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The Almac Story, Part Two

Birth of the 427SC

His friends however were not so convinced and they eventually managed to talk him into having a go at something not so groundbreaking and to go the replica way for his first project car. They also encouraged him to have a go at the Cobra which was a different type of car completely and moved away from the VW based type of kits which were, by the end of the 70’s, in their twilight years. The beach buggy craze was over and although Alex did not know it, the Cobra craze was about to start. Using a plastic kitset model and turning some photographs, with the help of George Ulyate, into scale drawings work started on a 427 Cobra. 

It was while the buck was taking shape that Alex met Graham Berry of Berry Race Cars. 427SC buckWhen Alex mentioned his project to him Graham said that he would like to get involved so Alex contracted him to make the chassis. Being a patternmaker by trade Graham also made several patterns for the unique aluminium parts such as the AC pedals and a replica of the original Cobra wheel centre. Because of sensitivity about the Cobra name the car has always been called an Almac 427SC.  427SC buck just before the mould was taken off itA rolling chassis of the Cobra, with the body and steering fitted, was first displayed at the 1984 National Hot Rod show. Demand was such that the original VW based car was moved out of the way to make way for all the Cobra work that was now coming in. Seventeen Cobras were sold in its first year. An interesting bit of trivia is that Cobra number 1 which was at the Hot Rod show is still not finished twenty plus years on. Alex has been so busy that he has not been able to get back to it. The VW car was eventually sold to Phil Derby and now resides in his garage where it is being converted into a track car. 

Alex was never happy making a replica and wanted to build something that he himself had designed. Another issue was that although the car was selling well nobody called it an Almac  Doors are not shown on the Cobra buck as they were made separatelyalthough it was an Almac produced car. Alex never fitted an Almac badge to the car and everybody that built one called it a Cobra. There has even been an unfinished kit on sold to an unsuspecting Auckland gentleman as a genuine AC Cobra. He had been told it was one of the last to leave the AC factory in the sixties. Another Cobra leaves the factory bound for Wellington His mistake was only revealed when he phoned Almac Cars to see if any of their bright work could be fitted to his “genuine” Cobra. Needless to say he was a little annoyed when Alex was able to identify the car as one of his. He was even more annoyed when he discovered that the price for a new Cobra kit, with all the bright work, was far cheaper than what he had paid for his.