Above all else a truly great sports car is dependent on abundant power and agile handling. Unfortunately, power costs money and thoroughbred power can be prohibitively expensive. One attractive alternative has been the big, relatively unsophisticated and cheap V8 engines at which the American motor industry excels, although traditionally the sporty chassis has long been the province of the European manufacturers. A hybrid of these two has always been the grail for would be budget supercar builders; many have tried to combine American power with European handling — and many have failed. One man, however, managed to make this magic formula work, both practically and, to a lesser extent, commercially. He was a laconic Texan who had been a flying instructor, a chicken farmer, a Grand Prix driver and a Le Mans winner, before turning his attention to bringing together a Ford V8 engine and an AC chassis to build a car he called the Cobra. His name was Carroll Shelby. The Cobra was an awesomely fast road car, an almost unbeatable racing car and the basis for Shelby to achieve his aim of beating Ferrari to win the 1965 World Championship for GT cars. Only in production for just five years (which saw just a thousand or so built), the Cobra has nevertheless become one of the greatest of all sports car classics. This then is the story of how Shelby, battling against the odds, married an American giant to a tiny English sports car builder and so created a unique masterpiece of automotive history. Starting with a look at the heritage of AC, a look at the Cooper Sports Car JOY 500, which perhaps can be looked upon at the inspiration of the AC Ace, and following the story through the development of the Cobra, the competition roadsters, the Daytona Coupe, and on to a look at Shelby after the Cobra, and its modern day cousin the Dodge Viper.