This 1963 AC MA200 prototype may very well have been the 2nd Shelby Cobra.
In 1963 AC Cars envisioned a new prototype to replace the Ace. It was to be called the 1963 AC MA-200 Prototype and was even written about in Road & Track, with a question being asked, 'Is this the new Cobra?' Unfortunately, only one of these cars was ever made due to Carroll Shelby ordering large quantities of Ace’s for his Cobras and the idea was scrapped.
The prototype eventually wound up in the hands of the chairman of AC, Derek Hurlock who used it as a daily driver for a while until it finally ended up being sold to the current owner through a dealership. Mark Gold, the AC’s current owner, found the car from an ad describing the car as 'V8 AC.' The inadequate description was shady, to say the least, however, after hearing about the car’s history Mark bought it sight unseen. It isn't every day that you find a one of one Euro-sport prototype like this.
So the restoration began, being that this was the only car of its kind in the world parts were very difficult to find. Mark even went so far as to enlist the help of an aircraft designer, Maduski, who helped design the prototype. Unfortunately, Maduski died shortly after being contacted by Mark, however, he did leave behind a box that contained 27 factory original engineering drawings, black and white photos of the car being built, and his notes pertaining to the building of said vehicle. It seemed that the restoration would continue its progress and the car was to be returned to its original glory.
Those photos of the car being built were very helpful as the restoration team was able to use a jeweler's loupe to identify parts and adjust their measurements accordingly. An old rumor had circled the legend of this car since its birth, it was said that Carroll Shelby had given Derek Hurlock a brand new GT40 engine to put in the car. This rumor was semi-confirmed when the team looked under the hood and found a GT40 block however it had stock hydro heads and hydro intake manifold. Mark Gold chose to give the car a hydro engine that was supposed to be in the car in the first place, upon further examination of the engine VIN he found that both engines had been produced on the same day.
- Original VIN: 1442
- New motor VIN: 1644
This gave the car a more personal feel and the idea that it was as close to original as they were going to get with the car. Some parts had to be swapped out because it was the only car of its kind. When it was complete the car had been given tail lights from an NSU1100 and the license plate light off of a Porsche 356 along with some other minor adjustments that had to be made.
After a long 3-1/2 year restoration the car was finally ready to be shown off. Making it’s first appearance at the Amelia Island auto-show where it took the title of "Best In Class." Taking that title seemed to fit the car nicely, wowing crowds at both the Saint John’s and Winter Park auto-shows. Mark Gold contacted R&T to inquire about a second piece being written, unfortunately they never responded and it seems that the 1963 AC MA-200 Prototype would not be featured again. However the car certainly made, and continues to make, a significant impression on all those who lay eyes on this Ultra-rare icon.