In this video get behind the wheel of a Hawk 289 Cobra.
Get behind the wheel of a Hawk 289 Cobra, a sports car inspired by the legendary AC Cobra of the nineteen sixties.
Shelby/AC Cobra vs Hawk 289
Back in the early 1960s American racing driver (and 1959 Le Mans 24 hours race winner), Carroll Shelby had the brainwave of fitting a Ford V8 into the British AC Ace. The AC Cobra was born. The 289 Cobra had a 260HP Ford 4.2 litre V8 (289). With less than 600 289 Cobras made in the sixties, original cars command prices in the millions today.
Which brings us to the Hawk 289 Cobra, a car produced by Hawk cars ‘in the spirit’ of the original 289 Cobra. A car that looks like an original Cobra and when fitted with a Rover V8 like this car, goes and sounds like a Cobra. But without the seven-figure price tag.
Fun fact – Back in 1964 racing driver Jack Sears supposedly clocked 185mph in an AC Cobra on the M1 motorway. Back then there was no speed limit. After the press got hold of the story the outcry resulted in the 70mph limit we still have today (or so the story goes). We weren’t anywhere near these speeds on the North Wales roads in making this video!
Filming the Hawk FIA Cobra
The spring weather was near perfect, sunny with clear blue skies on the day we turned up to film this car. Any Cobra isn’t for the shy and retiring and this car gets a lot of attention. In FIA spec, this Hawk looks better suited to qualifying than the A55, even before it starts up. The sound of the Rover V8 through those side-mounted exhausts has to be heard to be believed. They are LOUD and heads turn wherever it goes. Petrolhead or not, people seemed to love this car. I quickly lost count of the number of smiles and positive reactions it received in just a few hours.
In the 21st century, there must be few road-going, driving experiences as raw as this Cobra. Driver aids have made massive power outputs easy to control in the last 20 years. Traction control systems have made us all feel like driving heroes, simplifying and diluting the art of driving fast. 30 seconds in this Cobra reminds you it hasn’t always been this way. It’s like being attached to a predatory animal. This Cobra may only have around 200bhp there isn’t much to it, it’s light. Traction is just a throttle jab away from being broken. With zero sound proofing you can hear not only the engine but the brake pads grabbing hold of the discs, stones hitting the arches, transmission noise as it pushes the torque through those sticky rear tyres.
It’s then that you remember that the real heroes raced these cars for 24 hours over half a century ago. And that power outputs of the 428 Cobra were more than double this Cobra, on nineteen-sixties tyre technology – Phew!
We hope you enjoy watching. Our thanks, as always, to the owner and the 289 Register for their time in arranging/making this video.
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