The Cobra was not born in America. The original manufacturer was British carmaker AC Cars.  

AC Cars put a Ford V8 engine in the Cobra, making it essentially a British sports car with an American heart. 

The Cobra was produced intermittently in England and America from 1962.

At the time, British automakers relied on straight six-cylinder engines made by Bristol Cars 

Cars also produced limited edition models such as his two-seat AC Ace Roadster.  

Like Bristol Cars' handcrafted luxury models 

the AC Ace Roadster is hand-assembled on a tubular frame and clad in aluminum body panels using British wheel fabrication.

American Carroll Shelby said in his 1961 he contacted AC Cars and asked if the British company 

would consider making him such a roadster, but it was not compatible with the V8 mill. 

was changed to Ignoring that request is another story 

but what Shelby essentially wanted was a version of the British-built Ace roadster modified to accept  

an American V8 and mated to a BorgWarner manual transmission.