Cobra | Tesla

British specialist manufacturers, AC Cars Ltd. (formerly known as Auto Carriers Ltd.) had been having difficulty finding engines for its small-volume AC Ace two-seater roadster. This had a hand-built body with a steel tube frame, and aluminum body panels.

Carroll Shelby was one of the world’s first professional race car drivers and, at age 37, a bad heart forced his retirement from racing. He wanted to build an American sportscar and needed a car that could compete with the Chevrolet Corvette in US sports car racing. In 1961 he approached AC and asked them to use a small block Ford 221 Windsor V8 engine in the Ace chassis, thus producing the first AC Cobra.

Sold in the US as the Shelby Cobra, it was one of the fastest cars available at the time. Considered an American/British hybrid, the car made history. 

From 1962 on, AC exported completed, painted, and trimmed cars, the AC Ace 3.6, (less engine and gearbox) to Shelby who then finished the cars in his workshop in Los Angeles. 

The first production model was the Shelby Cobra 289 MKI (1962-1963), Followed by the MKII (1963-65), with modifications including a steering rack borrowed from the MGB and steering column from the VW Beetle.

For the MKIII a new chassis was designed and developed in cooperation with Ford. This car was marketed as the Shelby Cobra 427 (1965-1967). 

Cobras raced at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans. In 1964 a specially designed 427 coupe won the GT Championship.

A higher powered MKII, the 390 Big Block Cobra, was developed for racing but did not receive adequate development.  Ken Miles raced the car at Sebring and pronounced the car virtually undriveable, naming it “The Turd”. It failed to finish with the engine expiring due to damper failure. 

A famous MKII, modified and developed for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, was the Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe (1964-1965).

In late 1968 AC stopped production of the Ace body and the last Shelby Cobras were built.

From 1961 to 1968 a total of only 998 were produced (655 were 289 Cobras and 343 were 427 Cobras).

Tesla, Inc. is an American automotive and energy company based in Palo Alto, California. The company specializes in electric car manufacturing and solar panel manufacturing (through its SolarCity subsidiary).

Tesla was founded in July 2003, by engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, under the name Tesla Motors Inc., later joined by Elon Musk, J. B. Straubel and Ian Wright. Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla in February 2017.

The company’s name is a tribute to Nikola Tesla, an Austrian-American inventor/engineer, best known for his design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

In 2018, after 10 years in the market, Tesla was ranked as the world’s best-selling plug-in passenger car manufacturer. 

Tesla’s sales strategy is to sell its vehicles only on the internet, using company-owned display their cars and technology. Tesla is the only automaker that sells cars directly to consumers; all others use independently-owned dealerships. This policy is controversial and has spurred numerous lawsuits with some US States and other car distributors. 

The company’s first car was the first-generation Tesla Roadster (2008-2012), a battery electric vehicle (BEV) sports car, based on the Lotus Elise chassis. It was the first highway legal serial production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles per charge. The car was discontinued when the Lotus contract expired with 2,500 units supplied.

Tesla has partnered with Daimler AG and Toyota on various projects.

Current models are the Model S five-door liftback, Model X mid-size luxury SUV, and Model 3  luxury four-door sedan (compact executive).  

New models unveiled for 2020 are the Tesla Model Y compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV),  Tesla Roadster four-seater sports car, and the Tesla Semi Class 8 semi-trailer truck.