AC Ace

Well, Zachary, the page you got that picture from ( ) clearly says it is an AC Cobra Mk I 260 ...  ;) shows a metal model of this car.
Maybe someone has used it to create those drawings above ?

Now as I am not an expert on AC cars, I looked it up in some of my books and on the internet as well and all these sources make it clear that this is NOT an AC ACE, but a COBRA ( or a lookalike )
The 260 designation ( referring to the 260 of the engine ) wasn' t used before 1962, since these engines were only used in the first 75 Cobra' s .
It is not the car in your picture ( the first Cobra racer: a 1962 Cobra Mk I 260, raced by Bill Krause ) either , but looks like a bit of a hybrid with a roadster style windscreen on a racing cobra body.
The Cobra used a modified ACE body on a strengthened chassis. The wheelarches, the front and other modifications - including the filler cap as mentioned by Modelxv - are Cobra characteristics, not ACE' s ...



Active Member
Re: AC Ace

Errr... I do not want to argue with you about this, zachary, but wanted to make it clear that these prints are not perfect to use if someone wants to model modelling a proper AC ACE...

The AC ACE was produced from 1953 until 1964 and used the old six cylinder 1991cc engine ( dating back to 1919 ! ), the BMW- derived Bristol six ( 1971 cc ) and the 2,6 litre Ford Zephyr unit. There' s never been an eight cylinder AC ACE.

Also, " The Cobra 260 was sold to the US market only, with Europe having to wait for the introduction of the Cobra 289 " ( see as one of the many sources ), so there' s never been an ACE 260.
Now to conclude this - the Cobra was a totally different car than the ACE, even if it was developed from it directly and looked pretty similar.

By the way, I thing the person who produced the print above, traced this print : ;)

Re: AC Cobra

Just reading up on some history of the Cobra, I think this could be what is called the AC ACE RS 2.6.

The RS 2.6 came about when AC were forced to stop fitting the Bristol engine into the ACE, because Bristol stopped manufacturing this engine. So AC began fitting the 2.6l Ford Zephyr engine. The RS part of the name comes from th person who persuaded AC to fit this engine.

When AC began fitting this engine, they also gave the cars appearance a bit of a facelift, removing the swage lines below the front indicators, and lowering the nose a little. They also re-defined the bonnet line, and the wheel arches, flattening and squaring off the edges of them, hence the term "Slabside".

This formed the basic shape of the Cobra, and this would essentially remain unchanged, until Shelby came into the picture, and the 289FIA and 427 cars were built.
Re: AC ACE RS 2.6

As far as I know the "Cobra" was a modified AC Ace body with Ford 260ci motor, originally built and assembled by AC, that were shipped to America, where Carrol Shelby took off the AC badges, and replaced them with his Cobra badges. In England they are still referred to as AC Cobras, and in US as Shelby Cobras. AC built the complete cars, but Shelby never regarded AC as anything more than a supplier. The relationship had never been legally defined, so there was nothing AC could do about Shelby calling them "his" cars, when all he had actually done was suggest the idea to them and Ford, and offer to market them in America. This happened at the same time as the Bristol engine was going out of production, and Shelby had heard they were looking for a motor.

AC regarded the car as "their" car, but in all fairness it was Shelby American that developed it for racing, and developed the 427 version, improvements no doubt incorporated in the production versions. This came to a head when AC refused to hand over chassis blueprints for the Daytona Coupe, regarding them as their proprietary information. but Shelby's Pete Brock then simply took the measurements and drew his own. Shelby beat AC in a court action on the basis that FIA homologation papers referred to the manufacturer as Shelby American.

There was little further co-operation, but Shelby's relationship with Ford went from strength to strength.

Have no doubts. There is an AC Cobra and a Shelby Cobra. Only the badging differs.

Only cobra fanatics would know this stuff. Bit of background.

"AC Ace chassis numbers that begin with AE were originally equipped with the AC six cylinder. BE models were equipped with the Bristol and RS had the Ford (UK) 2.6." The RS just says the engine is a Zephyr 6 (UK) and this is the best image I could it just the rudspeed that looks like this?


Re: AC ACE RS 2.6

Thoroughbred & Classic Cars, November 1994, Page eight;

"The Ace remained in production until 1964, during which time it was fitted with Bristol and Ford Zephyr engines as well as AC's own unit. The AC Cobra, inspired by Carrol Shelby and funded by Ford, was a straightforward development of the Ace and, to look at, hard to tell from a Zephyr powered example: Cobra production began in 1962, replacing the Ace steadily"

This would indicate that an AC Ace 2.6 (litre) and a Ford Cobra 260 (cubic inch) are two different cars that look alike.

Production figures:
"AC engined Ace: 191
Ace-Bristol: 465
Ace 2.6: 37"

The AC Ace 2.6 is a rare beast then.


Re: AC ACE RS 2.6

Yes, you would be correct in saying that the AC ACE RS (RuddSpeed) 2.6 and the 260 are different cars that look the same. The 260 cubic inch engine was fitted by Shelby, (and as we have already discussed, the 2.6 Zephyr engine was fitted by A)C which essentially made the first Cobra.He was originally going to fit the 221 cubic inch engine but decided to go for the 260 instead. After that Shelby fitted the 289 engine into the same car (body wise at least, the chassis was most likely beefed up and changed a little for the new engine), then came the 289 FIA (basically a racing version, which had bigger rear fenders, slightly larger front ones, and an lower air duct underneath the main "mouth"), and the 427 was developed by modifying a 289 body. Massive fenders were added, as well as a large oval shaped nose, the fuel filler was moved to the fender (the FIA had it mounted in on the rear deck, slightly off centre, not sure about the 260 & 289 "slabside" cars, they may have had it on the fender), obviously the chassis was changed for the new engine. The SC came shortly after, with minor modifications. A lip was added to the rear fenders, and the carb was changed from twin carbs to just one 750cfm, and power was lowered slightly.

You have already mentioned the Daytona, which came in 1964, and was based on a modified 289 FIA chassis.