1971 AC 428 Fastback Coupe

These cars are rare, as they were slow and costly to build — and they were more expensive than an Aston Martin DB6

Chassis number: CF62

Born on the back of the Cobra two-seat roadsters, AC decided to move up-market and build a larger and altogether more civilized car. They had a fantastic and proven race-bred chassis in the Mk III Shelby Cobra, and their close relationship with both Shelby and Ford ensured an adequate supply of engine and running gear.

The original AC Company had been making sporting cars for more than 20 years, but in 1930 was forced into liquidation. The Hurlock brothers, William and Charles, purchased the AC factory and assets to obtain more depot space for their successful haulage business. As they also serviced cars and trucks, they kept the AC service department running. The sporting owners of AC cars kept asking when they could expect a new model, and seeing an opportunity to clear the parts bin from the liquidation, the Hurlocks built cars on demand. They were fortunate to source a chassis from Standard that was supposed to be exclusive to William Lyons at SS, and on this they produced a lightweight aluminum open tourer that paved the way to further sporting and sales successes.

and sales were slowing. Lyons at Jaguar had the XK 120 roadster and MG had the TC and TD — it was apparent that AC needed a new sports car. Quite by chance they found the small workshop of race car builder John Tojeiro and noticed a tubular chassis sports car with a 2-liter Bristol engine and an open barchetta-like body similar in design to the current race Ferraris. Tojeiro agreed to a deal, and at the 1953 Earls Court Motor Show, AC launched their new Ace with mildly reworked bodywork and their workhorse AC 2-liter engine. This new car was an important addition to the ranks of British sports cars, and after the updated 2-liter straight-six Bristol engine became available in 1956, the Ace blossomed into a successful competition car. In the USA, it became the terror of SCCA racing and dominated virtually every class for nearly ten years. Shelby saw the potential and had a great small-block Ford V8 that would fit right in the engine bay — the rest is history.

Derek Hurlock, who now oversaw the family AC concern, eyed the success of the emerging market for fast sports GT cars and thought AC had the platform to build such a car using the simple-to-maintain Ford power plants. The Mk III Cobra chassis was lengthened by six inches and sent to Italian coachbuilder Frua, who designed an attractive fastback coupe and trim for the new car.

“The 428 fits my image of a true GT car — like anything exclusive, especially hand-built from craftsmen, it costs a lot of money,” Hurlock said. The AC 428 is the only production GT car that offered fully adjustable independent front and rear suspension, a valuable legacy of the Shelby racing heritage. Make no mistake, this is a seriously fast car that lopes from 0–60 mph in six seconds, has a top speed of over 140 mph and is capable of cruising all day at 130 mph if required. An exclusive club indeed!

With just 44,020 miles on the odometer from new, this 428 Fastback coupe is original with the exception of one repaint in 1989 in the U.K., when the color was changed from baby blue to the factory-specification white. The black interior leather and trim remain impeccable, with a wear and patina that only 40-plus years of caring ownership preserves. The engine, transmission, electrical, suspension, brakes, rubber, glass and chrome components are all in fully maintained and excellent condition as befits a car that has lived in a prestigious Florida collection for the past seven years. Fully sorted, this car has been regularly but lightly used with approximately 3,000 driven miles since 2006. A virtually full ownership history file comes with the car, as do many extra parts and spares, articles written about the car and much more.

This car is rare and exclusive by all means. Simple and easy-to-maintain American components, Italian styling from master coachbuilder Pietro Frua and classic British craftsmanship add up to a heady mix. Wrap yourself in style and performance in this seldom-seen gift from the good folks at AC.

Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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