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Shelby America and AC Cars (merged)


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#1 Nathan

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Posted 29 December 2005 - 19:54

I just have a quick question, did Shelby America ever have partial ownership of AC cars?

Thanks!!

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#2 WDH74

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 01:51

Nope. Shelby American was its own company, as was AC.

-William

#3 bill moffat

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 08:49

Originally posted by WDH74
Nope. Shelby American was its own company, as was AC.

-William


I'd go along with that.

Random, useless, trivial fact of the day : Shelby's inspiration for the "Cobra" name was allegedly the much earlier American CO pper BRA zed Crosley engine which had "Cobra" stamped on it. Thought I'd let you know.

#4 275 GTB-4

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 09:17

Originally posted by bill moffat


I'd go along with that.

Random, useless, trivial fact of the day : Shelby's inspiration for the "Cobra" name was allegedly the much earlier American CO pper BRA zed Crosley engine which had "Cobra" stamped on it. Thought I'd let you know.


Thanks Bill....burst bubble moment : ....heres me thinking it was because the cars were Cobra strike fast :p

#5 bill moffat

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 09:55

Originally posted by 275 GTB-4


Thanks Bill....burst bubble moment : ....heres me thinking it was because the cars were Cobra strike fast :p


Useless fact de la jour no. 2 : the De Tomaso Mangusta was named after the Italian for "mongoose", an animal that was fast and ferocious enough to catch and eat Cobras. I must get out more.

#6 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 11:14

I think that even during the 1960s there was a considerable amount of befuddlement by most, especially among the casual fans, as to the actual relationship twix AC and Shelby American. That relationship was laid out any number of times in the specialist press, but few seemed to heed that information. It grated on the eras of more than a few to hear the cars referred to as "AC" Cobras when they were Shelby American Cobras....

It was strictly a business deal between AC Cars and Shelby American for the former to supply chassis made to the specifications of the latter, who then completed the cars for sale to customers. I am unaware of Carroll Shelby or Ford ever seriously considering taking up any level of ownership in AC Cars. It may have been "floated' as an idea, but I would be surprised if it got any further than that.

Always keep in mind that the AC Cars -- Shelby American relationship was one based upon expediency and not necessarily long term interests, business or otherwise. At the time, this was not clearly grasped by most. Nor was it that easy to discern to the average fan, in all honesty.

#7 bill moffat

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 12:14

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
I think that even during the 1960s there was a considerable amount of befuddlement by most, especially among the casual fans, as to the actual relationship twix AC and Shelby American. That relationship was laid out any number of times in the specialist press, but few seemed to heed that information. It grated on the eras of more than a few to hear the cars referred to as "AC" Cobras when they were Shelby American Cobras....


..to the extent that early 289 bodyshells crossed the Atlantic with the ornate "AC" badges in place. One of the first jobs in the USA was to prize these off and replace them with Shelby versions. No one seemed to notice the AC logos on the foot pedal rubbers though...

#8 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 12:30

Originally posted by bill moffat
No one seemed to notice the AC logos on the foot pedal rubbers though...


Quite the contrary, that was often one of the reasons cited that they were "AC Cobras," since otherwise why would they have "AC" on the footpedals? :)

#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 12:58

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
It grated on the ears of more than a few to hear the cars referred to as "AC" Cobras when they were Shelby American Cobras....


Perfectly fair comment from the American point of view - but from the land of the cars' origination and manufacture it REALLY pissed us off to see these agricultural hybrids being described as 'Shelby American' products, when all the colonials did ...it seemed to us... was to fit a Ford V8 engine and market the things with the usual heavy application of BS. In period we always talked about these things being 'AC' Cobras until the Daytona Coupe appeared, and that was a proper quality product which absolutely captured even our respect. I dismissed the Cobra roadsters then, and since, as a bit of a laugh, otherwise a bunch of uncultured junk. The Daytona Coupe changed all that. It was only at that point that here in the UK that we began to take 'Shelby American' really seriously - as did, perforce, Mr Ferrari.

The excellent Rosen book covering the so-called 'Ferrari-Cobra Wars' did history a great disservice in that at the time it wasn't really seen that way at all, anywhere outside Shelbyworld. What Ferrari and SA were up to in the largely disregarded and ignored GT category paled into utter insignificance as a sideshow, totally overshadowed by the wider 'Ferrari-Ford Wars'. THAT was what counted in period, and THAT was what we all got excited about. This now overblown Ferrari-Cobra malarkey was a sideshow....though one which was still pretty good fun to follow.

In the AC Ace chassis/body/suspension combination Carroll Shelby had properly identified potential to accommodate Detroit horsepower in style, with reasonably 'modern' road-holding, braking and handling to match - attributes which seemed a mystery to the US industry of the time. AC Cars at Thames Ditton had the capacity to manufacture in the quantity he required. For the fans of these things it was a match wrought in heaven - neither one would have achieved what the hybrid marque did without the other.

DCN

#10 ian senior

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 13:06

Originally posted by Doug Nye

I dismissed the Cobra roadsters then, and since, as a bit of a laugh, otherwise a bunch of uncultured junk.


DCN


I'm glad to see someone with a bit of authority saying that. It's a view I've long held and I've always been somewhat reticent about going public with such words for fear of being accused of talking balls. Truly a case of brute force and ignorance.

#11 Rob Miller

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 14:08

Funny, people say the same thing about the Chrysler Viper today.

#12 WINO

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 14:14

I totally disagree with the previous two contributions. A car that was uncultured perhaps, yes, but it seems to be forgotten that Shelby American developed the AC concept from day one, as it was completely out of its league for racing purposes the way it was supplied by the Brits. The Shelby American roadsters came off age in 1963 in the U.S., perhaps a territory not well covered in the U.K. Thanks to ongoing development, the Ferrari GTOs were no match after the first 1963 USRRC at Pensacola, where a GTO won. Ferraris never featured again that year, neither did the E-types or the Sting Rays. In addition, the roadster Cobras [American version] often proved faster than the Appendix C sportsracers that year. As for the Ford GT40, didn't that come more than a year later? Lastly, the book The Cobra-Ferrari Wars was authored by Michael Shoen.

WINO

#13 David Beard

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 14:20

Encouraged by DCN...

At the beginning of a conversation with a well known and very American competitor at the last Goodwood Revival, he spotted that my camera bag carried the word "Cobra". He seemed impressed that I was displaying something in the way of affection for Americana. It took me a second or two to cotton on, then had to stop myself from remarking that the Cobra was a British car....

I find it rather irksome that the lovely Ace became so overshadowed....

(PS, I love Scarabs, though...)

#14 WINO

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 14:35

Perhaps because the only things that remained of the lovely ACE by 1963 was the shape of the body and the name on the pedals.


WINO

#15 bill moffat

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 15:00

Originally posted by WINO
Perhaps because the only things that remained of the lovely ACE by 1963 was the shape of the body and the name on the pedals.


WINO


Am I missing something here ???

#16 David Birchall

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 15:08

In conversation with Donald Healey he told me that Shelby approached Him before he approached AC.
Wino- The AC Bristol had a very prestigious racing career in the States and a good one at LeMans. To say that only the body shape remained by 1963 is not correct. The chassis and suspension design was identical essentially too.
The Cobra was a Shelby/AC or AC/Shelby but not uniquely either.

#17 WINO

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 15:13

Bill,

What I was referring to [in jest] was that after early 1963 very few original A.C. parts remained on the Shelby Cobras as they raced in the U.S. Although the roadsters retained the general AC body shape, the internals were completely refabricated to make the cars fast and reliable. And reliable they became.

I was never a fan of either the cars [too fifties-looking] or Shelby [an entirely different subject], but he and his team deserve a hell of a lot more credit than is given to them in this thread. Suggesting that the Cobra was merely a British car in which some Californians dropped a V8 borders on historical misinformation.


WINO

#18 Tmeranda

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 15:24

Originally posted by bill moffat


Useless fact de la jour no. 2 : the De Tomaso Mangusta was named after the Italian for "mongoose", an animal that was fast and ferocious enough to catch and eat Cobras. I must get out more.


Useless fact de la jour no 3. The Jim Halls Chappral was named for a Southwestern bird that was fast and ate snakes.

#19 kayemod

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 15:30

Originally posted by Tmeranda


Useless fact de la jour no 3. The Jim Halls Chappral was named for a Southwestern bird that was fast and ate snakes.


Useless fact de la jour no 4. It's spelled Chaparral.

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#20 WINO

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 15:55

David [Birchall],

Yes, the AC had a magnificent history in the U.S., but confined to the fifties and to the medium-size production class at the time [CP]. There were few American drivers who did not progress in their careers with an AC at some point. But, inevitably, by 1960 the model was often beaten by Daimler [yes!], Porsche and Morgan and soon the model disappeared from the grids.

Same at Le Mans, where after 1959 their appearances dwindled, being uncompetitive by then.

In other words, until Shelby came along [and he did approach various other manufacturers], offering AC Cars another lease on life, the model had no future in competition.

For those who insist on AC Cobra [for the competition roadsters], why not Ferrari Barchetta AC Cobra?


WINO

#21 David Birchall

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 16:15

Well, Wino, The Ace did win the SCCA 'C' Production National Championship in 1961, in addition to 1957,58,59 and 60.
Did a Cobra roadster ever beat the Ace's 7th overall at LeMans? I can't be bothered to look it up :blush:

#22 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 16:17

WINO - quite right, 'Shoen' - just where I got 'Rosen' from I haven't a clue... Otherwise I absolutely stand by my recollection of the way in which the AC Cars/Shelby American relationship was regarded here in period.

DCN

#23 WINO

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 16:46

David,

Touche, partially! However, the 1960 SCCA championship for AC was in D production, by one Eliot Pew. Never heard of the bloke, never a major player and the reason that the AC was kicked down one class was its lack of competitiveness. Bruce Jennings won C-Production that year aboard a Porsche Carrera.

However, for some reason AC was back in CP the next year and Pierre Mion won. Lack of competition? Grid filler to have a CP class in the SCCA program at all? I will have to go through my back issues.

As for Le Mans, the roadster's aerodynamics were never its strong point [early fifties Ferrari, as mentioned before] and Shelby American-prepared roadsters never ran there, just customer cars.
That an AC Bristol finished 7th once in the fifties is commendable, but I fail to see the point.


Doug,

The name comes from the recent DVD set on the same subject. As for our ongoing disagreement on the Cobras, it is too bad that Ken Miles is no longer around to pull you out of conventional wisdom thinking and bring you up to speed.



WINO

#24 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 17:23

But my position - such as it is - was merely expressed as follows....

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Otherwise I absolutely stand by my recollection of the way in which the AC Cars/Shelby American relationship was regarded here in period. DCN


Err - forgive me being so thick, but I don't see how Ken Miles (RIP) could in any way alter the above, since he wasn't over here for any appreciable time in period.... :confused:

#25 WINO

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 17:32

But Miles would be able to provide the details about all the work needed to turn an AC landed in California into a reliable and fast Grand Touring car.


WINO

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 20:33

Do I recall correctly that there was a small number of the cars were built in England?

That is, that the AC works did some shoehorning themselves, and that these cars were recognised as being a little different to their California cousins?

#27 Cris

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 21:09

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Do I recall correctly that there was a small number of the cars were built in England?

That is, that the AC works did some shoehorning themselves, and that these cars were recognised as being a little different to their California cousins?


Yes; a Cobra with COB as a prefix to its chassis number meant it never left Britain while one with a COX prefix meant it went from the AC factory to points in Europe. CSX cars were the ones that went to the USA for both finishing and sale. There are probably exceptions to this, but as to your first question, yes, Cobras were finished in England...apparently the only thing that originally limited the number that were finished was that Ford couldn't supply drivetrains fast enough.Often, Cobras desitined for US East Coast dealers never even went to Shelby American...they were finished at Hugus Ford in PA or Tasca in Rhode Island.

As to your second question, besides the tell-tale serial number, there'd be little in the way of differences between cars finished in different locations.

As far as how similar the production cars were to the comp cars, yes, Shelby American had to change or significantly alter many components in order to make them raceworthy...I seem to recall reading a quote something to the affect that a street car couldn't survive two race laps in its stock form.

The cars were and are wonderful...certainly the result of one man's vision bringing together the skills of many from around the world. In its time the street and competition cars acquited themselves more than admirably...their race record alone speaks to why it deserves the place it occupies in motorsports history and mythology.

Cris

#28 bill moffat

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Posted 30 December 2005 - 21:35

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Do I recall correctly that there was a small number of the cars were built in England?


127 cars were entirely UK-built of which 50 odd were exported. The first rhd car was delivered to Lord Cross in November 1963 whilst the second, APA 6B, was retained as the factory demonstrator.

Just over a 1,000 Cobras of 260/289/427/428 capacity were produced in total.

#29 T54

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 01:53

Useless fact de la jour no 4. It's spelled Chaparral.


Uh, it's "Fact du jour", not "de la" jour... like in "soupe du jour"... :)

#30 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 02:05

I understood that during the negotioations for the production of chassis and body for Shelby, AC cars were always under the impression that their Tojiero designed body/chassis unit would always be labelled as an AC, and it was somewhat of a surprise to them to find that Shelby ripped off the AC badges and used his own. It could never be said that Shelby underpromoted himself.

True credit would have been to call the car a Shelby AC Cobra- Ford, in the same way as its predecessors were called AC Ace Bristols. The animosity this badge changing and advertising material used by Shelby caused between Thames Ditton and California meant that the relationship changed to one of pure expedience on both parts. AC could not afford to get ugly over the issue as it represented a much longer life span for its product. However ACs fitted with the V8, manufactured or sold in the UK and Europe never carried the Shelby or Cobra name.
The AC chassis with its transverse leaf spring was used by Shelby up until the big block engine was used, wherupon more totally different and more sophisticated suspension was used and it could justifiably be known as a different car.
With the transverse leaf spring the car was unsophisticated 'brute force and ignorance' as intimated in the above posts, and far from an easy car to drive, but the later cars were something else altogether. However, in the same vein as Allards of an earlier era, they did the job, and that was that they made made a great competition car. Its aerodynamics mitigated against any serious results at fast circuits such as LeMans, but then the D-Type Jaguar was crap at tight circuits, so I don't share the logic that results from LeMans make the vehicle any more succesful: it was good at what it was intended for, and that was an American Sports racing car. The car never disgraced itself on suitable European events either, in the hands of such as Jochen Neerspach. I cant see how it would be regarded as a side show if Ferrari developed the 250 GTO to quash the Lightweight Es, Astons and Cobras. Sure it wasn't the prototype category which the specialist press concentrated on, but in the minds of the manufacturers i am sure the GTs were seen as very important part of their marketing.
I wish it were the same today - personally I see the prototypes as an irrelevance in sports car racing.

I think Ken Miles deserves far more credit for the work he did on Shelby's behalf with AC, Ford GT and Sunbeam products.
It is interesting that the Sunbeam Tiger never carried the Shelby tag even though the car was built under his inititiation.

#31 WDH74

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 03:35

IIRC, the coil sprung big block chassis was fitted with the small block engine for European market cars, complete with the fat-fendered body. These were labeled AC 289, with no Cobra badging at all.

I tend to refer to the cars as AC-Shelby Cobras, when asked, but more usually just "Cobra".

Trivial Question du jour: Isn't the Chaparral (the bird) a member of the cuckoo family?

-William (meep meep!)

#32 David Birchall

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 03:36

One of the greatest photos (For me) in road racing, is the one of Phil Hill in the Cobra accelerating out of Cerda in the 1964 Targa Florio--Pure road racing!

I dunno how to get rid of the Chevron so you get both :blush:

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#33 Ian McKean

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 18:58

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
...It grated on the eras of more than a few to hear the cars referred to as "AC" Cobras when they were Shelby American Cobras....


I think the posts of Cris, Bill Moffat and Huw Jadvantich illustrate what the cars WERE irrespective of how Shelby chose to brand those sold in the USA. I support Doug's contention that in the UK they were considered to be AC Cobras and it grated that Shelby called them "Shelby American Cobras". The concept of OEM supply was not commonplace in those days.

Originally posted by Wino

... it seems to be forgotten that Shelby American developed the AC concept from day one, as it was completely out of its league for racing purposes the way it was supplied by the Brits.


Even in the 60's I doubt that there was any production car that would not be out of its league for racing purposes without considerable development.

All this makes me wonder who handled the CSI (or whatever it was called then) homologation and what the documentation said. AC Cars entered their own coupe version at Le Mans (of which more anon), not dissimilar to a Daytona but certainly not a Daytona, and very possibly entered the roadster in other events - I can't remember offhand. But certainly many others like Tommy Atkins, Willment, Ford France, etc. entered the car in GT races as AC Cobras. Presumably they had homologation papers confirming that 100 examples had been built. Presumably, also, Carroll Shelby should have presented homologation papers that 100 of his Shelby American Cobras had been built. So my question is, did AC and Shelby American BOTH homologate their vehicles separately? Production figures appear to have been high enough to have permitted this but it does seem improbable.

So did the race organisers look at the homolgation papers when Shelby rocked up and say to themselves, "these Yanks calling their AC Cobras a Shelby American Cobra is just like their calling a Kurtis a John Zink Leader Card Special" and let them go through? Or maybe the boot was on the other foot when the Europeans turned up with their AC Cobras but the homologation papers said Shelby American. Perhaps Ursula Atkins can shed some light here.

Returning to the subject of the AC Le Mans coupe, which looked very like a Daytona but was different, I expect many of us will remember that it was the furore over the testing of this car on the M1 that resulted in the imposition of our 70 mph speed limit in the UK. The papers had a field day when it was reported that Jack Sears had been doing 180 mph.

About twenty years ago I was talking to a colleague called Hedgehog who was an IT contractor. Actually he wasn't really called Hedgehog; it was a nickname coined by our clients in KD Operations at BL. I was called "The Doctor", but I digress.

Hedgehog related that many years earlier he had had a Sunbeam Alpine. They were meant to do about 100 mph top whack but I tended to regard the Alpine as a 2-seater saloon. Having said that, I remember being surprised once how difficult it was to keep up with Andy Dawson driving his mother's example. But that is another digression.

Anyway, Hedgehog was not impressed with his Alpine and complained to the garage that it would not do anywhere near 100. He was a prickly individual and good at complaining. It was arranged that the Alpine would be checked over at Rootes' Competitions Department. When the car came back it looked identical but according to Hedghog would do a genuine 120. He never found out what they had done to it.

Those familiar with the life of the itinerant IT contractor (have coding pencil - will travel) will know that sometimes they have or had to commute long distances to far-away clients. Hedgehog used to travel up the new M1 setting out in the early hours of the morning. One day at about 4 in the morning he was sitting at about 120 mph, with very little traffic but when there was it must have been a shock for them being overtaken by an Alpine doing 120. Then Hedgehog in turn had the shock of his life when the AC Cobra coupe came by going another 60 mph faster still and was out of sight in less than a minute!

#34 Doug Nye

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 19:27

Originally posted by David Birchall
One of the greatest photos (For me) in road racing, is the one of Phil Hill in the Cobra accelerating out of Cerda in the 1964 Targa Florio--Pure road racing!

I dunno how to get rid of the Chevron so you get both :blush:

Posted Image


The Phil Hill transparency was taken by Geoff Goddard and is part of our GP Library Collection. Colour prints for framing are available for a relatively friendly price...

Honest Doug

#35 KJJ

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 20:10

There's a really great colour picture of Innes cornering a Cobra on the 1964 Targa Florio in the new third edition of "All Arms and Elbows". Only problem is that it's Masten Gregory. :drunk:

#36 WINO

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 21:10

According to Shelby he sold between 75 and 80 Cobras in the timespan between the middle of 1962 and yearend, with 10-15% being competition cars. By the end of 1962 he had the car homologated with the FIA, based on these sales numbers and being able to prove that another 100 chassis were "on the water", in transit. He used daily California production records to make his case.

Interestingly, it was not the AC factory that had the model homologated. Does that make Shelby American Inc the manufacturer?


WINO

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 21:50

Originally posted by David Birchall
.....I dunno how to get rid of the Chevron so you get both :blush:

Posted Image


Here... let me give you a hand (hoping Doug doesn't mind, of course)...

Posted Image

#38 David Birchall

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 23:22

Sorry Doug, was that a no no? :blush:
Thanks Ray for sorting it out.
The picture is from Georgano's Encyclopedia of Motor Sport

#39 antonvrs

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 01:48

Dear Mr. Honest Doug, sir-
I'd love to have a print of that shot of P. Hill in that Anglo-American hotrod p.o.s. Whom do I contact?
BTW, is Phil the only F1 World Champion who can honestly state that he never broke a bone or drew blood in a racing car accident?
He says that his only injury(other than blistered hands) came in the Carrera Pan Americana when, after having run off the road and down an embankment, he and Ritchie Ginther had got out of the car uninjured. They then heard a screech of tires and looked up to see a '53 Cadillac about to land on them and the Ferrari and in turning and running out from under he blew out his knee joint.
Anton

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#40 David Birchall

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 02:21

Anton, just so you know, when I scanned the picture the scanner cut the rear of the car and part of the road off-the full picture is even better!

#41 antonvrs

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 03:00

Oh goodie!!
Anton

#42 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 03:46

Originally posted by David Birchall
Anton, just so you know, when I scanned the picture the scanner cut the rear of the car and part of the road off-the full picture is even better!


There's a phrase that covers that...

"User Error"!

#43 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:43

WDH74 is correct about the UK built production coil sprung examples having small block engines and being called the AC 289, my previous post may have been misleading in that respect,; however the coil sprung chassis was developed to return some harmony to the grunt versus handling eqation with the up coming big block versions. The old chassis struggled to handle small block power let alone big block!
As well as the Daytonas and the AC Coupe, there was also a Willment car, similar to the Daytona but not the same.
There are also some differences between FIA homologated Cobras and the originals, particularly the traling edge of the door, which becomes part of the wheel arch on the homologation cars, mainly to accomodate larger rear tyres.

#44 KJJ

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 10:06

There's a photo of Ireland's Cobra taken from exactly the same spot as the Phil Hill photo, so I guess taken by Geoff Goddard as well? I'd be interested in purchasing that as a print if Honest Doug has it for sale. Why the different colour bands across the bonnet, the Ireland/Gregory car has a yellow band, ease of identification?

Innes described his 64 Targa Cobra as the worst car he ever drove.

#45 bill moffat

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 11:35

Originally posted by Huw Jadvantich
WDH74 is correct about the UK built production coil sprung examples having small block engines and being called the AC 289, my previous post may have been misleading in that respect,; however the coil sprung chassis was developed to return some harmony to the grunt versus handling eqation with the up coming big block versions. The old chassis struggled to handle small block power let alone big block!


An easy (but not necessarily as reliable as looking underneath!) means of discerning between the two is that cart sprung Cobras have chassis numbers prefixed with a "2" whilst the coil-sprung cars are prefixed with a "3".

Incidentally the other modification that really got the Barchetta/AC/Cobra/Shelby/Ford thingie going was the replacement of the Victorian worm and sector steering rack with a rack and pinion example. This modification alone was worth 2 seconds a lap around Riverside according to Ken Miles. The only sacrifices entailed were the loss of AC's elegant fore-and-aft steering column adjustment and an additional one and a bit turns from lock to lock.

Watching the pose of a Cobra's driver will give you a clue. If the driver is laid back in a Moss-like position chances are that he is driving a worm and sector car, if he is "all arms and elbows" then that's a rack and pinion car that he is driving...

#46 WINO

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 13:40

Based on Shelby's biography, the disadvantages of the worm-and-sector steering were clear early on, when Shelby American raced the Cobras. Phil Remington was dispatched to the UK to help design a new front end with rack-and-pinion, an upgrade installed with rolling chassis number 126.

Shelby also mentions how the role of AC Cars had changed by 1964, with the introduction of the 427 Cobra. The 7 liter model had a completely new chassis, computer-designed by Klaus Arning of Ford Engineering.

" The AC factory at Thames Ditton still builds the chassis for us, but they now do so exactly to our requirements and measurements. They, in effect, have become subcontractors to Shelby American. The design is laid out here and the chassis is then built over there according to those specifications. We have found that for a limited production run it is actually cheaper to have the cars built over there than to do so here. Tooling, also, is less expensive."


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#47 WINO

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 13:56

Special note for David Birchall:

Le Mans 1963: 7th overall, Cobra Roadster [Bolton/Sanderson]

While not beating the 1959 performance of the Whiteaway/Turner AC Bristol, the 1963 hourly positions were higher.

According to Bill Moffat, the first UK-completed Cobra came in November 1963, which begs the question re the June 1963 Le Mans finisher: Shelby American-finished Cobra or AC Cobra?


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#48 Ian McKean

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 14:19

Originally posted by WINO
According to Shelby he sold between 75 and 80 Cobras in the timespan between the middle of 1962 and yearend, with 10-15% being competition cars. By the end of 1962 he had the car homologated with the FIA, based on these sales numbers and being able to prove that another 100 chassis were "on the water", in transit. He used daily California production records to make his case.

Interestingly, it was not the AC factory that had the model homologated. Does that make Shelby American Inc the manufacturer?

WINO


If Shelby homologated the vehicle as a "Shelby American Cobra" (and AC did not homologate the vehicle independently) I would have thought that AC and others who wanted to enter races for homologated GT cars would have been obliged to enter them as "Shelby American Cobras". But I am sure they didn't so was this because the European race organisers thought the Americans were being stupid and "everybody knows it's an AC Cobra". Or was there a separate homologation by AC? I am assuming (I think safely) that the problem would only arise in Europe.

One can envisage a stuation that if a car entered as an AC Cobra won anything, its opposition could simply protest it as not being homologated. But of course they could only do this once and would look very unsporting.

In modern times, cars are sometimes sold in different markets with different names and this affects motor sport homologation. Mitsubishi Lancer/Mitsubishi Carisma springs to mind. I believe that a single homologation covers both variants.

#49 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 16:55

Page 13 of the Michael Shoen "The Cobra-Ferrari Wars 1963 - 1965" has a scan of the front of Shelby Amercan's homologation application. In the accompanying text, Shoen states that only eight Cobras had been completed when on August 6, 1962 Shelby received the approved document from the FIA.

#50 WINO

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 17:30

If true, this certainly puts Shelby's recollections [as quoted from his 1964 bio] about the numbers produced in a different perspective. For those who have no access to the book, the FIA application states Shelby American Inc as the manufacturer and just Cobra as the name of the car.

WINO