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A.C. Company History

Published: 28th Jun 2011 - 1 Comments


A.C. Archive

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The famous A.C. name is well over than a century old and while it’s best remembered for the classic Cobras, the outfit made a wide variety of vehices, including invalid carriages. ‘A.C’ from the three wheeled commercial ‘Auto Carrier’ vehicle, made by the firm established by John Weller (an engineer) and John Portwine, ‘Autocars and Accessories Ltd.’ A passenger carrying version of the Auto Carrier was the 1908 A.C. Sociable, and a short-lived four wheeler was also built just before the First World War, during which the firm produced munitions for the War effort. After hostilities had ceased, car production re-started at the firm’s base in Thames Ditton, Surrey. Engines used included a 1.5-litre Anzani unit and also A.C.’s own six cylinder, 1.5 litre.

This unit was enlarged to two litres in 1922, and subsequently used in A.C. vehicles for more than 40 years (developing over 100bhp by 1963). Financial difficulties arose and changes of ownership took place in the 1920s and 30s, but the business continued to build cars, including the two-litre Royal and Magna models (from 1930), and later (in 1934) the Ace and Ace Sports arrived. The 16/80 was available in supercharged form just before the Second World War. Like many other engineering companies from 1939 A.C undertook a wide variety of wartime production work. 

Car building resumed in 1947, at first using new bodies bolted on pre-War chassis. During the 1950s, invalid carriages were produced, in addition to threewheeler, two-seater cars (the ‘Petite’), and conventional four-wheelers, including the 2-litre saloon and the new Ace. This incorporated a ladder type chassis, a two litre engine and aluminium bodywork. Further classic A.C.s of the 1950s included the Aceca coupé and the four-seater Greyhound saloon. In addition to A.C.’s own 2-litre engine, units from Bristol and Ford were used.

The Ace (discontinued in 1963) formed the basis for the Ford V8 powered Cobra and the sleek Frua bodied, 7-litre 428 arrived in 1965 to rival Aston’s DB range. Moving with the times a new, mid-engined model emerged in 1972. Initially called Diablo and fitted with an Austin Maxi drivetrain, but later using Ford’s Essex 3-litre V6, driving through A.C.’s own designed fivespeed gearbox it was launched as the 3000ME. It was promising but somewhat unfinished and the long development time ensured that it didn’t find many buyers either. A.C then turned to producing commercial vehicles, but financial difficulties persisted. During the mid-1980s car production briefly resumed in Glasgow under new ownership and more recently in UK, America and Germany.

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This review has 1 comments

  • Hey ich habe ein VW Golf, die so ziemlich das Gleiche ist. 1997 und 2.0 fcber den Motor und so ietwer, aber ich brauche einen neuen Anlasser ffcr mein, wie viel wfcrde einmalige Kosten ffcr das Auto?

    Comment by: Tessie     Posted on: 04 Apr 2012 at 02:39 AM

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