History of AC

In 1904 John Portwine, a wealthy butcher, and John Weller, a gifted young engineer, formed Autocarriers Ltd in order to produce the “Autocarrier” business tricar.

This vehicle was very successful and was used by many London stores which was followed, in 1907, by the “Sociable” passenger version. 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”, was coming off the line.

During the twenties, 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 which, with consistent development, enjoyed a record production run from 1919 to 1963.

1922 saw J.A. Joyce, driving 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 thirties saw ACs, now owned by the Hurlock family, produce a beautiful line of lean, low tourers, drophead coupes and saloons, culminating with the competition two-seater just prior to 1939 and the outbreak of hostilities. After the war 2 Litre saloons, dropheads and Buckland tourers were manufactured.

In 1952 John Tojeiro's Bristol powered sports racing car formed the basis of the alloy-bodied Ace which, with gently revised lines and the Weller engine, was introduced 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 particularly successful in competition and used by many racing drivers at the outset of their careers.

1964 saw the introduction of the Cobra derivative of the Ace, which in 4.7 and 7 litre forms, swept the board in International competition, winning the World Sports Car Championship in 1965. The Cobra was discontinued in 1968, after which the 7 Litre, 140 mph, steel-bodied Frua 428 was offered.

The 1973 Earls Court Motor Show saw the appearance of the prototype 3000 ME which, with Ford V6 engine and grp bodywork finally went into production in 1978 and continued until 1985.

During 1986, after 56 years of control, the Hurlock family sold the company, ownership passing eventually to a partnership of Autokraft Ltd and the Ford Motor Company. In 1988 AC Cars moved to a new purpose built factory located within the historic Brooklands race track and in 1992 Brian Angliss of Autokraft acquired Ford's interest and assumed full control.

From 1985 the revised Cobra in mark IV form was the sole product, but, in 1990, a new Ace was designed which in 1993, with North American and EEC certification, entered production.

AC Cars was bought in 1997 by Alan Lubinsky and development of the new AC Brooklands Ace, Aceca and the Superblower has continued under the AC Car Group name, still at the Brooklands Factory in Weybridge, Surrey