The company AC Cars has been around longer than most of us have been alive, that is unless a 100-plus year old is gleefully reading our pages. Unlikely, but you never know.
Anyway, the brand’s most popular model is the AC Cobra, a car that has spurned many knock-offs - both cheap and authentic – with most of them falling by the wayside in a matter of years. There’s a saying that symbolically applies to this: “often imitated, never duplicated”.
Sometimes, though, there’s a car that comes close to the original, awesome enough to warrant a license from AC Cars themselves. This is where we introduce you to the 2012 Iconic AC Roadster. Built in Livonia, Michigan, the Iconic AC Roadster blends old-school craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology, producing a car that’s an aesthetic throwback to the olden days with the speed to put most of today’s supercars to shame.
Hit the jump to check out the AC Roadster’s specs.
The two-seater, front mid-engine, rear-drive powerhouse is made from a fabricated steel tube frame and bonded carbon-fiber tub that takes its reference from the AC Ace, albeit aerodynamically more advanced than the classic version. A lot of the components of the car are CNC-milled from billet aluminum that’s likewise connected with aeronautic-grade fasteners, which, in case you didn’t know, is also taken straight out of the pages of the new-school handbook. The combination of aluminum and carbon fiber creates a body surface that is a boon for paint adhesion and allows longevity on the roadster’s paint finish, which is important in the whole makeup of the car.
The Iconic AC Roadster also comes with a set of staggered Goodyear F1 Supercar Run Flats P275/35ZR-18" tires on the front and P325/30ZR-19" on the rear.
The Iconic AC Roadster’s interior is a unique example of classic craftsmanship done on the perfect level. The whole interior was given a high-grade leather finish, including the race-inspired seats, which has been hand-wrapped with reverse stitching and designed with four-point harnesses as a reminder of what the roadster is inherently capable of. Even the roadster’s D-shaped steering wheel, a reference to what Formula One cars come with, has been given the leather treatment as well as the dashboard brow with the instrument panel gauges being dressed with synthetic sapphire windows.
The Iconic AC Roadster’s instrument cluster includes an Iconic-patented VEEDIMS technology, a gauge design with its own set of analog gauges that’s driven by digital stepper motors to ensure unrivaled control and accuracy, thus allowing for data rates of varying sizes to support instantaneous needle response and accurately reflect real-time data. Should the situation arise where the pointer moves into the red-line, the gauge automatically turns bright flashing red to catch the driver’s attention of the current situation.
Apart from the leather, the interior also has its share of aluminum parts, including custom designed billet aluminum pedal arms with stylized pedal footpads that feature a stainless steel-designed modern interpretation of the iconic AC logo. The roadster’s dash panels are also made from all-aluminum billet pieces that have been tumble-polished and anodized to provide a smooth and soft finish, resembling Iconic’s suspension components, including the suspension’s T7075 aircraft aluminum control arm design cues.
The roadster’s floorboard was designed with a carbon fiber support structure that’s combined with honeycombed aluminum, a combination that’s more commonly found in state-of-the-art fighter jets.
Aesthetically pleasing as the car is, it’s got nothing on what’s inside that tube body. Built by NASCAR vet Ernie Elliot from Dawsonville, Georgia, the Iconic AC Roadster’s engine is an aluminum, overhead-valve, 7.0-liter V-8 from Ford’s SVO division with Iconic designed intakes that have been reworked to produce 825 horsepower and 660 lb/ft of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission. While the exact figures have yet to be confirmed, this classic-looking, road-destroying beast is said to have a 0-60 mph time of below three seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 mph.
Apart from the engine, the Iconic AC Roadster’s brakes are made from carbon-ceramic with its lines connected through the frame and suspension wishbones, which, matter-of-fact, has horizontal shocks in them.
Then there’s the matter of the upgraded technological system, an electrical system developed by VEEDIMS LLC that introduces Ethernet electrics used in a vehicle. What it does is send data and electricity through a network with its own IP address and without the use of any wiring harnesses, allowing the owner to read the car’s data and engine telemetry on his phone. About the only down-side when it comes to performance is that the car doesn’t have ABS and stability electronics, which could pose as a problem, especially if it’s going at break-neck speeds.
The price tag for this fine piece of machine has yet to be confirmed by its builders, but projections have been released that it should come at somewhere around $475,000. It’s definitely something that you just can’t buy at the auto classifieds in your local newspaper.
The competition is tough to gauge for this Roadster considering that a classical design, coupled with modern technology is hard to come by these days. For now, we’re going to put the Iconic AC Roadster in a class of its own, until, say, Bugatti introduces a modern take on the 57sc Atlantic Coupe with a Veyron engine inside it. Unlikely, but we’ve come to learn that nothing is impossible in this industry.