The AC Sports Car

     A review of The AC Sports Car, with Photos and Videos, covering development, important features, and technical data of each model in the range, from the AC 2-litre to the 3000ME and the Cobra.  

     Welcome to my website, which features reviews of a wide range of sports car models that fall within the heading "From Classic to Modern".

     In this Article, I offer a nostalgic review of The AC Sports Car, one of an elite group of classic car, which was manufactured during the period 1947 to 1984+.

     The Auto-Carriers (hence AC) Company was formed in 1903.

      After WW2, the company came into its own with the production of the AC 2-Litre.

     It was a two and four door saloon which, from 1949, was offered as a drop head coupe version.

     It used a 2 litre, 6-cylinder engine, with an aluminium head, and three SU carburettors.         

     It incorporated aluminium body panels, on a wood frame, and fitted to a steel chassis.           

AC 2-Litre Technical Data            Production: 1947-1956                       Output: 1,284                                       Engine: 1991 cc                                   Cylinder 6, 74 bhp                               Speed: 80 mph                                   Time to 60: 19.9 secs             


                               AC 2-Litre


     In 1953, the AC Ace was introduced, and it was this two seater that sealed the companies future reputation.

     It used an alloy body on a tubular frame and, interestingly, incorporated all-round, independent leaf spring suspension.

     Initially, the Ace used an outdated (post WW1) 2 litre, straight six, overhead cam engine.

     Then, in 1956, there was the option to use the Bristol Cars 2 litre, in line six cylinder engine, with three carburettors and a four speed gearbox.

     Finally, in 1961, a 2.6 litre "Ruddspeed" modified engine, as used (unmodified) in the Ford Zephyr saloon, became available.

     This used three Weber or SU carburtettors, and transformed the performance.

     This version of the AC Ace, with its good handling characteristics, was used in competitions. Only 37 units were built, however, since use of the Cobra engine was seen as a better alternative.      

     The Ace was entered in the Le Mans race of 1957 and 1958. Production ended in 1962 when 689 units of all models were built.

ACE Technical Data    AC Engine    Bristol Engine    Ford Engine  Production:                       1953-1956         1956-1961          1961-1962             Engine: cc                              1991                    1971                    2553               Cylinder, bhp                       6, 100                  6, 120                   6, 170                 Speed:  mph                          103                       116                       130                   Time to 60:  secs                  11.1                       9.0                         8.1    

                      AC Ruddspeed Ace


     In 1954, the AC Aceca was introduced.

     Based on the two seater AC Ace convertible, it was a fixed head coupe with a hatchback at the rear.

     The Aceca offered the same choice of engines as in the Ace:  

  • The AC 1991cc overhead cam engine
  • The 1971 cc unit from Bristol Cars
  • The 2553 modified Ford Zephyr unit

     When production ended in 1963, 151 Aceca, 169 Aceca-Bristol, and 8 Ford-engined (2553 cc) models were built.

                                AC Aceca


     In 1961, AC was approached by Carroll Shelby to produce a modified car, based on the AC Ace chassis, that would accept a Ford V8 engine.

     He required a car that would compete with the Corvette Stingray in US car racing. 

     Hence was born the AC Cobra sports car.

     In 1962, the first 75 of the Mark 1 AC Cobra were fitted with the 4261 cc (260 cu in) engine.

     However, the remaining 51 Mark 1's used the larger Ford 4727 cc (289 cu in) unit.

     In 1963, the Mark 2 AC Cobra was introduced, fitted with the Ford 4727 cc engine. By 1965, 528 of the Mark 2's had been built.

     Finally, in 1965, the Mark 3 AC Cobra was launched, and was fitted with the ferocious 6997 cc (427 cu in) engine. By 1966, 306 of the Mark 3's had been built.

     Carroll Shelby had always wanted the AC Cobra to be a "Stingray Beater". 

     In 1963, he got his wish at the Riverside International Raceway when a Cobra recorded its first ever victory, beating Stingrays, Porsche, Maserati and Jaguars.

     Production of the classic AC Cobra ended in 1984.

Cobra Technical Data        Mark 1        Mark 2       Mark 3                    Engine: cc                                   4261               4727             6997                             Cylinder, bhp                            8, 335              8, 271          8, 410                             Speed:  mph                                152                  138              165                               Time to 60:  secs                         4.2                   5.6                4.2                                                             

                      AC Cobra Mk3


     In 1979, the two seater AC 3000ME was launched at the London Motor Show. 

     It had a glass fibre body on a steel chassis.

     The mid engined 3000ME used a 3 litre, Ford V6 engine positioned transversely. Only 71 cars were sold.

3000ME Technical Data            Production: 1979-1984                       Output: 101                                           Engine: 2994 cc                                   Cylinder 6, 136 bhp                         Speed: 127 mph                                 Time to 60: 8.5 secs    

                           AC 3000ME

                        This marked the end of the classic AC sports car.

     Beyond 2000, AC produced a number of exciting cars which, sadly, falls beyond the time frame of this review.

     Perhaps this stroll down memory lane might have answered, or at least shed light on, a possible question:


                                   Which AC Sports Car Is Your Favourite?  


     However, should this question still remain unanswered, I will be reviewing, in some detail, in future articles within this website, the entire range of AC sports cars which were featured in the memorable era spanning 1958 to 1992.

     I hope you join me in my nostalgic travels "down sports car memory lane". 

› AC Sports Car

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