A Cobra

AC Car

"the AC COBRA ... a way of living"
I am always looking for COBRA stuff, like pictures, stories, clubs, etc.. If you have any of that, please send an email to: Luuk de Boer luukb@xs4all.nl Thanks.
AC Car History
1901John Weller, an engineer backed by John Portwine, a wealthy tradesman, set up a small engineering workshop in South London to build motor cars.
1903A two-cylinder 10 hp model and a four-cylinder 20 hp model were displayed at the British Motor Show. Autocar June 6th reported, RWe foresee a brilliant future for the Weller car and its talented designerS.
1904The firm, then known as Autocar & Accessories Limited, produced a commercial vehicle known as the Autocarrier. This was a 5.6 hp air cooled single cylinder tricycle built as a delivery vehicle P which proved successful.
1905The Autocarrier found an immediate market and became a familiar sight. It was fashionable for firms such as Maple & Co, Dickens & Jones and Goodyear Tyre Co to have at least one as a delivery van. One concern ran a fleet of over 70.
1907A passenger-carrying version of the Autocarrier was made, known as the Sociable. Its simple and practical design ensured its production until 1915. The abbreviation AC was used for the first time and in November a new company was formed, Autocarriers Limited, taking over Autocar & Accessories but with Weller and Portwine still as Directors.
1910TMotor Cycling' August shows the Autocarrier adapted for military needs. The 25th London Cyclist Regiment was equipped with these vehicles. Maxim guns were mounted on special bodywork and other Autocarriers were adapted as ammunition transporters. The Autocarrier was chosen by the military authorities because of its reliability, lusty performance and special manOuvrability.
1911Autocarriers Limited moved to larger premises at Thames Ditton in Surrey, at which time Weller designed AC's first production four-wheel car.
1914During the First World War, AC's efforts were concerned with the manufacture of shells and fuses.
1918Full production commenced with the two-seater, four-cylinder car which sold at #255. The cars were immediately successful in competition, particularly in hillclimbs and early trials such as the Land's End.
1921Showrooms and offices in London's Regent Street were opened, and racing driver S. F. Edge joined the board of Directors. Weller and Portwine resigned. Edge became Chairman and AC Cars Limited was formed. The cars were sporting in character, possessed an amazing performance and were equipped with stylish bodies offered in a range of colours. Success in both competitive and ordinary motoring proved the AC slogan at the time: TThe First Light Six - and still the best'.
1922Of all AC's competition achievements, they were especially proud of having covered one hundred miles in the hour, with a special AC record-breaker powered by their four-cylinder, four valve per cylinder engine. Mr J. A. Joyce drove the car at Brooklands in November and completely shattered all the light car records, the fastest lap being the last one at 104.85 mph.
1928Seven models were now on offer, ranging from the Aceca two-seater coupe to a long wheelbase coachbuilt saloon. The output of the AC six-cylinder engine increased from 40 to 56 bhp. The AC Car Company was at this time one of Britain's largest automobile manufacturers.
1929The World economic recession - AC Cars Limited, together with many others of the period, went into voluntary liquidation.
1930William A. E. Hurlock and his brother, Charles F. Hurlock, purchased the AC Car Company. No new cars were produced but servicing facilities were maintained. Pressure from satisfied AC customers persuaded the new Directors that there was a future for limited production of hand-made cars for a specialist market. Throughout the Tthirties', the AC six-cylinder engine served faithfully in achieving tremendous results in events such as the RAC and Monte Carlo Rallies. With showrooms in Park Lane, London, the Company was prosperous and stable.
1931The name Ace was used for the first time.
1933Four new cars were entered in the RAC Rally, and all of them took prizes. A four-seater sports driven by Miss Kitty Brunel scored an outright win, Charles Hurlock took fourth place, William Hurlock sixth and Mrs G Daniel finished seventh and took first prize in the concours dTelegance.
1937AC found export sales in North America.
1939The outbreak of World War 2. All production facilities were turned over to the war effort for the manufacture of fire-fighting equipment, aircraft parts, radar vans, flame throwers, guns and sights.
1945When war activities ceased, thoughts turned again to motor cars. Slowly, following much development and improvement, production grew.
1950Five cars per week were produced of the Two Litre model, which was available in several body styles.
1953The AC Ace, an open top two-seater sports car was produced and quickly gained a big following amongst sporting motorists. It was highly successful in British TClub' racing, being the type of fast, tough car that a private owner could race and rally and still use for everyday motoring. The AC Cobra evolved from the AC Ace .
1954The Aceca Coupe was introduced at the London Motor Show and went into production the following year.
1957Le Mans - Ace Bristol finished tenth overall. Efforts never concentrated solely on cars and the familiar blue invalid carriages were turned out by the hundreds at Thames Ditton, alongside the high powered sports cars.
1958Le Mans - Special-bodied Ace Bristol finished eighth, a standard version ninth.
1961Carroll Shelby, a Texan ex-race driver, entered negotiations with AC Cars and with the backing of The Ford Motor Company, proposed the installation of a large Ford vee eight engine in the current lightweight AC Ace. Built by AC Cars, the combination resulted in the AC Cobra, one of the fastest and most brutal sports cars ever produced.
1962AC Cars production concentrated on manufacturing the AC Cobra. Each one was hand built at the factory in Thames Ditton.
1963The AC Cobra caused a sensation by racing along the M1 motorway at 196 mph, leading to questions being raised in Parliament. Production of the AC Cobra was now 15 cars per week. The AC plant at Taggs Island, situated half a mile from the main AC Works, was fully occupied with the manufacture of motorised invalid carriages for the Ministry of Health. 1,200 invalid carriages were produced.
1964Following the motorway sprint, a 70 mph legal speed limit was introduced. Two AC Cobras were entered in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race, the AC entry was the first British car to finish. By now, the 427 AC Cobra had the distinction of being listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest production car in the world, a title which it held for several years.
1965The AC Cobra wins The Sports Car World Championship.
1967AC Cars produced the 428, a seven-litre sporting model with a body design by Frua of Turin. 29 Convertible and 51 Fastback vehicles were produced up to 1973, when production ceased.
1970During the 1970s and early 1980s AC developed and produced the ME3000, a totally new mid-engined two-seater sports car.
1985The updated 5.0 litre AC Cobra is re-introduced into North America, using the original tooling and meeting 50 State EPA and DOT Federal Regulations.
1986After some 56 years of ownership, the Hurlock family sold their controlling interest in AC Cars to the joint ownership of Autokraft Limited and the Ford Motor Company. William Hurlock's son Derek retired as Chairman. The AC Ace prototype is displayed at the Birmingham Motor Show.
1988AC Cars moved into a new purpose-built factory of some 90,000 square feet sited within the historic Brooklands race track, scene of so many achievements by AC Cars during the 1920s. The AC Ace is redesigned for the 1990's sports car market.
1990The lightweight version of the AC Cobra is introduced.
1991The AC Ace pre-production vehicle is constructed by Autokraft. The body styling is by International Automotive Design (IAD) of Worthing. IAD continue to assist AC Cars in design engineering to meet full International Certification regulations.
1992Brian Angliss personally acquires Ford's interest in AC Cars Limited. The AC Ace is developed into its final production form for 1993 launch. The AC Cobra Lightweight is re-engineered to meet 1993 EEC and 49 State North American Certification Standards. AC Cars returns to London Showrooms after an absence of 50 years.
1993The AC Ace receives full EEC type approval and is launched at The London Motorshow.
1994The AC Ace enters production.
1995The AC Ace unveiled to North America at the Detroit Motorshow.
1996One of the world's best known classic sports cars - the AC Cobra - has been saved. A new company - AC Car Group Ltd - has acquired the assets and business of the former AC Cars company, Britain's car maker with the longest record of continuous production.

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