Autokraft: who are they?
By Walalce Wyss
Every once in a while you see an Autokraft Cobra advertised. These usually have aluminum bodywork. Here's the background: Brian Angliss was a Cobra restorer in England in the mid 1970s. After having great difficulty finding original parts to repair and rebuild customers’ Cobras, he began manufacturing and keeping an inventory of parts himself, He called his company CP Autokraft for “Cobra Parts”. Eventually his spare inventory was sufficient to almost build complete cars. Angliss began negotiating with AC Cars to purchase many of the original parts’ jigs, dies, tooling and body bucks.
A.C. Cars Ltd. liked what he was doing so much that, in early 1982 AC granted Angliss’ Autokraft company manufacturing and AC trademark rights for building a new generation of Mark IV Cobras. At least 60 were imported to the U.S. where they were sold at participating Ford dealers with 5.0 liter Mustang engines under the hood. Ironically though in other companies like Germany you could get them without an engine and install a big block Ford.
By 1986, Angliss, the owner of what was by then called Autokraft Brooklands Ltd, acquired AC Cars Ltd outright from the Hurlock family after 56 years of ownership. According to Walter Hayes, the biographer of Henry Ford II, Hayes talked Henry Ford II into having Ford buy into Angliss operation. Angliss spent millions developing an all new car he called the Ace (not Cobra styled) but it was a flop. Eventually, Angliss bought overall control of the company from Ford and manufactured the Mk 4 until 1996. The editors of the Shelby American World Registry recognize some of the Autokraft cars as real Cobras. A previous Registry (not the edition out now) featured only 197 known examples of Mk4s built as original AC cars.
Other sources say 348 factory produced AC Mark IV Cobras were made. Subsequently there have been Mk. V and now there are Mk. VI models though it remains to be seen how future registrars will recognize them as Cobras. We only have partial information on serial numbers which may be of some help if you find one for sale.