Far From the Mainstream: AC

Hitting the classifieds, we start with the letter A.

2007 Kubota digger: source
2007 “AC Ace Kubota KX91” digger: source

The used-car website Autoscout24 has a long list of brands from which you can choose if you decide to go further than Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Opel and Volkswagen. The first on the list is an odd ragbag of cars under the AC name. At the time of writing there were 115 cars listed for sale as ACs. I did not expect so many examples of this specialist British manufacturer to be on sale at the one moment.

The first item, for €1200 is an AC Ace, with no photo and first registered in 2005 with 25,000 kilometres on the clock. The next one looked like a Renault Espace. The third one had two doors, a diesel engine and a name I didn’t recognise…the fourth bore a distinct resemblance to a Dacia Duster. After more Espaces, a Land Rover, a Mini, a backhoe and and Mini the first real AC appeared. For €18,000 you could have a 1992 AC Cobra Pilgrim Sumo 3.5L V8. After that the rest of the AC’s were proper two-seat sports cars rather than any vehicle with air conditioning that granny mistakenly though was called A/C.

1937 AC in Chantilly: source
1937 AC in Chantilly: source

By the time I had finished my inquiry surprise had visited me a second time because there really are about a hundred different flavours of AC cars on sale right now. At the far end of the lunacy scale, for €195,000 you can have this car, a 1937 AC that once belonged to the sheriff of Caernavonshire. It’s in Chantilly. After the rag-bag of erroneously categorized cars I wonder if Dominique really wants €195,000 or whether it’s another typo.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

5 thoughts on “Far From the Mainstream: AC”

  1. Mislisted cars are a bugbear. This is especially apparent when searching for classic cars. For example, many websites need to put a Chinese wall (so to speak) between the different eras of MG. I cannot imagine that someone interested in buying an MGB or Midget would be bothered by an MG-ified Rover 75 or one of the new Chinese-sourced MG models.

    1. That’s one reason why I dislike manufacturers reanimating old names. I’ve now got used to the fact that I probably never will buy a type 105 Alfa Romeo Giulia, but I still find it irritating that, from this year onwards, an internet search for one will involve weeding out a lot of modern Giulias.

  2. AC has a very complex history. I should point out the the 1992 AC Cobra Pilgrim Sumo 3.5L V8 is by no means a real AC. As a kid, I fell in love with the Cobra after seeing one in the film The Killers. But the plethora of replicas (some tacky, some excellent) has really muddied the Cobra owning and or purchasing experience.

    That AC 16/80 seems optimistically priced, even bearing in mind its celebrity endorsement. And you didn’t find any of their notorious invalid carriages or, maybe, a railcar (a diversion they shared with Bugatti).

    1. Looking at the ad, I see that the owner was Ronald Armstrong-Jones, who would have been the father of Lord Snowdon, so I guess that would add on a few hundred maybe, for royal lovers.

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