AC was started in 1900 as Autocar and Accessories Ltd by John Portwine who made a fortune in the butchery business, with technical input from John Weller. But the vehicles were too costly and later switched to tri-car in 1907. The AC Sociable must be the best known of tricars built up to the first war, and was kind of the template for so much that came 40 years later with it's front opening and moveable steering wheel for access. Post 1918 there were 10 and 12hp light cars and then came the 6 cylinder cars in 1922. Larger vehicles followed on, and their 6 cylinder 2 litre engine dating from the 1920's carried on in production with minor changes through many pre war models ( such as the well known 16/80), until an unbelievable 1963, some 40 years later!
The company specialized more in sportscars, and postwar they were making something like 5 cars per week. Their break came when they paid a nominal royalty to John Tojeiro to build copies of his Tojeiro sportscar, which became the new AC Ace, star of the 1953 Motor Show. fitted with either the Bristol or AC Powerplants while a year later the enclosed Aceca followed. And from 1961 both had the option of the Ruddspeed tuned 2.6 litre Zephyr engines. Not to be forgotten is the longer wheelbase much roomier inside 4 seater Greyhound. AC became more of a household name after the Cobra was created by Carroll Shelby using that same Tojeiro designed chassis, and although under the guise of Shelby, the whole lot was financed by Ford. Starting in 1962 with the small Ford "260" (4260cc) and "289" (4727cc) it progressed to the 7 litre "427" made from 1965 to 1969. AC also made their more "civilised" road cars in fixed head or drophead forms called the AC 427 and for 1967 the AC428.