Monster power and torque - but can Ian Kuah keep it on the black stuff?
Looking just like an AC Cobra 427 at a cursory glance, the Weineck Cobra is the ultimate expression of old school power, torque and lightweight construction. Where a modern ultra supercar like the Bugatti Veyron needs turbochargers to achieve its massive four-figure output, and then squanders it by weighing in at close to 2,000kg, the Weineck Cobra does the exact opposite.
It boasts 12.9 litres of bespoke big block American V8 fed by a pair of the biggest Holley carburettors you have ever seen creates 1,100bhp at 7,000rpm with a stonking 1,299lb-ft of torque to propel a car weighing just 1,000kg.
Klaus Weineck is a master mechanic by trade and, in 1978, he started hill climbing on weekends and he ended up building his own cars. At the hiatus of his racing career, he slipped into drag racing and built a 2,000bhp Ford Capri-based dragster with an 8.7 litre supercharged big block Chevy motor that was clocked at 7.1 sec for the standing quarter mile.
In 1993 he saw his first AC Cobra on a trip to America and fell in love with the shape of the car. But the Ford V8 had its limitations, as did the chassis, so he set about designing his own mechanicals.
The first engine he used was a 7.5 litre Chevy big block unit with roller cams and other trick parts that was good for at least 500bhp. After this, things started to get bigger and bigger and his clients were also becoming more crazy in their power needs, so he decided to move to the next level.
That level today is a 12.9 litre motor made from a bespoke V8 block with a 12-inch tall deck height. Everything in this motor is unique and is either made for Weineck by the best racecar component makers in the US, or fabricated in-house in Germany.
The steel billet crankshaft is the biggest one we have ever seen on a road car, and is dynamically balanced to zero. Attention to detail abounds, and even the piston rings are of an ‘endless’ design to prevent compression leakage.
Keeping such a powerful motor, and indeed the rest of the drivetrain alive is a monumental task in itself. The cooling system designed to work in the 50 degree C temperatures of Dubai, where one of these cars has already gone, so no-one has an excuse for overcooking it.
There is an oil cooler for everything that might benefit from it, which means the engine, gearbox and rear axle. The gearbox is a four-speed manual designed to take the torque, and the 75 per cent limited-slip differential keeps the car going more or less straight under full acceleration on a dry road.
Holding it all together
The bodyshell is made from glass-fibre composite, although a stronger and lighter carbon-fibre alternative is offered. In either case, it is attached to the chassis by eight bolts, with race style quick release connectors for the wiring loom.
The MIG-welded chassis is an immensely strong and rigid aluminium and titanium frame with two 4.0-inch tubular rails forming its twin backbones linked by a supporting cast of cross members.
The major components of the independent double wishbone suspension are aluminium or titanium with Teflon and Uniball joints used throughout. Eibach springs match the damping system from a US NASCAR supplier. Power steering makes the drivers work easier considering the huge chunk of rubber at each corner of the car.
As for tyres, 245/40ZR17 and 315/35ZR17 Yokohama Advan 0-32R rubber are wrapped around 10J and 11.5J x 17-inch multi-piece alloys, and behind their spokes are the biggest Brembo brakes Weineck could fit.
With the optional carbon-fibre bodyshell, the power-to-weight ratio is a stunning 0.9kg per bhp and Weineck claims 124mph in 4.9 seconds and 0-187mph in 10 seconds.
It's like sitting on a rocket with wheels. Turn the key in the ignition, and the thunderous roar as the bent-crank V8 catches, takes your eardrums from 30 to 115 decibels in a split second and causes tremors in the immediate vicinity.
We have always subscribed to the theories that too much power is just enough and that the best traction control device is the drivers’ right foot. On that basis, first gear is almost redundant, and after you find second, the only sane way to coax more speed out of this car is to crack the throttle open slowly and when you are sure the rear tyres are hooked up, just keep going.
Driven like this, speed piles on at a ridiculous rate of knots and the mighty push in the back, the thunder of the big V8 and the ever increasing velocity of the wind past the car and through your hair becomes an all-encompassing, sensory bashing experience. It is like being at the epicentre of a nuclear explosion -- except that you have a good chance of living to tell the tale.
In third, things start to smoothen out as the stress on the tyres relaxes, but the motor maintains its relentless mission to make a Cobra shaped hole in the horizon.
Into fourth gear, and while the drama at the rear wheels is becoming a recent memory, we are now going so fast on a country road that we dare not glance at the speedometer. Buffeted by pure sensations and charged with adrenalin, your sense of perspective, of normal time and space becomes warped.
If this were an enclosed modern supercar, you would just marvel at the speed you have achieved so easily. In the Weineck Cobra, this pace is a full-on, no holds barred experience. It's the difference between a world championship judo contest on the one hand and a brutal street fight with bottles and chains on the other.
However, the feeling you get when you drive the Weineck Cobra is like no other. With no electronic traction aids, it is raw, a 100 proof adrenalin shot on four wheels. If you are an adrenalin junkie, you can rest assured that the highs you get from a workout with this car will never be beaten by anything else with four wheels and a licence plate.