IN last month’s article on “Racing Cars You Could Buy” I referred to AC Cars Ltd. listing a racing single-seater at £1,000 in 1924. I have always assumed that for this outlay the purchaser would get a sister car to J. A. Joyce’s well-known single-seater, with overhead camshaft, 16-valve engine and the special chassis with the lightweight back-axle/gearbox.
However in the new AC History by John McLellan, published by Dalton-Watson Ltd., the author says the racing model AC was supplied with the side-valve Anzani engine like the rest of the catalogued four-cylinder models. The catalogue I have does not commit itself, but it does refer to the £1,000 single-seater beneath a large photograph of the “works” single-seater flashing down the Brooklands Finishing-straight at, it says, 108.04 m.p.h., obviously with the o.h.c. power-unit delivering the goods. The blurb about this catalogue-racer says it has “A specially-designed chassis and is the onlv car in the world of this size that has travelled at more than 100 m.p.h.” Its records of 105 m.p.h. and 101.39 m.p.h. within 60 minutes are then quoted, and the blurb. continues: “It is a special model for a special purpose; it is instructive to anyone interested in such a vehicle: and it has been of immense value in making designs for our touring cars in the way of finding out under the terrific stress that 100 m.p.h. entails. whether the parts stand up in ordinary use.” The body is then described as “Aluminium, specially streamlined throughout.” That smacks of the words of AC’s Governing Director. S. F. Edge. and I can imagine that he may have intended one of two things, to sell these cars but with s.v Anzani engine, or to dispose of the actual racing single-seater, as a used car.
However, if the former is the case, as McLellan thinks, it would have been an expensive way of getting the special chassis and a single-seater body, as the speed could not have been much above the 75 m.p.h. guaranteed for the faster of the two AC four-cylinder sports-models, which was priced at £350 less. Which may be why few, if any, were sold. Any comments? — W.B.