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|AC Cobra 289|
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|COB 6046 is one of the more famous Cobras and with a full history that includes Royal ownership and a successful racing career it is certainly an example that has helped to create the legendary status of the Cobra. Today it is also one of the best Cobras, in superb condition, the restoration of many years ago has now mellowed nicely whilst it drives beautifully, having recently been fully sorted by the marque specialists.|
COB 6046 was consigned on the 10th December 1964 to appointed dealer HW Motors Ltd of Surrey and was registered on the 22nd December to Lord Patrick Lichfield, society photographer and cousin to Queen Elizabeth. Finished in maroon with black interior and registered EAB 778B (as it remains today) the car very much embodied the style and optimism of the Swinging Sixties and was a natural choice for Lichfield, a lynchpin of fashionable London Society.
After several years, Lichfield sold the car to Richard Taft who registered it with his own plate RT 1942, with a few modifications he took the car racing with some success, a second place overall and class winner in the 1970 STP Modsports Championship with three outright wins and seven second places. The racing success of the car is documented in a number of articles at the time, copies of which are in the history file as is a copy of Autosport, dated 20th August 1970, which features COB 6046 on the front cover in pole position.
Taft sold the car to Vic Smith and David Shone who continued to campaign the car with success, following a racing accident it was sold in 1975 to John Irving, a pilot from the Isle of Skye. He consigned the car to CP Autocraft, (latterly AC Cars Ltd) of Brooklands, for a rebuild, utilising a full Gurney Weslake 389 bhp GT40 engine. With Weslake alloy heads, and four 48 IDA Webers, this engine produced 430 bhp, as compared with 271 bhp in the standard 289, and gave a reputed 0 to 100 mph time of less than 10 seconds!!
Rod Leach of Nostalgia fame acquired the car midway through the restoration and insisted that the car be completed to the highest standards. It was completed in 1978 to original road appearance albeit with bonnet scoop to accommodate the engine and chrome wire wheels.
It was sold to English collector David Bennett in 1979 who won two concours before being reacquired by Rod Leach who advertised it in 1980 as
“1964 A C Cobra 289 EAB 778B totally restored to absolute perfection by CP Autocraft, possibly the quickest and best road/race Mark 2 anywhere”
Crown Prince Saud of Saudi Arabia purchased the car in 1981 having seen this advert, he used the car briefly in Geneva before returning it to the UK for storage with Rod Leach. In 1982 the Prince lent the car to Prince Michael of Kent and eventually gave it to him as a present. Shortly after, Prince Michael asked Rod Leach to sell it for him and it was sold in 1983 to Eric Weissburg, in New York, performer of “Duelling Banjo’s” in John Boormans film “Deliverance”
Following a concours win at the S.A.A.C National Meet, the car sold in 1994 to Peter Fino Jr of Chicago, before returning to the UK in 1995 with dealer Brian Classic, who sold the car to well known collector David Morrison, based in Surrey.
Later, in 1995 the car was purchased by dealer and collector William Loughran who sold the car to Hans Dieter Klein in July of that year. He sent the car to marque specialist Uniclip Automotive who carried out a substantial amount of work to the steering, suspension and brakes. This work was carried out so that the car could compete in historic rallies – indeed, it took part in the 1996 and 1997 Kitzbuheler Alpenrallyes, before returning to the UK in 1999.
Richard Worrall purchased the car in 2000 and in early 2001 it was given a FIVA identity card. Later that year a new engine was built up from scratch by Mathwall Engineering, it was installed along with a host of modifications by Cooper Motorsport of Liss. Unfortunately the car was not ready in time to take its place in the 2001 Tour Auto.
In recent years this superb Cobra has been returned to its original specification with the installation of a correct 289 engine purchased from the Cobra Shop in Switzerland. The car returned to Brooklands where respected marque specialists Thunder Road Speed Shop carried out a full inspection of the car. It was found to be in very good order, nevertheless a number of items were found to be wanting and each identified area has been fully addressed as documented in the inspection sheets and subsequent invoices in the history file.
In excellent order and faithful to its original specification COB 6046 now looks as it must have when parked outside the smart establishments frequented by the Lord Lichfield, however the substantial history file minutely documents every aspect and adventure of the cars life in between. The Cobra comes complete with full weather equipment including long and short tonneau covers and hood with frame, hardtop in body colour and the GT40 spec Mathwall engine mounted on an engine stand.
One of the most important of the 46 right hand drive Cobra 289’s with significant ownership history and racing success that has been carefully prepared for its new owner to enjoy in the 50th anniversary year of the model.
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