1965 AC Cobra Roadster  Chassis no. COB6055

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Lot 560
1965 AC Cobra Roadster
Registration no. NPA 210D Chassis no. COB6055

Sold for £ 227,000 (US$ 278,623) inc. premium
1965 AC Cobra Roadster
Registration no. NPA 210D
Chassis no. COB6055


  • Rightly regarded as one of the all-time great classic sports cars, the muscular, fire-breathing Cobra succeeded in capturing the hearts of enthusiasts like few of its contemporaries. Just 1,000-or-so Cobras of all types were built between 1962 and 1967, but such was the model’s enduring popularity that production was resumed in 1980.
    Convinced that a market existed for an inexpensive sportscar combining European chassis engineering and American V8 power, Le Mans-winning Texan racing driver Carroll Shelby concocted an unlikely alliance between AC Cars and the Ford Motor Company. The former’s Ace provided the simple twin-tube chassis frame - strengthened and supplied with four-wheel disc brakes for the Cobra - into which was persuaded one of Ford’s lightweight, small-block V8s. The 260cu in (4.2-litre) prototype first ran in January 1962, with production commencing later that year. Exclusively for the USA initially, Cobras - minus engines - were sent from England to be finished off by Shelby in California, and it was not until late in 1963 that AC Cars in Thames Ditton got around to building the first fully finished European-specification cars.
    After 75 Cobras had been built with the 260cu in engine, the more powerful 289cu in (4.7-litre) unit was standardised in 1963. Rack-and-pinion steering was the major up-date; then in 1965 a new, stronger, coil-suspended MkII chassis was introduced to accommodate Ford’s 427cu in (7-litre) V8 engine. Wider bodywork, extended wheelarch flares and a bigger radiator intake combined to create the definitive - and much copied - Cobra look.
    One of only 44 right-hand drive made for the UK market, AC Cobra chassis number ‘COB6055’ is listed in the Shelby American World Registry. Originally built in right-hand drive form and finished in metallic beige with black interior, ‘COB6055’ was delivered on 9th July 1965 to first owner J M Underey. The car was registered ‘NPA 210D’, a Surrey mark, and received a factory hardtop in December 1966. Subsequent owners included Simon Masters; J J Kidson, of Hampshire; and J R Heath, of Watford. In the late 1970s the Cobra was offered for sale via Autosearch with ‘new bodywork’ and repainted in black.
    In 1984 the car was purchased by the current owner, who recalls that he had seen it advertised in Classic & Sports Car and, after a gentle haggle, ‘bought it as seen, for a sum that nowadays seems almost reasonable.’ The vendor’s fascination with the Cobra had begun 20 years previously at the Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1965, when five Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupés were in serious contention with eleven Ferraris and six Ford GT40s. That was the year in which AC Cobra won the World Sports Car Championship, against all the might and arrogance of Ferrari.
    The three previous owners had treated ‘NPA 610D’ quite well, with only minor fettling needed. While in the current ownership the car has always been maintained by specialists, initially by AC Cars at Thames Ditton, then by Autokraft and more recently by Andy and Bill Shepherd of Uniclip Automotive. Some years ago the original Autolite carburettor was replaced with a superior Holley, while the engine had - reputedly – been overhauled by Mathwall Engineering prior to acquisition. A cosmetic refurbishment was carried out in 1992 including a re-spray, new carpets and trim, but nothing else major has been needed. The vendor advises us that the 4.7-litre V8 supposedly develops around 300bhp, while its massive torque enables the car to pull from little more than walking pace in top gear.
    ‘NPA 210D’ has covered 73,000 miles from new, many of them attending AC Owners Club events in the UK and Europe with the vendor at the wheel. The car has been exercised at Silverstone, Goodwood, Spa and Zandvoort, as well as at the Nurburgring where it managed 140mph on the four-mile straight. It was a concours winner at ACOC meetings in 1992 and 1993, and participated in ACOC intercontinental tours between 1990 and 1994. ‘NPA 210D’ is pictured on the cover of (and extensively within) Simon Taylor & Peter Burn’s book, AC Heritage.
    Finished in dark blue with black leather interior, the car retains its original registration mark and is offered with bills and other paperwork dating back to 1972, old-style logbook, assorted expired MoTs (x21), (copy) instruction book, Swansea V5 document, (copy) Shelby Registry entry, current road fund licence and fresh MoT.
    As may be imagined, the vendor has derived great pleasure from his faithful Cobra: ‘She may be neither as quiet as a mouse nor as comfy as a Roller, but she is a real sports car and a dependable friend, having great character, elegance and purity of looks, with an outrageous performance but forgiving nature.’ Presented in excellent condition, ‘NPA 210D’ is ready to provide its fortunate new owner with that unique Cobra experience.
1965 AC Cobra Roadster  Chassis no. COB6055
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