This AC 3000 ME MkII Prototype Is The British Lancia Stratos You Never Knew You Wanted
The mid-engined AC 3000 is one of those cars that could have had a very different fate were it not for a series of unfortunate events that both delayed its introduction and prematurely ended production. Originally shown to the public at the 1973 London Motor Show, deliveries of the glass fiber mid-engined sports car only began in 1979—and after only 80 examples had been built at the Thames Ditton factory all manufacturing was halted before resuming again under AC (Scotland) Ltd. They managed to get a further 30 cars out the door before going into receivership in 1985. Thus ended the future of what could have been a true competitor to such icons as the Lancia Stratos and Lotus Esprit had it been allowed to be developed and refined for a few more years.
The 1982 AC 3000 ME Prototype you see here is an integral part of this tumultuous period and was used as the Thames Ditton factory demonstrator, after which it was used by AC’s managing director Andrew Hurlock for personal use. It remained with the company when manufacturing was relocated to Scotland and was used for further development. It will be part of the H&H Classics online auction on 1 May and it is estimated to sell for between £18,000 ($23,000) to £22,000 ($28,000).
Damian Jones from H&H Classics says: “Riding on fresh tires and sporting a bespoke stainless-steel exhaust system, ‘VPC 634X’ is said to ‘have plenty of performance and to sound like an Italian thoroughbred.’ A fascinating glimpse into what might have been, this historic and unique AC is offered for sale with V5C Registration Document, history file and its initial Alfa Romeo 2500cc V6.” Production AC 3000 MEs were fitted with 3.0-liter Ford Essex V6 engines making this prototype an even rarer offering and a fantastic slice of British motoring history.
Images courtesy of H&H Classics