AC Cars takes legal action over Cobra sports car

4:35 PM June 7, 2022

5:12 PM June 7, 2022

A Norfolk firm is taking legal action against a car dealer in a dispute over a classic sports car brand, which was once driven by racing legend Stirling Moss.

AC Cars (England) Ltd, which is based in Carleton Rode, along with Acedes Holdings, are taking London businessowner Clive Sutton and his company to the High Court over allegations of trademark infringements.

The motor firms claim that Clive Sutton Ltd, a car dealership, is selling replica AC Cobra cars, which are being made from fiberglass rather than aluminum and cost around half the price of period Cobras.

AC cars are considered iconic British sports cars that have been in continuous production since 1901.

The AC Cobra Lightweight launched at Brooklands race track, the scene of the originals many records.

An AC Cobra pictured in 1992
– Credit: PA

David Conza, CEO of AC Cars, said: “These vehicles are imitations, and in no way connected with Acedes Holdings and AC Cars. We will protect our brand and our customers from imitation vehicles and fakes, and will continue to challenge any who attempt to pass products off as legitimate Cobras.”

Alan Lubinsky, chairman of AC Cars, added: “AC Cars is Britain’s oldest car manufacturer but over the years many companies and individuals have tried to airbrush it out of the Cobra’s story. They believe that they can lay claim to the name by creating imitation vehicles, but this is not the case and we will always pursue those that attack our heritage.”

In a statement, Clive Sutton disputed the claim.

It said: “Clive Sutton Ltd is a luxury car dealer, which specializes in the import of American cars, including those engineered by Superformance. Of these, we’re very proud of the MKII Slab Slide RHD, MKIII RHD and MKIIIR, which replicate the legendary Shelby Cobras which terrorized the race tracks in the 1960s.

“We are aware that Acedes and AC Cars have commenced trademark infringement proceedings against us for use of the SHELBY COBRA trademark in relation to these cars.

“We consider the claim to be without merit and will be vigorously defending it. As proceedings are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

An iconic sports car

A mechanic works on a 1962 AC Cobra during the Goodwood Revival at the Goodwood Motor Circuit, in Ch

A mechanic works on a 1962 AC Cobra at Goodwood Motor Circuit in 2017
– Credit: PA

The AC Cobra is a classic sports car that is renowned for blending an American engine with British style and manufacturing.

The first was built in 1962 in the UK and then exported to the US to be sold.

In 1963 the car entered in Le Mans, the famous 24-hour endurance sports car race, where racing legend Stirling Moss was the team leader as the British team finished seventh overall and third in the GT class.

The success of the British Cobra during the race cemented its place within the sports car world and led to an increase in sales to race car enthusiasts.

A combination of a Ford engine with a light car made it one of the fastest cars in the early 1960s.

The cars racing success, along with its 1960s sleek design resulted in it becoming a sports car icon that remains popular with classic car collectors today.

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