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Carup - Swedish Factory Launches – Building a New Super Version of Cobra

Updated: Mar 19

Sweden has gained a new sports car factory. HMC has received approval to start mass-producing a modern Swedish version of Cobra with a V8 engine boasting 460 horsepower. – Already at the first start, I could feel my heart pounding with anticipation," says founder Thomas Kümmerling to Carup.

For now, it's small, but Sweden has indeed welcomed a third car manufacturer after Volvo Cars and Koenigsegg. HMC Handmadecars has obtained EU type approval to manufacture and sell a sports car that is a replica of the legendary AC Cobra.

This means the car can be mass-produced, sold to customers, and registered for street use throughout the EU. The car has undergone tests and meets various safety requirements.

The sports car boasts impressive performance with a Chevrolet LT1 V8 engine generating 460 horsepower under the hood. To harness the power to the ground, the car features a six-speed manual Tremec T56 gearbox. Weighing only 1365 kg, the compact car at 388 cm promises entertaining driving characteristics.

The cars are manufactured through a collaboration with Backdraft in South Africa. The body is made of fiberglass and square profiles. The cars are now assembled in HMC Handmadecars' small factory in Vadstena, Östergötland.

– With a powerful V8 engine under the hood, it has impressive acceleration that provides an incredible driving experience. It has a well-balanced suspension and chassis, offering outstanding handling and stability even in tight corners. It's a car that allows you to experience the adrenaline rush from acceleration while maintaining full control of the road," says Thomas Kümmerling.

Behind HMC Handmadecars is entrepreneur Thomas Kümmerling with a long history in the automotive industry and has also been involved in notable car builds. In silence, he has developed the sports car Backdraft HMC Classic over the past few years. The car is a stylish reincarnation of the iconic AC Cobra, with the chassis and drivetrain meeting modern requirements.

– I have always been open to new ideas and love diving into exciting new projects. One day I came into contact with two creative guys running a service workshop. When their business was later closed down, they turned to me and presented a unique idea – to build kit-cars.

I immediately seized the opportunity and founded HMC Handmadecars, thus initiating the project 'Backdraft HMC Classic.' We began by developing and expanding the existing workshop to transform it into a small factory," says Thomas Kümmerling.

Obtaining EU type approval for a car is not an easy process and can be considered something of an achievement. The process turned out to be significantly longer and more challenging than Thomas could anticipate.

– After buying two Backdraft street cars and a Backdraft for racing, we soon realized that our naive attempt to carry out a rebuild for individual approval wouldn't suffice. We realized that we needed expertise in the field and turned to Bengt Lidmalm, an experienced car manufacturer, founder, and owner of Indigo. The process began in 2019, and with Bengt Lidmalm's help, the team managed to pass all the hurdles. Technician Edvardas Lybus has also been a key figure in the complicated journey.

– Finally, on December 6, 2022, we achieved our long-awaited EU type approval. It was a significant milestone for us, confirming that our cars met all necessary requirements and standards.

Bengt Lidmalm's and Edvardas Lybus's contributions to this successful result cannot be overstated, and we are grateful for their commitment and expertise throughout the process. When I sat behind the wheel for the first time after our fantastic Backdraft HMC Classic was finally EU type-approved, I felt overwhelmed with joy and pride," says Thomas Kümmerling.

The Backdraft HMC Classic is a replica of the AC Cobra, and Thomas Kümmerling is extremely pleased with the appearance, even though EU requirements have forced a few compromises.

– It is a visual delight with its elegant and timeless design elements. By combining the beauty of 1960s classic sports cars with modern performance and quality, we have created a car that is truly a sight to behold. The body's curves and contours are simply magnificent and capture the gaze from every angle.

– When I look at the front with its deep air intakes and the classic grille, I feel a power and aggression that immediately awakens my car enthusiast heart. The side profile is streamlined, giving the car a dynamic and aerodynamic look, while the well-placed roofline and proportionate wheel arches provide a sense of strength and stability.

However, some concessions have been made to meet the requirements for EU approval. For instance, the car has three windshield wipers to ensure visibility requirements. Additionally, the car has both four exhaust pipes at the rear and side pipes.

You can already build your own Backdraft HMC Classic on the company's website and make a price inquiry. Each car is unique, and there is no exact price list, but the car starts at approximately 197,000 euros, including Swedish VAT. That's about 2.3 million Swedish kronor.

– We have already seen significant customer interest and receive many inquiries," says Thomas Kümmerling.

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