First Drive: 2012 Iconic AC Roadster

If not for our knowledge of the magical cable snaking through it, the Iconic AC Roadster might produce a ho-hum response as just another Cobra continuation, replica, or wannabe. We've certainly experienced enough attempts to recapture that glory.

But this time, it's the things you can't see under the hand-formed body panels that distinguish the Roadster. For example, besides the aforementioned cable, the 800 hp under your right toe adds an unmistakable measure of distinction. And there are the gorgeous hand-made aluminum components. The dry-sump oil reservoir, for one, looks as though it could recharge Iron Man. Every screw and bolt (including the wheel nuts, for which a special socket was created) has a maximum-contact, 12-point head. Unions in the fuel, oil, and water lines are made snug by shell clamps. Brake lines wend through the hollow space inside suspension links. Air from the front wheel wells vents through the floor pan to help reduce drag. The details were considered and preordained.

"What's happened to manufacturing quality?" computer guy and Iconic Motors founder Claudio Ballard asked business partner Keith Delucia during the Roadster's planning, which started in 2005. "Let's get rid of the cost factor for a minute."

Delucia says that with the Roadster, they set out to achieve the appeal and finish quality of a Veyron or an Enzo, to create an American supercar that's assembled in Detroit -- well, the suburb of Livonia -- after engines are built in Georgia, parts are milled from blocks of aluminum in Vermont, and body panels are rolled and hammered in tiny (not to be mistaken for tinny) Kimball, Michigan.

Long a Cobra lover, Ballard decided that replicating it would produce the perfect test bed for his new technology. This brings us to the snaking cable, for which he was named 2010 inventor of the year by the U.S. Business and Industry Council. It's called VEEDIMS for Virtual Electrical Electronic Device Interface Management System.

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not 1/2 bad
Agreed. I love (almost) everything that Carroll Shelby touches, but not many people will be able to enjoy or pay for something like this. You could get a kit car and do anything you want to it......
I see no point of another replica of the AC Cobra, especially at this price. The technology is interesting but not too different than what is being used by Painless in most of the replica cars anyway. The fit and finish are worth something but its market is definately narrow.

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