Directional stability at speed is unusually good, regardless of crosswinds and road surfaces. The car can be controlled with a fingertip on a good road, and gentle curves call for no extra force. Under racing conditions, a reduction of steering-wheel work can be achieved by throttle steering, but even on a normal road it pays to look ahead, and with intelligent driving, it is possible to reduce the physical effort considerably.

Caution when using the brakes on a slippery surface is imperative. The 12-inch discs have no power booster, but so little pedal effort is required that under extreme conditions most drivers are likely to apply too much force on the pedal rather than not enough. The ultimate stopping power on a dry surface is limited by locking of the rear wheels. The hand brake is well placed and comfortable in use, but it is not of the fly-off type as on Ace-Bristols.

Without going the whole hog, HRG-fashion, the AC Cobra has a well-equipped instrument panel, with gauges to tell you the temperature of the oil as well as the water, large dials for MPH and RPM, and an oil pressure gauge–but why the clock? It is obscured by the driver’s right fist most of the time, and when a clock is needed, it would hardly be considered reliable enough anyhow.

There is a roomy (relatively) glove box, but we were surprised to find there’s no map-reading light.

English soft tops usually sacrifice a lot on the altar of lightness, and that of the AC Cobra is no exception. It is not flimsy, and the fastening is clever, but there is continual buffeting, rattles from the side windows, drafts and leaks everywhere. In addition to the side clips at the windshield edges, there is a slide at the center of the top of the windshield frame, with nailheads on the top securely fastened. The frame for the top is removable and may be stored separately in the trunk.

Every time we test a genuine 150-mph road car, the question crops up whether there is really adequate justification for their existence. In every case we have been convinced that there is. For people who enjoy traveling fast, the tremendous importance as a safety factor of a generous power reserve at all times cannot be overestimated. High-speed highway merges become routine and overtaking distances become amazingly short, so if not abused, the 150-mph sports car can be the safest yet simultaneously the fastest (it goes without saying) car on the road.

The AC Cobra is not as sophisticated or as well-integrated as the cars it is competing with both in price and in racing classification. It will be interesting to see if the phenomenal performance bias will “bring the car off” as a commercial success. Commercial or not, the hair-curling level of performance the Cobra provides will certainly give the ranks of big production-car racers pensive moments.

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