AC Cars got back to work as soon as the Ministry of Defence got out of their way. Strategically there was no point in trying to graft 1939 motoring onto the 1946 public. They would never accept it. Therefore, AC went to work on a `new generation` product. No car could ever be `all things to all men` so AC selected it`s target market, the `sporting gentleman` motorist rather than the `race competitor`.
Petrol was in short supply, rationing was still in force and all motor-sport was banned. A sports-car did not seem to be a sensible model choice. As this decision was being agonized over at AC, Jaguar was planning the XK 120! However, AC was not Jaguar, AC`s priorities were different.
They decided to build a luxurious, high-quality sports coupe with an up-to-date streamlined, light-weight body style. It must be flexible in it`s application, not a `specialist` vehicle. The outcome of all the discussion was the AC 2 litre. It would have looked a little strange but for the fact that Aston-Martin Lagonda, Bristol and Alvis had all come to the same conclusion and were building similar cars for release in 1947.
The AC had an advantage over the competition, economy. All the competing cars had good performance figures but relied on big-capacity, thirsty engines. AC had a secret weapon, the Weller 6. This engine was now in it`s third decade of service and was better than ever. There was no waving of magic-wands going on to keep it fresh. AC`s engineers had modified and improved the `old stager` through it`s life to date. Pound-for-pound it was a better engine than the Jaguar XK. Weller`s secrets had long since been discovered but the industry was slow to catch up. Ford were still using a side-valve V8 in the `ultra-modern` Ford V8 Pilot in 1947!
With expanded and polished porting the OHC cylinder-head was more than modern, it was futuristic. Fly-wheel lightening and balancing allowed the engine to achieve and maintain high engine revolutions. Still only 1991cc the power output could not be matched by most bigger engines.
The Moss synchromesh 4-speed gearbox was the most popular transmission. Hydraulic brakes had now replaced the dreadful rod system. The traditional ash-timber frame was still there and the swept-back, streamlined alloy body was fashionable and stylish. It was a big car, giving the designers the room they needed to satisfy the management`s requirement for flexibility of application.
The `2 litre` was available as a two or four door coupe. It was also available as a drop-head coupe or a two-seater. The passenger cabin was big enough for the long-distance traveler, even when carrying four people. The boot was spacious and the interior was superbly finished in leather and walnut.
Pressed-steel wheels with chrome hubcaps were fitted (the new fashion) but many owners specified wire-wheels which gave the car a sporty, rakish look. It should be no surprise that many AC 2 Litre cars found their way into various competitions when the fuel shortage eased around 1950. Some were later fitted with Arnott`s supercharger unofficially, there obviously was no way to keep AC enthusiasts away from motor-sport!
It was a superb machine, almost `all things to all men`. Another true classic car that has since been forgotten. From 1947 to it`s retirement in 1958 the AC 2 litre (all variants) achieved a production total of 1284 units.
AC 2 Litre 1948-1958
|Body Types||4/2 seater 2 door DHC|
|5 seater 2 door saloon|
|5 seater 4 door saloon|
|Drive Type||Rear wheel drive|
|Cargo Volume||Very useful|
|Engine||2 Litre SOHC 12V Weller|
|Displacement||1991 cc||121.5 cui|
|Power||57 Kw||76 bhp||4500 RPM|
|Torque||136 Nm||100 ft. lb||2500 RPM|
|Top Speed||130 km/h||81 mph|
|Acceleration||0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph||19.2 s|
|Fuel consumption||l/100 km||Imperial mpg|
|Gearbox||4 speed manual|
|Weight||1320 kg||2910 lb|
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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.
In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.
As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.
At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!
When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.
I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.
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