Classic AC Roadster Gets a Modern Touch and a Six-Figure PricePAUL STENQUIST
AC Cars, like many British sports car companies, has gone through a rough patch in recent decades.
The famous maker of the AC Cobra has been bought and sold, gone through bankruptcy and only barely manages to survive. And while the company continues to build modern versions of its Cobra, like the AC MkVI, it has also licensed the AC name to an outside sports car maker.
Iconic Motors, a United States-based company founded by Claudio Ballard, a 35-year veteran of the computer industry, has licensed the AC Roadster name for its Iconic AC Roadster, which Iconic said will be introduced in mid-June, with sales beginning later in the summer. The four-year-old company has never made a car before.
The Iconic AC Roadster has a chassis of steel-alloy tubing bonded to a carbon-fiber tub. It is suspended on unequal-length, aluminum alloy control arms with coil-over damper units front and rear. Its Brembo carbon ceramic brakes were reportedly engineered specifically for the car.
The body is not just another Cobra clone. Instead, it has the look of a Cobra that has been carved down and manicured, but it is also certainly reminiscent of a classic Cobra.
A one-third-scale model of the roadster was tested in a University of Michigan wind tunnel. Mr. Ballard said that the body generated 500 pounds of downforce at 175 miles an hour, which should keep the 2,400-pound roadster stable without dragging it down.
Power comes from an all-aluminum 7-liter V-8 that was developed by Ernie Elliott, a Nascar engine builder. It reportedly generated 770 horsepower at the rear wheels in a recent test of a prototype vehicle. Iconic claimed that was enough power to sprint from a standstill to 60 M.P.H. in less than three seconds, while topping out at over 200 M.P.H.
A 6-speed gearbox with a two-disc manual clutch provides ratio changes.
All of the machine and assembly work is being handled by Technosports, a Livonia, Mich., company that offers advanced design, prototyping and manufacture of specialty products. Past clients include major automakers and racing teams.
Mr. Ballard said no more than 100 Iconic AC Roadsters would be built, and he said he expected the first production car to be ready in August. It will cost $350,000 to $375,000, depending on equipment.