By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

For all the Shelby Cobra's significance in the world of motoring, only 998 original Cobras were ever built. Given the Cobra’s quintessential looks and muscle-bound nature, demand vastly exceeds the supply of originals, and there was already a market for recreated Cobras by the late 1970s. A number of firms made a go at it by the 1980s, but few had really produced a solid, marketable product. A cunning Cobra restorer named Brian Angliss and his company Autokraft knew this, and his final product, the Autokraft AC MkIV, would become one of the most respected, albeit contested, early recreations.

Already deep in the business as a restorer and parts supplier, Angliss had an intimate knowledge of original cars, and more importantly, a stock of original AC Cars parts, tooling and bucks. By the early ’80s, Autokraft had started production of its Cobra in the U.K. dubbed the Autokraft MkIV. These cars were made in 427 styling with an aluminum body and a sensible Ford 302 ci V8. By 1982, Autokraft acquired licensing from AC Cars, prompting a name change to the Autokraft AC Cobra MkIV.

A big shift came in 1986, when the Hurlock family, owners of AC Cars, sold the company to Autokraft. Angliss then sold 52% of his company to Ford, and the Autokraft Cobra was then sold on Ford dealership floors in the U.S.

In terms of physical characteristics, the Autokraft cars started on an authentic-style chassis with 4-inch main rails. The aluminum bodies were a little thicker than Shelby’s, made from 16-gauge material. To comply with U.S. federal regulations, the cars utilized a federalized 302 V8 and telescoping 5-mph crash bumpers. The latter element likely led Autokraft to extend the nose of the Cobra slightly around the grille opening.

Unfortunately, the use of the V8-powered Cobra’s name and likeness by Autokraft rubbed Carroll Shelby the wrong way, as he wasn’t making a dime on it. Word is, that Shelby and Angliss had corresponding letters published in the English magazines of the day, arguing whether who was in the wrong. In 1996, Autokraft stopped production of the MkIV, having produced 480 cars in all.

This Autokraft AC MkIV Cobra is a lovely example of the marque presented in mostly original condition with a wealth of supporting documents and paperwork. AK1131 has logged just 4,000 miles over the years, and the engine has been upgraded with aluminum heads, down-draft-style fuel injection system, a Ford Motorsports camshaft, headers and billet pulleys. The body is finished in Diamond White nitrocellulose paint with blue stripes and the interior is finished in black Connolly leather.

Supporting its pedigree, the car has a current high bid of $72,500 with one day remaining in the auction. It's hard to say where this one will end up, as MkIVs have sold all over between $70,000 and north of $130,000. If we're the seller of this car, we'd probably have our reserve around $100,000.

See the auction here at BringaTrailer.com.