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✨ “Take it easy driving – the life you save may be mine.”
― James Dean
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I write this blog on behalf of my husband, Dave Clarkson, who supplies me with all the technical specs, info and interesting stories! Feel free to contact him on his cellphone at +27 60 637 2560.


Monday, 29 July 2013

Purrring softly...


It doesn't take much to lift the spirit when things have not been going well. I was sitting in my Jaguar the other night, warming the engine, when a friend popped around.

"How's it going, chief?" he asked. So I reeled off the list of expensive problems I've had to fix. "Still looks great, though," he said, and took a seat beside me. I smiled, turned up the music and noticed that there was still some light in the sky and decided to take the Jag for a quick run.

We turned out of the driveway and headed for some open road. The engine was purring softly (the expensive triple-SU's I fitted were paying off!) The carbs kicked in, gave a rush of power and soon we were travelling at a speed I can't mention here. I took my foot off, slowed down to a decent cruising speed and at the next turn-off headed back for home, the list of "expensive problems" totally forgotten.


A question that pops up quite often is about classic cars as an investment. There's now doubt that the abysmal performance of financial institutions has encouraged investors to have some fun with their money and put it into a classic car.

If you had a spare R300 000 lying in an investment account, the best growth you could hope for (at current interest rates in Money Market of 4.9%) is about R14 700 growth per annum (before tax). R300 000 invested in say, an Austin Healey, would render a growth of around R90 000 per annum (before tax - about 30%).

With summer still in full swing, it's still time to think about top-down motoring. You must own a convertible at some time, so why not make it now? Austin Healy, Jaguar E-Type, MGB Roadster, Morgan, Lotus, TVR, and Triumph TR2, TR3, TR4, TR5 and TR6 all offer 'topless' motoring and an excellent investment to boot but, as the saying goes, THE TRUE VALUE IS APPRECIATION!
- by Dave Clarkson

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Friday, 26 July 2013

Austin Healey Sprite


There may have been faster, smaller sports cars than the 1958 Austin Healey Sprite, but few have been more endearing. With its gaping grin and the pop-eyed headlights that gave it its "Frogeye" nickname, this little brother to the big 3000 Healey captured the hearts of enthusiasts the world over.

In fact, the trademark protruding lights were an afterthought when the extra cost ruled out Donald Healey's idea for retracting headlights.

Taking its mechanics from the well-filled BMC parts-bin (mostly Morris Minor and Austin A35), the 11ft 5in (3.5m) Sprite had a chirpy character on the road, too, with a respectable top speed of 84 mph (135kph) and up to 45mpg attainable.

 Its one-piece front-end lifter up to give excellent access to the 948cc A Series engine, which gave all of 43bhp.

AUSTIN HEALEY SPRITE - 1958 - 61
Engine : In-line four
Capacity : 948cc
Power : 43bhp
Transmission : 4-speed manual
Top Speed : 84mph (135kph)
No. Built : 38,999

It spawned many variants with increasing levels of ugliness and luxury, though the performance of the last Austin Sprite in the early 70s was way above the original Frogeye. there was a badge-engineered MG variant, too, reviving the old Midget name, that lasted until the late 70s in hideous rubber-bumpered form.

The Frogeye was unmistakable from the rear too, with its tiny lights and minimal bumpers. 

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Friday, 19 July 2013

1962 Austin Healey 3000 MK.II


Many years ago, in the 1970's, I was at an Austin Healey show day at Patterson Park in Norwood (Johannesburg) and was impressed with a red Healey 3000 tri-carb on exhibit. My heart raced with excitement and I swore that one day I would own one of those, come what may!

Recently I heard of one of these beauties for sale in Cape Town and without seeing it, bought it over the phone and had it sent up to Jo'burg on a roll-back. You can imagine my anticipation when it arrived a couple of days later - British Racing Green with black Leather and white piping interior - immaculate condition - an ABSOLUTE dream!


72-spoke chrome wires, detailed engine bay and even a leather Tourneau! Magnificent! Had been a no-expense-spared rebuild back to standard in the U.K. and shipped to Cape Town by the previous owner.

As it came of the roll-back, I fired the motor and boy oh boy! talk about 3 SU growl - the sound is incomparable!

You can imagine that, in 1962, nobody could tune the 3 carbs, so Austin Healey went back to 2 carbs - the E-type proved the rest about 3 carbs.

In my mind, Austin Healey was one of the greatest sports cars ever produced.

 Getting ready to go to the car show

The original "big" Healey was the Healey 100, first shown at the Earls Court Show in 1952 and hastily adopted by BMC as the Austin Healey 100 with the 2.6-litre four-cylinder engine from the Austin Atlantic. Bodies were built by Jensen of West Bromwich, central England, with final assembly at the MG factory at Abingdon, Oxfordshire. In no way was the Healey a sophisticated motor car; it had a separate chassis, cam-and-peg steering and a solid rear axle sprung and located by half elliptic leaf springs.

In 1956 the six-cylinder BMC series C engine from the Austin Westminster was shoehorned into a stretched version of the car to make the 100/6. However, this wasn't entirely successful; performance was down compared with the torquey old four.


Redemption arrived in the form of the three-litre 3000 MK.I in 1959: outwardly the same pretty, shapely, low-slung two-seater but with a 2912cc 124bhp engine. Performance went up to 114mph (183kph), while new front disc brakes improved the stopping power. Overdrive, wire wheels and nominal two-plus-two seating were optional as before.

For 1961, BMC upped the power to 132bhp with triple SU carburettors for the MK.II 3000, followed a year later by the MK.IIa with wind-up windows, a curved windscreen and a proper, fully convertible hood. From this point, the cars were two-plus-two only and can be recognized by a vertical-slat front grille.

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 On the way to the car show

Last, and best of the line, was the 1964 MK.III with improved breathing for 148bhp, pushing the top speed to over 120mph (193kph). Brakes were improved by servo and, inside, the car had a rather opulent wooden dashboard, somewhat at odds with its macho reputation as a rugged driver's car.

 North America was always the car's biggest market and it was American safety legislation that finally ousted the 3000 from production in 1967, after which BMC replaced it with the far less successful MGC. Despite its low ground clearance, the Healey was a formidable works rally car in three-litre form and was never quite the crude and rugged car of legend, certainly in later form. It remains one of the most sought-after British sports cars of the 1960's.

The Healey looks wonderful from the rear. The four-cylinder cars had the best handling.

1962 AUSTIN HEALEY 3000 Specifications 

Engine : 6-cylinder
Capacity : 2912cc
Power : 124-150bhp
Transmission : 4-speed, optional overdrive
Top Speed : 114-120mph (183-193kmph)
No. Built : 49,926 all types




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Monday, 15 July 2013

1971 ASTON MARTIN DBS V8 - Part II

Among Britain's top car and plane makers, two enjoyed similar routes to producing the best in their respective fields.


As a follow-up on the article by Ron Wheeldon on the Aston Martin DBS V8 published in "Drive" in January 1991, the Aston, at that time owned by Trevor Carter, was subsequently sold to Alan Nash, who owned it for a number of years before being acquired by myself in 1995. I'm not a fan of automatic cars, especially not in a sports car, and after having taken the DBS (which is manual) for a test drive, I was hooked! As Ron said in his article in 'Drive', there certainly are not enough superlatives to describe this particular model, which was the only manual in the country at the time.

When Webber Wentzel Bowens Attorneys sponsored the appearance of Ron's Hawker Hunter T Mk 68 at the Swartkops Air Show on 22nd April 2000, Ron invited me for a head-to-head contest with the Mk 68 down the runway. The following article appeared in Issue no 3/2000 of "CARS IN ACTION'.
The Aston Martin DBS and Hawker Hunter 

"BULLDOG BEST" - Hawker Hunter F Mk 58 vs Aston Martin DBS V8 - "Wings & Wheels" - John Smith looks at the Hawker Hunter and Aston Martin DBS V8

Shortly after the Great War, two new names emerged which would become the pride of the British nation for the remainder of the century. The Liquidated Sopwith Aeroplane Company was reborn as Hawker, and the Singer Car agents Bamford and Martin started producing their own cars named Aston Martin.

The firm struggled financially and produced less than seven hundred 1,5 and 2 litre cars up until the outbreak of WW2. Hawker prospered when new developments in aircraft design forced the military to purchase new equipment, culminating in the immortal Hurricane.

In 1947, tractor and gear manufacturer, Sir David Brown bought out the Aston Martin Company injecting much needed capital. The following year, he acquired the Lagonda firm, and with it the rights to manufacture the new Bentley designed 2,6-liter six-cylinder engine. Thus the DB series of cars were born, which would win Le Mans and the world sports car championship in 1959. The next decade would see the Aston Martin DB5 as the transport of choice of the James Bond movie character and with the introduction of the new V8 powered DBS.

1947 also called for a new jet fighter to defend Britain against high flying jet bombers, but technology was advancing so fast that the specification was obsolete before an aircraft was designed o meet it. Thus a private venture by Hawker was hastily accepted, using existing know-how to bridge the gap between the obsolete jets of WW2 and the supersonic designs that had yet to be developed.

 During the Biplane era, the Hurricane had been developed in much the same way, and even put into production without a single order from the dithering authorities, a move which, in all probability, saved Britain from invasion when ready supplies of Hurricanes were available, compared with a trickle of Spitfires.
First flight of the Hunter prototype was on July 20, 1951, flown by test pilot legend, Neville Duke. Just in time for the Cold War and the potentially menacing fleets of Soviet bombers, the Hunter was rushed into service, despite fundame ntal problems like engine surge (with consequent compressor stall and engine flame-out) when firing the guns at high altitudes.
A special after-burning version of the Rolls Royce Avon engine enabled Neville Duke to fly the prototype to an absolute world record speed over a 3-km course of 1170 km/h in 1953.

As the Hurricane had been developed into a successful fighter-bomber, when the Spitfire could take over the role as air superiority interceptor, the Hunter, with its ferocious cannon armament, followed suit with the introduction of the supersonic Lightning. Later versions had uprated engines and hard points under the wings for extra fuel tanks or bombs. Export orders were received from over a dozen countries and aircraft were supplied to, amongst others, Switzerland and Rhodesia. Although the former were never to fire their guns in anger, the latter were to give excellent service during the bush war. So effective was the Hunter as a gun platform that, in response to some journalistic hyperbole, Rich Brand was able to score a bulls-eye on a dustbin with a five round burst from the 30mm cannon!

During the horsepower race of the Sixties, Aston's venerable six was being humbled by the average American family's station wagon, with its large capacity pushrod V8. For the aristocratic marque from Newport Pagnel, this would simply not do. So Tadek Marek, their Polish-born engine-man, was commissioned to design their riposte. No ordinary Yankee V8 this turned out to be; an all-alloy design with cast iron wet liners (much like an Alfa) with 4 over-head cams.

 In true Aston tradition, development was done at Le Mans in two Lola T70's, with production engines being beefed up in the areas which had shown weakness. The result was an over-engineered monster motor of 5.34 litres (327 to Chevy fans) with chain driven oil pump the size of an ostrich egg and a 12 litre sump!

Aston Martin, believing that comparisons are odious, refused to divulge such an academic trifle as the power output. The Motor Magazine estimated around 375 bhp in the flattering SAE measure, but for comparison today, it would be around 310 bhp DIN. Whatever, the fact remains that the car with Bosch mechanical fuel injection system and 5-speed manual ZF gearbox, is a real stormer.

Aston Martin DBS 

Despite its considerable mass, acceleration is still impressive for a thirty year old car: 0 - 100 km/h in just under 6 seconds and the Quarter-mile in low fourteens. All this with a top speed of at least 160 mph and a cabin trimmed to the standards of a Rolls Royce. Owner of the 55 000 mile feature car tells me that once he had sorted out the complexities of the injection system, the car has been totally reliable; the heads have never even been lifted.

Dave Clarkson is a tractor specialist and finds such matters undaunting; chassis no 10303 is one of the last of the David Brown cars produced before the company was sold and the cars detuned by the fitting of Carburettors.

Hawker Hunter F MK58 

Ron Wheeldon owns two Hunters: a single-seater F Mk 58 and a two-seater T Mk 68, both ex Swiss Air Force. The fighter was delivered in 1959 as part of a batch of 100 and later developed into a fighter-bomber wielding Maverick missiles. The two-seater was a re-manufactured RAF trainer, which became an Electronic Warfare version, delivered in 1974 and upgraded with new systems in the Eighties, to keep pace with the new technology on the battlefield. In November 1994, the Swiss Air Force disposed of its ageing Hunter fleet to make way for new F18's. Having been meticulously maintained for so many years, these exciting machines, with their superb handling and immense airframe strength, were snapped up by war bird collectors like Ron.


During an air show at Swartkops on 22nd April, Webber Wentzel Bowens Attorneys sponsored the appearance of Ron's T Mk 68 in a head-to-head contest with Dave's Aston in a drag race down the runway. Dave saw 55 mph in first and 85 in second as he scorched away in the lead initially, but by the half-mile mark, it was "game over" to the Hunter. At 260 km/h, it was time to get airborne and with the Aston running out of room to brake, the dice was essentially over in the time you have taken to read this paragraph.

If you choose to get your adrenaline rush by mechanical means, then a classic jet fighter must be the ultimate choice. If refinement, mixed with raw power, is your goal, then the Aston must be the answer; a Boss Mustang for the English country gent."

Specifications 

Hawker Hunter F Mk 58
Engine : Rolls Royce Avon 207 Axial flow turbojet, 10150 lb thrust Max speed 1149 Kmh or up to a trans-sonic Mach 1:2 in a dive 90 deg

Chassis : Aluminium Alloy stressed-skin monocoque capable of withstanding +7:8 and - 5:0 "G" limits.

Mass : 9800 kgs in "civilian" trim 1134o with weapons (max) 3800 lbs
Fuel Consumption : 2000 litres/hr

Aston Martin DBS V8 1971 V8
90 deg. 100 mm bore x 85 mm
Stroke 5340 cc 9.0 : 1
Compression power (see text)
Torque 400 ft.lb 5 spd ZF
Manual or 3 spd Chrysler Auto Diff ratio 3.54 : 1 (Man)
Platform chassis with integral steel super-Structure to support alloy body panels
Mass : 3800lbs
Fuel Consumption : 14 mpg

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Monday, 8 July 2013

1971 ASTON MARTIN DBS V8 - Part 1

Extract from "Drive", January 1991 - written by Ron Wheeldon.

Ron Wheeldon tries a much-aligned Aston Martin model on an AMOC run... and comes away impressed.

DBS V8

"The problem with Aston Martin cars, or with writing about them anyway, is the speed with which they exhaust one's supply of superlatives. The result is that one ends up either being extremely picky of babbling on like a teenager with a "hot chick".

Not that there's anything feminine about Astons. These machines are impeccably bred but are well matched to their James Bond image. They fit the character's good manners and civilised veneer, but always with that hint of menace beneath.

Of all the David Brown era Aston models, the last, the DBS, has always been the least popular among classic car 'types' and almost any article one reads about the DBS V8 model (with fuel injection) is crushing in its criticism - the car is portrayed as impossibly thirsty with a level of temperamentality capable of driving the most phlegmatic of owners to distraction.

I was never wildly impressed with the appearance of the car either, the early four-headlight nose and spoiler-less tail conspiring to render it almost ordinary. As a member of the Aston Martin Owners' Club I had many opportunities to regurgitate this derogatory information and this browned off a certain Trevor Carter sufficiently to motivate him to lend me his DBS V8 for a club run, so I ended up the proud possessor of the machine for almost two weeks.

At first it seemed to confirm all the worst opinions of the various scribes, reluctant to start and exhibiting an almost total lack of torque at low rpm so that, pulling off in first gear, was a similar experience to coaxing normal cars off the line in second, not enough revs on the clock and you stall, then the car won't want to start again ... Nevertheless, these turned out to be matters of learning the correct technique, which came quite quickly, and I was amazed at how soon I revised my earlier uninformed opinions. If anyone tells you that the DBS V8 is a dog, ask him if he ever got used to one that had the Bosch fuel injection set up by someone who actually understands it, and chances are he'll belt up.

The DBS must rate with very fine champagne as a sensual pleasure.

The interior is clothed in fine leather, as one would expect, and the very wide cabin with the two large armchairs breathes quality, as with other Astons. The dash slopes toward your feet and is sell laid out with tach and speedo easily visible through the steering wheel flanking the oil pressure gauge and a quartet of warning lights. The instrumentation of these cars has been roundly criticised for coming out of a host of other manufacturers' parts boxes, and is not impressive, typically British with no frills and gadgets, but it does the job.

The motor is not intrusive and it runs smoothly so that squiring the machine around the city and motorways is very calm and relaxed, the ride being truly excellent, not quite up to the Rolls-Royce standards, but not too far adrift from them either.

Road and wind noise is kept to a very low level at all normal motorway speeds, just a distant roar from the tyres and a bass murmur from the engine.

The most enduring impression I have of it, though, is of a feeling of control; the car goes exactly where it is pointed, the power steering is just right in that it doesn't feel like power steering at all at speed, and the massive weight of the car is translated into stability that brings to mind expressions lie 'rock' and 'tracks'.

At 160 km/h, the feeling is of being at about 80, secure, relaxed, with easy conversation and the distinct impression that a cruise down to Cape Town at about 180 km/h would be a pleasant doddle (please, Mr. President, may I have an exemption from speed restrictions?).

The power is such that the Aston virtually ignores hills and a nudge on the right-hand pedal translates into an instant, eager rush, which seems to have no end, so overtaking is no problem at all. The brakes are well up to the task too, reassuringly powerful, bleeding off speed even more rapidly than the engine puts it on (the DBS was tested 170-0 in 6 sec).

A highway express then, not a sports car? The DBS tips the scales at almost 3600 lb and is no light-weight, but one finds that weight figures lose their significance on tight, twisty roads.

The AMOC breakfast run took us to Hunter's Rest near Rustenburg and I drove the DBS with a load of four adults on some roads that must have been designed with sports cars in mind - sports cars like the Ferrari Dino, Lotus Europa and, well yes, the Aston DBS.

While in all truth the Aston probably couldn't stay with the former two in an all-out race on a twisty circuit, it is easily more than their match as a road car. It is astoundingly nimble and reacts well to being driven with flair.

Originally a mere adaptation of the DB 6 chassis, the set-up of the DBS is truly superb, and with the well-spaced ratios in the ZF 5-speed gearbox allied to the shattering power of the V8, the result is a remarkably rewarding driving machine. As a bonus, I found that the fuel consumption was also within reason - an average of 18 1/100 km.

I found that I liked it more and more and even the less-than-exciting lines have a plus factor. One doesn't feel like a poseur driving the car. Handsome rather than beautiful, it doesn't do the Ferrari 308 bit of screaming to all and sundry that it's an exotic car.

For those in the know, though, this is a very exotic car indeed, and the quiet exterior conceals engineering and an engine with few peers. The V8 originated in the early sixties, when Aston's engine designer Tadek Marek had finished the work on the six and it was clear that, for competitive racing, something bigger was necessary.

Work on the V8 started in 1963 and the quad-cam unit was running in mid-65, with initially disappointing results. Nevertheless development continued and, as fitted to the Lola-Aston-Martin T70 in 1967 in five litre form, it developed 421 bhp. Two cars raced at Le Mans, but engine failure caused both to retire.

The lessons learned, however, helped enormously with the development of the road-going engine. This was finally fixed in capacity at 5 340 cc, using a bore and stroke of 100 mm x 85 mm and could, in some states of tune, develop 400 bhp. As fitted to the DBS, it seems, although the company at that stage did not divulge power figures, the engine was developing about 345 bhp. Whatever the exact figure, the power was clearly substantial - Motor found that the injected V8 was capable of 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, 100 mph in 13.8 and a genuine top speed of 160 mph. These were world-beating figures in 1969 when the car was launched, and remain very impressive today.

It is a little realised fact that the first DBS V8 was the fastest production Aston of all until the appearance of the Vantage model in 1977. Driving the car, one simply has the impression of endless, effortless "oomph" and that, in the final analysis, is what matters most.

So the DBS is an exclusive (only 405 were built between 1969 and the face-lift at the end of 1972), roomy, very high performance, hand built, prestigious, practical supercar, for my money worth all those superlatives.

If there's a better car, the Vantage V8 is probably it; you can bolt as much on to your BM or Merc as you like, they remain rubber stamp cars and just not in the Aston's class.

For those who would denigrate the Aston as out-dated and over-sized, I would refer to the fact that Road & Track magazine decided, in 1983, to find out which was the fastest exotic car of all of those then on sale. The mix included Porsche 930 turbo, Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari 512 BBi Boxer with the Aston included, but not really regarded as a contender.

The testing was done in Germany and the highest true speed obtained was 177 mph by the fastest car of the lot - the out-dated, over-weight, four seater Aston Martin!"

 1971 ASTON MARTIN DBS V8 
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Friday, 5 July 2013

1983-94 AC Cobra MK.IV


To see hairy sports car demography from a true perspective, you have to spend time with the granddaddy of them all: the rawest, fastest, most dangerous sports car, a light-weight Brit two-seater stuffed with far too much power for its own good. If only to prove that they're not really that hairy at all - even a leaf-sprung Cobra has the character to look after you, as long as you're not silly with it, though coil-sprung cars are better, and easier, on your back. 

 Real MKII's and AC289's (the smaller-engined Brit version of Shelby's seven-litre MKIII) have gone over the £250k mark, but there is a cheaper alternative: sample the raw delights of the Cobra in MkIV form. The Eighties Autokraft-built MkIV has all the style, all the grunt, in a slightly more comfortable package. Early cars are now more than 20 years old and many have been retro-fitted with Sixties-style dashboards, so you could just as well be in the real thing. Even these cars are £60,000-plus now, with one of the 26 Light-weights built approaching £100,000. 

 AUTOKRAFT BOSS Brian Angliss gave the Cobra a new lease on life 15 years after production ended, but attempts to revive the marque with an all-new Ace proved short-lived. Angliss also restored classic air craft, including a Hurricane, at the AC factory. 


Photography : Classic Cars Archive

SPECIFICATIONS
ENGINE : 4736-5000cc V8
POWER : 250-300bhp
PERFORMANCE : Top Speed - 140mph. 0-60mph - 4.5sec
FUEL CONSUMPTION : 20mpg

"Never think of your car as a cold machine, but as a hot-blooded horse."
 - Juan Manuel Fangio (1958)
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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

50 Classics to buy before you die!



There are some classics that bring together a set of qualities in a way that can change the way you look at cars, change how you spend your spare time, even change your outlook on life! They offer an experience that stimulates the senses and enriches your appreciation of the great diversity and creativity that has shaped our motoring world.

Below I am listing "50 Classics to Buy Before You Die" - From the beguiling agility of the Peugeot 205 GTI to the sensory overload of the Ferrari 250 GT short wheelbase, you owe it to yourself to try AT LEAST ONE of these very special cars!

1. Alfa Romeo 105-Series
2. AC Cobra MkIV
3. Aston Martin DB4-6
4. Austin Healey 100 and 3000
5. Austin Mini Cooper
6. Austin Seven
7. Bentley 3-Litre
8. BMW M3
9. Bugatti Type 35B
10. Buick Electra 225
11. Caterham Seven
12. Chevrolet 150/210
13. Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray
14. Citroën 2CV
15. Citroën SM
16. Datsun 240Z
17. Ferrari 250 GT SWB
18. Ferrari Dino 246
19. Ferrari 365 GTB/4
20. Ferrari 308
21. Ford Model T
22. Ford Galaxie
 23. Ford Mustang
24. Gordon Keeble GK1
25. Honda S800
26. Honda NSX
27. Jaguar E-Type
 28. Jaguar XJ12 Series I
29. Jensen Interceptor
30. Lamborghini Countach
31. Lancia Aurelia B20 GT
32. Lotus Cortina MkI
 33. Lotus Elise S1
34. Marcos GT
35. Maserati Ghibli
36. Mazda MX-5
37. MG TC
38. MG Midget/A-H Sprite
39. Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing
40. Morgan Plus 8
41. Peugeot 205 GTI
 42. Porsche 911
43. Range
44. Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow
45. Tatra 603
46. Toyota MR2 MkI
 47. Triumph TR3A
48. TVR Griffith and Chimaera
49. VW Golf GTI MkI
50. Willys Jeep


1983-94 AC COBRA MKIV


To see hairy sports car demography from a true perspective, you have to spend time with the granddaddy of them all: the rawest, fastest, most dangerous sports car, a light-weight Brit two-seater stuffed with far too much power for its own good. If only to prove that they're not really that hairy at all - even a leaf-sprung Cobra has the character to look after you, as long as you're not silly with it, though coil-sprung cars are better, and easier, on your back.

 Real MKII's and AC289's (the smaller-engined Brit version of Shelby's seven-litre MKIII) have gone over the £250k mark, but there is a cheaper alternative: sample the raw delights of the Cobra in MkIV form.

The Eighties Autokraft-built MkIV has all the style, all the grunt, in a slightly more comfortable package. Early cars are now more than 20 years old and many have been retro-fitted with Sixties-style dashboards, so you could just as well be in the real thing. Even these cars are £60,000-plus now, with one of the 26 Light-weights built approaching £100,000.

 AUTOKRAFT BOSS Brian Angliss gave the Cobra a new lease on life 15 years after production ended, but attempts to revive the marque with an all-new Ace proved short-lived. Angliss also restored classic air craft, including a Hurricane, at the AC factory.

Photography : Classic Cars Archive 


ENGINE
4736-5000cc V8
POWER
250-300bhp
PERFORMANCE
Top Speed : 140mph
0-60mph: 4.5sec
FUEL CONSUMPTION
20mpg

Never think of your car as a cold machine, but as a hot-blooded horse.
- Juan Manuel Fangio (1958)

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