Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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AC Cars (Auto-Carriers)

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September 1911. Sociable
August 1912. Mighty Atom.
August 1912. Mighty Atom.
December 1912.
December 1912.
December 1912.
January 1913.
January 1913. B. Howlett on his AC Sociable.
September 1913.
November 1913.
November 1913.
November 1913.
March 1914.
April 1914.
December 1915.
March 1916.
April 1916.
January 1919.
November 1919.
November 1919.
November 1919. Specifications.
1920s. William B. Hunter sat in a heavily modified AC.
January 1920.
January 1920.
February 1921.
1922. Royal Model 12. 1,496 cc. Exhibit at the Franschhoek Motor Museum.
November 1922.
November 1922.
June 1923.
October 1923.
October 1923. Models, prices and specifications.
March 1924
March 1924
October 1925.
October 1931.
June 1932.
October 1936.
August 1941.
August 1941.
Oct 1949.
1950. Bag Boy golf cart.
October 1951.
October 1951.
July 1953. Two litre.
June 1953. Bag Boy golf cart.
October 1953.
September 1954.
October 1954. Front left, Reg No. UPJ75, AC Ace. One of the '100 Milers'.
October 1955.
November 1955. Mk II Petite.
October 1957. Aceca.
October 1957. Aceca.
Reg No: 680 KPB.
1977. AC Invacar. Exhibit at Lakeland Motor Museum.

AC Cars Group Ltd

of 42 Martell Road, Dulwich

of Thames Ditton (1911)

A British specialist automobile manufacturer and one of the oldest independent car marques in Britain.

1900 Weller Brothers started as general engineers

1902 Weller Brothers Ltd entered the motor business

1903 The first AC car was presented at the Crystal Palace motor show in 1903; it was a 20-hp touring car and was displayed under the Weller name. The Weller Brothers in West Norwood, London, planned to produce an advanced 20-hp car. However, Portwine, their financial backer thought the car would be too expensive to produce and encouraged Weller to design and produce a little delivery 3 wheeler. Weller did so, called it the Auto-Carrier and a new company was founded and named Autocars and Accessories

1904 Production started - the three-wheel vehicle caught on quickly and was a financial success. This used a single cylinder engine and had tiller steering.

In 1907 a passenger version appeared, it was called the Auto-Carrier Sociable. It had a seat in place of the cargo box.

1907 Company renamed as Auto Carriers Ltd.[1]

1907 A passenger version appeared, it was called the Auto-Carrier Sociable. It had a seat in place of the cargo box.

1911 March. Details of the 5-6hp air-cooled engine car.[2]

1911 Directory lists them as Auto Carriers Ltd. 42 Martell Road, Dulwich, London SE and as motor manufacturers. [3]

1911 They took over the Ferry works at Thames Ditton previously used by Willans and Robinson. [4]

1911 The Members of AUTO CARRIERS Limited, at an Extraordinary General Meeting held at 42A, Martell-road, West Norwood, London, on the 26th day of September, 1911, decided that the business of Auto Carriers Limited would be taken over as a going concern by Auto Carriers (1911) Limited, and that Auto Carriers Limited be wound up voluntarily. Mr. H. E. Weller, of 42, Martell-road, West Norwood, was appointed the Liquidator. John Portwine was Chairman of the meeting.[5]

1911 A meeting of creditors was held at Ferry Works in December[6]

1913 The first 4-wheeler was produced in 1913; it was a sporty little 2-seater with a gearbox on the back axle. Only a few were produced and production was interrupted by the first World War.

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Cars see the 1917 Red Book

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motor Commercial Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book

1916 June. Sales manager is A. Noble.[7]

1919 After the war, John Weller started on the design of a new 6 cylinder motor. The first versions were running by 1919. The Weller motor would be produced until 1963; it is probably the second longest running production motor in history after the VW boxer. During the 1914-18 War, the Ferry Works factory produced shells and fuses, although at least one vehicle was designed and built for the War Office. At the end of the First World War, AC Cars started making motor vehicles again, designing and building many successful cars at Ferry Works.

1919 Selwyn Edge returned to the industry; purchased shares in the company.[8].

1920 October. Exhibited at the 1920 Commercial Motor Exhibition at Olympia with a light four wheeled delivery van with the two rear wheels close together so that it was almost a three-wheeler. [9].

1922 Selwyn Edge gained full control of the company. Name changed to AC Cars Ltd.

1926 Full production of the six-cylinder engine.

1927 Ceased production of the four-cylinder engine.

1927 Selwyn Edge bought the company outright for £135,000 and re-registered it as AC (Acédès) Ltd but sales, which had been falling, continued to decline.

1929 The company was caught by the crash of 1929 and went into voluntary liquidation.

In 1930 production ceased and the company was sold to the Hurlock family who ran a successful haulage business. Became a private company. They wanted the factory as a warehouse but allowed the service side of AC to continue.

A single car was made for William Hurlock in 1930. He agreed to a very limited production restarting mainly using components left over from previous models. Agreement was reached with Standard to supply new chassis and in 1932 a new range of cars was launched. Production remained on a small scale until the outbreak of war in 1939.

WWII Produced motorised invalid chairs, fire-engines, aircraft parts and guns.

1947 Production of cars restarted after a break of eight years with the 2 litre Saloon, Coupe and Tourer and with a large contract with the government to make glass fibre bodied single seat invalid carriages with BSA engines. These continued to be made until 1976 and were an important source of revenue to the company. They also built an aluminium bodied three wheeled micro car, the Petite.

1951 Became a public company with £100,000 capital. [10]

1951 Exhibitor at the 1951 Motor Show in the Car Section.

In 1953 the firm began production of the AC Ace, a lightweight chassis designed by John Tojeiro with the venerable AC Weller 2 litre engine.

1961 Manufacturers of Ace and Aceca cars with 90% exported. 232 employees. [11]

List of Models

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Application by John Weller to join I Mech E
  2. The Autocar 1911/03/18
  3. Post Office London Location Suburbs Directory, 1911.
  4. Motor Cycling magazine of 19th September 1911
  5. London Gazette 24 November 1911
  6. The London Gazette 28 November 1911
  7. Light Car and Cyclecar 1916/06/05
  8. Biography of Selwyn Edge ODNB by David Thoms [1]
  9. The Engineer of 22nd October 1920 p400
  10. British Motor Cars 1950/51
  11. 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises: Motor, Motor-Cycle and Commercial Vehicle Manufacturers