1933 AC 16/66

Roadster

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1933
  • Car type 
    Convertible / Roadster
  • Chassis number 
    L30
  • Drive 
    RHD
  • Condition 
    Original condition
  • Interior colour 
    Red
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Red
  • Gearbox 
    Manual
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

Belgian registration papers + FIVA ID card

- Splendid 6-cylinder AC engine
- Handsome aluminium bodywork
- Known history

All pre-war ACs are rare, but none more so than the 66 hp models, as denoted by the 16/66 vehicle type. Indeed, it is thought that only 70 cars were built, including just 12 of the original type which we are offering at auction today. Press reports of the time were full of praise for this “well-mannered sports car”. Comfortable and elegant, it was nonetheless light and offered agile handling and good performance, thanks to a relatively low centre of gravity and a two-litre engine which collectors consider a real jewel, on account of its sophisticated design with an all-aluminium engine block and overhead cam.
A road test carried out by the magazine Motor Sport in 1934 stated: “If there is occasion to hurry, the car maintains a steady 70 m.p.h. without effort and takes fast curves in good style … The A.C. Company were the pioneers of the Light Six engine, and the latest models retain some of the features which were so revolutionary in 1924.”

According to records for the model, L30 appears to have been the fifth ‘Sportsman’s Saloon’ built in 1933. It is understood that it then returned to the factory in 1938 to be converted into a two-seat roadster, as was often done at the time to meet the desires and requirements of their owners, who raced them at the weekend. Charles and William Hurlock, the owners of AC at the time, wanted to be in a position to offer cars built to order and according to the wishes of each customer. One of the marque’s slogans was ‘The Savile Row of Motordom’. It was almost impossible to find two identical cars!

Fitted with an all-aluminium body typical of racing cars of the period, with short wings and a pointed tail, L30 belonged for more than 40 years to a Spanish collector before coming to France 23 years ago, where it distinguished itself on numerous occasions in rallies and track events such as the Vintage Revival at Montlhéry, the Grand Prix de Pau Historique, the Circuit des Remparts in Angoulême or the Grand Prix de Vichy.

Its bodywork is completely original, with an attractive and elegant patina, while its wooden structure is in perfect condition. The engine compartment is clean and the engine easily accessible. The six-cylinder engine, fitted with three SU carburettors (K47360-K47346-K47347), can then be seen in all its splendour. Inside, all the controls are well laid out and fall readily to hand, including the gearlever (operating the first version of the Moss four-speed ‘box, with no synchromesh on first) and the comprehensive set of instruments on the dashboard (rev counter, ammeter, and water temperature, oil pressure and fuel gauges), which can be taken in at a glance. To add a finishing touch, the original brown leather upholstery is delightfully worn and the two seats provide good support when pressing on. In 2008, when the car was displayed on the AC Owners’ Club stand at Le Mans Classic, it suffered a mechanical problem and its engine was sent back to England for a complete overhaul.

Behind the wheel it is a pleasure to discover the power and torque produced by the engine. With effective suspension using nine leaves at the front and fitted with new Firestone 5.50-18 tyres, the car handles amazingly well, although we noted some vagueness in the steering when travelling in a straight line, which should be easy to put right. Straightforward to handle and reassuring to drive, the AC is so easy to drive that it almost seems like a modern car. A few days before we tested it, it had returned from a long rally near Bordeaux, where it covered nearly 300 miles without the slightest problem.

Supplied with its side-screens and tonneau cover in perfect condition, it is such a pleasure to drive that it beckons you to set out on a journey. Its new owner will have the chance to discover one of the finest six-cylinder engines and with such a rare, elegant and capable AC will be welcomed with open arms into the world of pre-war cars.