AC is an abbreviation for "Auto Carriers, Ltd."   The original AC was the 5/6 hp Sociable with a passenger chair replacing the box body.  The single rear wheel was driven by a one cylinder air-cooled engine with two-speed epicyclical gearbox in the hub of the back wheel.  These three-wheelers were made up until 1914.   AC announced their first four-wheeler in 1913, with an 1,100cc Fivet engine, with the gearbox fashionably placed in the rear axle.  This reappeared after the First World War, though by this time powered by a 1.5 litre Anzani engine, which remained in production until 1927.  At the 1919 Motor Show, AC displayed a 1,991cc overhead camshaft wet liner six cylinder engine, though it did not go into production until 1922.  Nevertheless the engine was produced up until 1963, by which time output had been boosted threefold, from 35 to 103 bhp.
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In 1921 S. F. Edge became chairman and governing director and his influence was no doubt responsible for the company's active participation in long distance record work.  Unfortunately all was not well with the company's finances and it went into voluntary liquidation, no cars being built between 1929 and 1931.

In 1930, William and Charles Hurlock bought the company and production restarted with the 2 litre six.  The designs were intelligently updated, the rear mounted gearbox being replaced by a Moss box in unit with the engine, while underslung chassis frames were introduced.  These good looking sports cars attained some popularity in the 1930s, the handsome coachwork originating from the company's Thames Ditton factory.

After the Second World War an AC saloon appeared, though rather surprisingly it retained a leaf sprung front suspension until it ceased production in 1957.  Much more significant was the Ace of 1954, having an all independent tubular framed Tojeiro designed chassis with the 2 litre six, later replaced by 2 and 2.2 litre Bristol and then 2.6 litre British Ford power units.


In 1963, the car received an American Ford 4.2 (and later 4.7) litre V8: it was the Cobra.  Then, the Cobra 427 was fitted with a 7 litre Ford engine. Original Cobras are rare and now collector's items but an entire industry has grown up of companies producing replicas and re-creations in one form or another.

Classic Car Hire World


Classic Car Hire World is a Trading name of The Open Road (Classic Hire) Ltd,
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