One minute and 24.073 seconds. That’s the quickest an AC Cobra has ever lapped the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit. The blistering time was set during qualifying for last year’s RAC TT Celebration race, the undisputed jewel in the Revival’s crown. The three-times Le Mans winner and 2012 World Endurance Champion André Lotterer was the man at the helm and this Cobra – chassis COB 6044, a genuine right-hand-drive 289 from 1965 – was the car in which he did it.
More remarkable was the fact Lotterer had never even tested the car before. In fact, the Belgian-German ace was reportedly adamant after the qualifying session had ended that the Cobra had more to give. His sentiments were confirmed on Sunday afternoon when, after one of the most memorable TT races in years, Lotterer and the car’s owner converted their pole position into a commanding victory and snagged the most sought-after winners’ cigars in the historic motor racing world.
The searing performance of this AC Cobra is a testament to the efforts of both the car’s owner, a well-respected and accomplished gentleman driver, and Ian Gwynne’s BGMsport outfit. In all, over £200,000 and three years of painstaking development and extensive testing were invested to bring COB 6044 up to race-winning specification, all the while respecting its remarkable originality.
The latter is a salient point – this Cobra benefits from an incredibly rare clear and continuous history stretching back to 20th July 1965, when it was delivered to the Sussex-based AC dealer K.N. Rudd, resplendent in Princess Alice Blue with a red interior. All its subsequent owners are traceable and maintained the Anglo-American beauty to the highest possible standard. To say its history file is extensive would be an understatement. Now it’s time for someone new to write the next chapter of this ultra-significant, highly eligible and front-running AC Cobra’s story.
“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing this Cobra for a number of years,” comments William I’Anson, the Cotswolds-based historic racing car specialist who’s been charged with selling COB 6044, “and it’s been so exciting to closely observe its journey towards winning undoubtedly the most prestigious race in historic racing: the Tourist Trophy at the Goodwood Revival. I’ve seen first-hand the amount of time and effort both the owner and Ian Gwynne at BGMsport have put in to bringing COB 6044 to where it sits today. What makes this particular car so special is that all of this has been done while retaining its all-important originality.”
Beyond all its aforementioned credentials, we reckon arguably the car’s biggest trump card is that it’s road legal, meaning you could drive straight from Goodwood to a beautiful country pub to smoke the cigar you’d just won on the track. Dual-purpose sports-racing cars – you’ve got to love them!
Photos courtesy of William I’Anson / Jayson Fong © 2020