AC Cobra Review from UK and Ireland

2004 AC Cobra 212 S/C 3.5L V8 twin turbo

Model year2004
Year of manufacture2004
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 3.5L V8 twin turbo Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.4 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance6500 miles
Previous carAston Martin DB6

Summary:

Raw Lotus V8-engined superbeast!

Faults:

Various electrical gremlins appearing at this mileage from the electrical side of things (switches, dash etc.) but the mechanical side of the car is top notch.

However all problems were kindly rectified by an AC specialist, whom I have taken out an extended warranty with for any potential future problems.

General Comments:

Well let me start by saying this car is an amazing icon. Everyone knows what it is, a hairy monster of a car!

The Lotus V8 upfront is really something to behold. It has a nice noise to it, but not the traditional sort of rumble you'd expect; more a sporty growl. However I am thinking of purchasing some custom made stainless steel pipes to provide more of a bark, as I find it a bit too quiet, but that's just me!

The chassis is just like all Cobras of old. There are no electronic nannys to hold you back like on a lot of today's modern cars, so some sense and driving skill is definitely required! Be an idiot and you will almost certainly be in the first hedge! Or on the wrong side of the road facing the wrong way! And so on and so on.

You get the picture.

However, if you treat it with a bit of respect and coax the car around the corners, and never take it out in the rain, you will be OK.

As for performance, it's nothing short of scary! Push too hard on that throttle and the torque will start making that back end snake and weave, which does take some getting used to, but controlled throttle and this thing grips and sets off like a rocket! Very very fast.

I recently came up alongside a nearly new Ferrari 360 and the results were amazing; once I had managed to get some power down, the Ferrari just could not leave me, and once it got past about 50-55 I was very much ahead. However a corner loomed on the horizon, so hard braking was required, and the Ferrari then caught up and overtook! But it was close.

For those of you who don't know what a 212 model is, it's a Lotus Esprit V8 engined model made by AC from approximatly 2002 onwards in the UK. It has the traditional side exit style exhausts, which aren't as big as a 427's, but are a nice size and noisy.

The car has about 350 bhp in standard trim and does 0-60 (assuming you can get the power down!) in approx. 4 seconds depending on conditions etc. and flat out I have a feeling it might just pull 160 mph, but don't quote me on that! I have had it up to 135 on a strech of track, but ran out of tarmac. There was a lot of power left in her though.

I don't think I'll ever get rid as it's a great weekend summer toy! Unless a mint 427 sc model came along, which is highly unlikely!

The thing that really got me into these was when I was on a trip to America, and I happened to be lucky enough to see a brilliant 427 sc model, which I thought no longer existed. However the guy was happy to show me round the car, and told me that he had spent approximately 6 years on it, on and off, and it was a beauty! It certainly made the growl that I long for in mine.

Anyway, I'm sort of going off on one here.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th December, 2006

17th Jun 2008, 07:49

Yup. Nothing better than an American V8 roar. It would be a shame without it.

Average review marks: 6.4 / 10, based on 1 review