By on April 14, 2009

South African entrepreneur Alan Lubinsky bought the rights to the Cobra name and intellectual properties in 1996. Since then he’s been scamming customers, governments, investors and the media by pretending that the “legendary” Cobra would arise from the ashes to . . . what’s the word for it these days? Viability. In 2006, TTAC (and The New York Times) poured cold water all over Lubinsky’s plans to build Cobras in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The project received tax breaks aplenty and an endorsement from the Governor (no less). This is after Lubinsky left a trail of bad debts and unfulfilled orders in the UK. And before he started taking orders (i.e., cash) for the rights to be a US dealer. After that never happened, Lubinsky tied-up with Texas’ Unique Performance to build a new Cobra. Unique soon fell to pieces amidst accusations of criminal fraud. Now Lubinsky is announcing the new, new, new Cobra. And once again. the automotive press—from Autocar to Autoblog— remain blissfully unaware (or unconcerned) about the scammery involved. So, here’s the most recent press release pitch for a gull-wing Cobra (why not?), chronicled and reprinted in its entirety by AB.

The AC MkVI is an open-top sports car based on the design of the Le Mans winning AC Cobra with many of the original car’s characteristics while incorporating modern technology. The cars are not imitations – they are new generation of AC Cobra incorporating relevant advanced technology. “Every year approximately 1,500 copies of the cars AC built in the 1960s are sold in America,” says Alan Lubinsky. “Why would anyone buy a replica when they can own an authentic AC roadster that is lighter and better and has been engineered and built to such demanding standards?” Weighing only about 1,025 kg, the lightweight AC MkVI GTS sports car can hit 100 kph in approximately 3.3 seconds. “The AC MkVI is wickedly addictive,” says Gullwing’s Juergen Mohr.

Our take: if you have a ten-foot pole, you may put it down now.

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16 Comments on “AC Cobra Scam Continues...”


  • avatar
    T2

    That may work Robert, but I am sure Mr Lubinsky is on hand to supply 11 foot poles to all those who aren’t going to touch this with a ten footer.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    What’s so “gullwing” about it, anyway? The roof appears to pop up while the doors are closed. It’s like t-tops that don’t come off.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    He should’ve just claimed that it was going to be an EV with 300 mile range and he’d get all the money he needs.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Even if he was honest, I am not sure that he’d make money. There are outstanding replicas out there (Kirkham, Superperformance, ERA, and others) already. The fact that he has some kind of ‘official’ trademark or whatever is not going to make a difference.

    I think I am going to turn to a life of dishonesty, it really does seem to pay dividends. Not sure what to target first…investments or automobiles?

  • avatar
    the duke

    Didn’t he buy rights to the AC Cars name? I’d bet he has to pay a royalty to the famous Texan for the Cobra moniker.

    The AC Ace was what old Shelby dropped a Ford small block in to make the Cobra, for those unaware of where the AC in AC Cobra came from…

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    It would be interesting to see someone remake the original AC Ace; a BMW inline-6 would stand in well for whatever inline-6 it originally had.

    For a fast good looking Cobra replica nobody can touch Factory 5.

    “South African entrepreneur Alan Lubinsky bought the rights to the Cobra name and intellectual properties in 1996.”

    As the duke said, I belive you mean the rights to the AC name and intellectual property.

    I’m pretty sure that “Cobra” still belongs to a litigious, bitter old chicken farmer.

  • avatar
    db replicas

    I’m sure it’s not in production. I own the tooling for that rear screen (The one in their pictures)and they ain’t bought any from me. ;o)
    The body in the pics is that of a Dax replica.
    The wheels are Image split rims.
    Ford own the “Cobra” name, not Shelby.

  • avatar
    NickR

    For a fast good looking Cobra replica nobody can touch Factory 5.

    Be serious ;)

    The Kirkham is made out of aluminum, not fibrglass, and is put together by guys who used to build MiGs.

    All joking aside if you glance at the Dupont Directory sometime there is an ad for what one might call an updated AC Cobra. It looks very similar, save for the tail lights. I’d be curious to know the provenance of that particular manufacturer.

  • avatar

    That just proves the uselessness of Autoblog. No fact checking but will post anything for another page view.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    NickR:

    Aluminum was very impressive, back in the late 1800s.

    Now, as a material for unstressed body panels, it’s nothing.

    You can get Coke in a plastic bottle or an aluminum one. You can get a Cobra with glass reinforced plastic panels or aluminum ones.

    Hand beating aluminum makes for a good story, but GRP body panels are just as good with regard to strength and lightness, and allow for a better finish.

    What does a Kirkham cost?

    A Factory 5 Cobra is about $12K before a donor Fox Mustang drivetrain. Also, because Factory 5 is by far the largest producer of Cobra replicas, I’m sure their cars are better developed and tested than Kirkham’s.

  • avatar
    db replicas

    no-slushbox.

    The Factory 5 is cheap for a reason.

    The Kirkham does not use a donor.
    The aluminium body of a Kirkham is lighter than a GRP body.
    The Kirkham looks just like a 1965 Cobra, the F5 doesn’t.
    Completely different ball games.
    Each to their own.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    db replicas:

    From Kirkland: “Each replica comes standard with most everything needed to complete a car (less engine, exhaust, clutch, transmission, drive shaft, differential and half shafts).”

    So the Kirkland needs additional parts, from a donor or parts suppliers, just like a Factory 5. The Factory 5 uses its own tubular frame, which is an improved version of the original Shelby Cobra frame. The F5 front suspension is a bespoke SLA design, and IRS is availiable.

    And please tell me how one of these cars looks like a Cobra and the other doesn’t, I doubt that they give up more than an inch or two to eachother in any dimension:

    http://www.factoryfive.com/roadster/photo/carl/bluecar/G8DS8590.jpg

    http://www.kirkhammotorsports.com/427_sc/gallery/baregal08.jpg

    There are a number of companies that will sell a Cobra replica for over $50K (some of them, like Superformance, still using GRP bodies), but what Factory 5 does in its price range is truly impressive. 90% of the car for less than 25% of the price.

  • avatar
    db replicas

    The F5 car shares as many parts with an original 65 Cobra as the car above, the Kirkham parts are interchangable with an original. The Kirkhams I have dealt with have had new gearboxes, exhausts, clutches, diffs, driveshafts and engine blocks….Nothing from the breakers yard.
    Shame you didn’t show pictures from the rear, we could have seem the “Perky Butt” of the F5 and the Piles hanging out underneath ;O)

    As for GRP having a better finish! I have seen polished aluminium Kirkhams, but I’ve never seen a F5 car in polished Gel Coat……..I have seen the state of the F5 bodies straight out of the mould though!!! EEK!

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    db replicas:

    A builder can put all new parts, a top loader and a crate 427 in a Factory 5, but they don’t have to. Which is the advantage.

    It allows a Factory 5 owner to get a very close replica (visually identical, and a very similar frame, powerful V8) of a Cobra for $20K instead of $100K+.

    The parts on a Kirkham might all be interchangeable (if the buyer chooses the period correct engine, transmission, rear end, etc.), but the car is still fake. And interchangeability means that the original flaws have not been corrected.

    Superformance makes the claim that a GRP allows for a better paint finish. Yes aluminum can be polished, but it’s not then there’s no point.

    Here is the awful rear end of the Factory 5 with things hanging from it:

    http://www.factoryfive.com/roadster/photo/carl/bluecar/G8DS8710.jpg

    The Factory 5 has a price point that puts a target on it for the producers of more expensive Cobra replicas, but the differences are very marginal.

    It does come down to preferences. Personally I think that there isn’t much impressive about a price is no object replica of a beautiful but very basic car.

    Building a very accurate, very well made replica of the Cobra that can be completed for under $20K, now that’s impressive.

  • avatar
    db replicas

    Dragging this off in a different direction does not alter the fact that your initial comment was a bit OTT:-
    “For a fast good looking Cobra replica nobody can touch Factory 5.”

    Maybe you should have added all the additional criteria to your original post. Especially the word “cheap”. Your statement would have held water then.

    You need to drive some of the European Cobra clones, we do “Handling” over here.

  • avatar
    Konaboy

    I’m toying with the idea of buying an AC Cobra. I was wondering if anyone can tell me if there is any serious downside to owning one. I saw one advertised where the guy said “If you are over 5’9″ do not buy this car.” And another “These cars are 4″ longer than other replicas to accomodate taller drivers.”

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