AC (Cars Group Ltd)
AC Cars Group Ltd formerly known as Auto Carriers Ltd is a British specialist automobile manufacturer, known as one of the oldest independent car marques founded in Britain.
H&H Auctions set a new world auction record price on Wednesday July 22nd 2009 by selling a 1961 AC Ace 2.6 for £209,000.
John Portwine, a wealthy butcher, and John Weller, an engineer, formed Autocarriers Ltd in 1904 to produce the “Autocarrier” business tricar.
The vehicle proved successful and was used by many London stores, followed in 1907 by the “Sociable” passenger version.
‘Rolls Royce of light cars’
The factory moved to Thames Ditton in 1911 and by 1913 the four wheel Fivet engined light car, known as the “Rolls Royce of light cars”, entered production.
In the 1920s, under the control of S F Edge, AC cars were powered by either the four-cylinder Anzani engine or the famous Weller designed six-cylinder, alloy, OHC engine. The engine enjoyed a record production run from 1919 to 1963.
J.A. Joyce and World War Two
In 1992, J.A. Joyce raced an AC at Brooklands, being the first light car to cover 100 miles in the hour and in 1926 the Monte Carlo Rally was won by the Hon Victor Bruce in a six-cylinder car.
The 1930s saw AC, now owned by the Hurlock family, produce a line of lean, low tourers, drophead coupés and saloons, culminating with the competition two-seater just prior to 1939 and the outbreak of World War Two.
After the war, two Litre saloons, dropheads and Buckland tourers, were manufactured by AC.
1950s - John Tojeiro
In 1952, John Tojeiro's sports racing car formed the basis of the alloy-bodied Ace. A new version with gently revised lines and the Weller engine appeared in 1953. This was later joined by the Aceca and Greyhound, with the options in 1956 and 1961 of Bristol and Ford engines respectively.
The Ace was successful in competition and used by many racing drivers at the outset of their careers.
The AC Cobra
Main page: AC Cobra
The Cobra derivative of the Ace appeared in 1962 and enjoyed great success in International competition in both its 4.7 and 7 litre forms. The Cobra won the World Sports Car Championship in 1965.
It was discontinued in 1968, after which the 7 Litre, 140 mph, steel-bodied Frua 428 appeared for sale on the markets.
Sale by the Hurlock family
The Hurlock family sold AC in 1986 after 56 years of control Ownership of the marque eventually passed to Autokraft Ltd and the Ford Motor Company.
From 1985 the revised Cobra in Mark IV form was the sole product, but, in 1990, a new Ace was designed and entered production.
Notable auction sales
H&H set a new world auction record price on Wednesday July 22nd 2009 by selling a 1961 AC Ace 2.6 for £209,000.