Carroll Shelby conceived the idea of shoehorning Ford's new small-block V-8 into the light and lively British AC Ace in 1961, and deliveries to America began in 1962. The British liked to call it AC Cobra; Americans preferred Shelby AC Cobra or Shelby Cobra, or just Cobra.
In deference to the owner of the car featured -- none other than Carroll Shelby himself -- we'll call it Shelby Cobra. His is a 1964 with 289 V-8 and four Weber carbs.
Though the AC Ace roadster served as the basis for the Shelby Cobra, the chassis was stiffened and a Salisbury limited-slip rear axle was installed. Cobra styling was nearly identical to late Aces, with their final, smaller grille, but flared wheelarches to accommodate wider tires were added, along with Cobra badging.
This 1964 is a Mark II, which retained the original transverse-leaf-spring Ace chassis and 289 HO V-8 but adopted more precise rack-and-pinion steering. Only 528 Mark IIs were built.
The Mark II interior was typical British sports car, except that this one has an automatic transmission lever sprouting up between the seats. This makes it unique because Cobra 289s came with a manual four-speed Borg-Warner gearbox. But it's this car's owner that really sets it apart.
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