Welcome to wheels, Bart! We have featured several AC Cobras before but your replica looks exceptional! How did you come across this one?
Thank you for reaching out and featuring me in wheels, I am a big fan!
I saw an ad for it online, it was on sale at Al Ain Class Motors and had been there for a while. I went to the showroom a few times to have a look at it and it grew on me and at some point I knew I wanted to have it, but I also knew it needed some love and attention. I decided to go for it even though I was not really looking for any car, but I love to check what is available in the market as there are some great deals to be had for special cars and I just could not resist this one.
I believe Dubai has the best second car market in the world and the Emirates Auction site is great fun as well with some fantastic cars. It has been mine now for just over two months and I haven’t been able to stop smiling since!
That’s understandable, it’s just gorgeous — and to think you nearly went for something else...
I know, it would have been a mistake for sure! I had been looking at Land Rover Defenders, Alfa Romeos and Ford Mustangs. I love the cars that were built in the Sixties — both European and American. In the end, I am really pleased that I opted for the AC Cobra built by Factory Five Racing.
You sold your Caterham to make room for it — do you miss that one?
That is correct — I had a Caterham Seven 270R for three years and it was so much fun to drive, extremely fast and from an engineering point of view so simple and easy to maintain. But, my wife burned her leg badly on the side pipe exhaust the very first time she climbed out of the car and after that incident she hardly ever went for a drive with me which was a real pity. I do miss it but all I need to do is take my new car for a little cruise and it helps to soften the blow because this one is immense in every single way.
The AC Cobra needed a big service when you bought it, how did that go?
It did, and so I took it to Ford but they didn’t know what to do with it as there was no-one there that understood V8 carburettor engines.
So, I brought it to 1,000 Dunes Garage run by Rob Bryan who did some fantastic work on it. I ordered the parts online from California in the US but funnily enough, a few weeks after I bought the car, I received a phone call from the previous owner. He said he had left a box full of spare parts at the showroom that I could have and when I went to pick this up I noticed there were four immaculate Weber carburettors and a customized manifold!
The previous owner didn’t manage to get all the parts assembled and decided to go for a simpler configuration. We decided to get the Webers installed and the result is mind-blowing. The performance of the car is so much better now.
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These cars are ever so thrilling to drive, even when you’re just cruising! How much fun is it proving to be?
I live off Jumeirah Beach Road and when I am cruising there on a Friday afternoon it is pure bliss. I have never had so much fun with a car. I drive it into work every Thursday and during the weekend I look for any excuse to get out with it!
It attracts a lot of attention wherever I go, people take pictures of it all the time. You can’t travel through the Dubai unnoticed in a car like this. My wife and kids love it. My son, Storm, is 16 and he really loves the sound the car makes. We regularly go for a coffee run in it while my 22-year-old daughter, Tess, wants to borrow it when she goes horse riding.
It’s a far cry from your first ever car, a little Uno with a 1.0-litre motor!
You can say that again! But I have fond memories of that Fiat; it was a great ride and I remember the sense of freedom it gave me but the best thing I have ever driven has to be a bright yellow Lamborghini Murcielago. It was very thrilling.
I have also owned a 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera and a 1994 Volvo 850 and currently have two Nissan Patrol Safaris. One is a manual two-door short wheelbase and the other is an automatic four-door long wheelbase. I love desert driving so the short wheelbase Patrol is fantastic for that. I have made every possible modification to that car apart from putting a turbo on it.
That sounds pretty good, maybe we can do another feature with you and it! Back to the AC Cobra, you have taken it to the Dubai Autodrome and put it through its paces on the track — how exciting was that?
Oh yes, it was a real thrill to be out on the track with this beast but I am still trying to get familiar with the car so I am careful with pushing it to its limits. I have a few plans to upgrade the 4.6-litre Ford V8 with 32 valves and the Weber carburettors and the drivetrain further so I get more comfortable with its capabilities.
How proud do you feel to own this?
I think even for Dubai standards this is a very special car. My friends know I like my cars so they are not surprised I bought this one. It is a real head-turner.
It makes these explosions in the side pipes every now and then and luckily I have not been stopped by police yet! When I wanted to get it registered with the RTA they wouldn’t pass it because it doesn’t have any windscreen wipers but I promised them I would fit these soon and they were kind enough to pass the car.
Finally, what is your dream car?
My absolute dream car is the Ferrari F40.
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