Lot 336: AC 428 Coupe
The concept of Italian styling coupled with American V8 horsepower was well established by the late 1960s, and no doubt influenced AC Cars' decision to reconfigure its fire-breathing Cobra sportscar as a luxury Grand Routier. A Cobra MkIII coil-suspended chassis was extended by 6" in the wheelbase and despatched to Italy to be clothed in elegant steel coachwork by Pietro Frua, the result looking not unlike the latter's Maserati Mistral. The first car, a two-seater convertible, was completed in time for the 1965 Earls Court Motor Show, while the following year's Geneva Salon saw the launch of an even more sensational fastback-styled coupe. Although the 428cu in (7-litre) Ford Galaxie engine that gave the model its name produced less power than the Cobra 427's, the 345bhp on tap was capable of delivering all the performance that customers desired. Shrugging off the car's 1,416kgs weight and seemingly unhampered by the automatic transmission, as fitted to the majority of cars, this stupendous engine enabled road testers to record sub-six-second 0-60mph times and 0-100mph times of around 14.5 seconds, with a maximum speed in excess of 140mph. Hampered by an inflated price - the 428 cost considerably more than the contemporary Aston Martin DB6 - production never attained Cobra levels, a mere 80 being made between 1966 and 1973, the split being 51 convertibles and 29 coup�s. Copies of factory records held by the AC Register show that this 428 coup� was completed on 15th December 1970 finished in dark blue with beige leather interior and equipped with automatic transmission. The car appeared on the AC stand at the 1971 London Motor Show and subsequently was sold via H R Owen to a Mr Trotter in Yorkshire. Its original registration was 'EMF 69J'. The car's accompanying old Swansea V5 document reveals that it was acquired by Roger Hartwell, of Hornchurch, Essex in March 1977. While in Mr Hartwell's ownership the '428' took part in the ACOC sprint and a few Intermarque Challenge races during 1979/80. By 1983 the car had been reregistered 'AC 428' and this valuable registration is available separately (see following Lot). It is not known for certain when the original automatic transmission was replaced with the current manual gearbox. In 1990/91 the car was acquired by the current vendor and during 1993/94 was restored at a cost of circa �36,000 by marque specialists, Autokraft, of Weybridge, Surrey, which had acquired the old AC company back in 1982. Terry Hoyle carried out a further restoration in 2002/04 at a cost of circa �35,000 while more recent work has included a service and core plug replacement undertaken by Thunder Road, Woking in July 2008. Bills relating to all of the aforementioned works are on file. Described by the private vendor as in generally excellent condition, this superb Anglo-American Gran Turismo is offered with AC instruction manual, Swansea V5C registration document and fresh MoT.
Collectors' Motor Cars|
Bonhams, RAF Museum, Hendon, London
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||£65300|
|Engine capacity (cc)|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors||2|