AC Cars Ltd. is a 1911-1984 resident in Thames Ditton UK car brand, the four-wheeled automobile produced her first small series of 1913.
1904 the company started, initially under the name " Autocar and Accessories Ltd.. " Based in London, with the production of three-wheeled vehicles, which were determined as car carrier for load carrying and from 1907 as AC Sociable for passenger transport. The term car carrier gave the company an abbreviation AC the name, they also retained, as these motorized rickshaws were no longer built. AC is thus one of the oldest, still existing automobile manufacturers. 1913, was built the first "true " automobile, but only in 1920 international breakthrough with a six-cylinder model with 2 -liter displacement and 35 hp. The extraordinary thing about the vehicle, the overhead camshaft, a construction that was used at that time exclusively for racing. This engine should be built with minor changes for 40 years.
After the Second World War, AC, vehicle production in 1947 with the new model AC 2 - Litre continued. Engine and chassis were similar to the art of the 1930s, the body - usually as a two-door sedan ( saloon) - on the other hand was new. From 1953 arose - from a draft of the independent designer John Tojeiro - the open sports car AC Ace, the first English production sports car with independent suspension front and rear. From 1956 was the Ace, as well as the derived Coupe AC Aceca be ordered with the 2.0- liter six-cylinder of Bristol, who had developed the engine of the BMW 328. As AC Ace Bristol he brought it to some motorsport successes. In the years 1957 to 1962 there was even inserts the 24- hour race at Le Mans, including the 1959 class victory in the GT cars up to two liters. From 1959 AC produced as a third series next to the open sports car ace and the two-seater coupe Aceca in small number of the four -seater Gran Turismo AC Greyhound.
In the late 1950s, the market for small volume manufacturers was very tight. The design and manufacture of its own motor expected long ago just more in volume. Thus, the company was still able to keep some time with the old proven six-cylinder above water, but in 1963 was with the engine circuit.
After Bristol also had set the engine production, the models and Ace Aceca were still equipped to 1962 /63 the engine of the Ford Zephyr. More and more American people found on the performance of the light vehicle favor, and in this way was an American race car driver named Carroll Shelby, who assumed to equal the production of the successor model: AC 289 was with the 4.7-liter V8 engine from Ford equipped, simultaneously hiked the production to Santa Fe in the U.S.. Later models with the model number 427 then brought it under the name Shelby Cobra to a displacement of 7.0 liters, which helped the relatively light vehicle at sensational driving performance. At the same time just strengthened this crazy constellation the reputation of the AC Cobra as a cult vehicle.
The company disappeared mid-1970s out of the picture. Later attempts to revive the brand back, there were about 1980 and 1996. In the first experiment they wanted to take with the AC 3000ME foot. This vehicle had a plastic body and drive technology from Ford The form had nothing to do with the legendary vehicles of AC. In the second experiment offered up today with interruptions AC Cobra cars in different power levels, their partial uprated drive comes from various, mostly U.S. manufacturers. The body shape of the Cobra is hardly changed. Various attempts to revive the AC Ace with modern body failed.
In September 2006, proclaimed a British group called Project Kimber, the Smart Roadster, whose production was stopped by DaimlerChrysler, than to try to revive AC Ace in a modified version. Project Kimber had in 2005 unsuccessfully tried to take over the insolvent MG Rover Group. The projected launch in late 2007 but was not complied with.
The car brand is known today primarily through the classic AC Cobra, a high powered open-top sports car that was produced from 1962 to 1966 together with Carroll Shelby and support from Ford and is built today as a replica in numerous versions. Since 1984, the development of the brand designed confusing: Multiple changed owners and the company headquarters, first in modern production facilities on the site of the former Brooklands race track, then 2001 after Frimley in Surrey / England, 2004 and continue for Guildford in Normandy / France 2005 after Hal Far, Malta, where the production facilities were closed in 2008. Since 2009, the rights to use the brand name " AC" (but not for the model name Cobra ) are from the newly formed company "AC Cars by Gullwing GmbH " based in Hirschenstein - Heyda in Saxony.