First Drive: 2012 Iconic AC Roadster

VEEDIMS delivers electric power and digital data on the same cable throughout the car. A network of small electronic modules serves individual locations: dashboard, engine, headlamps. Oh, and the patented, automatic gas cap. That's right: a button on the dash causes the fuel filler door to drop down and recede along a track beneath the fender arch. Meanwhile, further below, the gas cap unfastens itself and pops open. How has mankind been able to struggle along until now without such a device?

Another VEEDIMS attribute is remote diagnostics. The modules are programmed to retain every event in the Roadster's history, and the data can be accessed and analyzed from afar, software patches being sent if necessary.

The VEEDIMS patent was awarded in June. Far beyond Iconic Motors, the obvious potential is for replacing the conventional automotive wiring harness in mass-produced vehicles, lessening weight, complexity, and failure risk. Boats, airplanes, and oil rigs could benefit as well.

Delucia says Shelby American demurred when it was approached about doing this project, so Iconic turned to AC Cars for a licensed branding exercise honoring the original Cobra's 50th anniversary. The first production Roadster is promised for delivery in late February of 2011 as a 2012 model. While the official price is yet to be disclosed, the result is a car that will sell for "close to that $500,000 range," he said. The company intends to produce 100 units.

Based on our experience, the owner of this approximately 2400-pound car is going to have an incomparable blast. Despite its diminutive stature and stance, the Roadster is a big, hairy beast. The engine, an aluminum, overhead-valve, 7.0-liter V-8 from Ford's SVO division, is built by Ernie Elliott of NASCAR renown. The Iconic team designed its own intakes and tuned the powerplant to produce the claimed 800 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque.

The V-8 awakens with a gruff rumble, but pressing the accelerator starts a thunderous eruption that's accented by notes of Icelandic and Indonesian volcanoes and hints of Greenlandic glacial bodies crumbling into the sea. Iconic claims a 0-to-60 dash below 3.0 seconds and a top speed beyond 200 mph. We were bottled up on an autocross course at Ford's Dearborn proving grounds, so we can attest to neither figure nor to the 8000 rpm redline. But while the power did indeed seem as vast as a trillion-dollar spending bill, it's as tractable as a local bridge project.

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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