Despite a modren design an a favourable press reception, it wis launched in the wake o a massive oil price surge an development wis delayed bi supplier problems. It wis na a commercial success.
Table o contents
Origins[eedit | eedit soorce]
The 1970s war nae a good period for luxury car manufacturers an AC Managing Director W Derek Hurlock went searching for a totally new smawer car. Mid-engined designs war in fashion at the time an in 1972 the Diabolo, a prototype wi an Austin Maxi engine an transaxle wis biggit bi privateers Peter Bohanna an Robin Stables. Houiver, follaein considerable investment in development uisin the BLMC power unit an transmission, the engine manufacturers decidit that thay needed aw the E series engines thay coud mak tae power thair ain Maxi an Allegro models, sae the Diabolo project appeared likely tae collapse for lack o an engine.
Structure[eedit | eedit soorce]
The caur featurt a steel chassis makin extensive uise o square-section steel tube, wi a strong monocoque for the central portion o the body. This framework supported a glass feebre body.
Launch[eedit | eedit soorce]
In much the same wey as thay haed taken up the Tojeiro prototype an turned it intae the Ace, AC acquired the rights an at the 1973 Lunnon Motor Show showed thair awn version, the mid-engined ME3000 wi the 3.0-litre Ford Essex V6 engine installed transversely ower a bespoke AC-designed gearbox. Press releases o the time indicated that the company hoped tae be able tae big an sell the cuar at the rate o 10 - 20 caurs per week, awtho it wis at this stage apparent that the model wis in mony ways na yet ready for serial production.
More development[eedit | eedit soorce]
Development wis virtually complete in 1976 when new Type Approval regulations wur introduced. A prototype failed the 30 mph (48 km/h) crash test, an the chassis haed tae be redesigned. On the seicont attempt, the caur passed wi fleein colours. This wis a huge achievement for a tiny firm - Vauxhall haed tae mak several attempts afore the contemporary Chevette passed.
Commercialization[eedit | eedit soorce]
For AC, sic delays meant that the first production caurs (nou renamed 3000ME) wur na delivered until 1979, bi which time thay wur in direct competeetion wi the Lotus Esprit. Awtho comfortable, brisk, nicely biggit an practical, AC's ambitions o selling 250 caurs per year wur a distant memory.
The end[eedit | eedit soorce]
Efter juist 71 caurs war sauld, Hurlock cried a halt tae production as his heal wis sufferin an the company wis strugglin in the teeth o a recession. In 1984 production stopped at Thames Ditton an the caur an the AC name wur licenced tae a new company registered as AC (Scotland) plc run bi David McDonald in a new factory in Hillington, Glasgow. Here, 30 caurs wur biggit, includin a development caur testit wi Alfa Romeo's 2.5-litre V6 engine an a nearly-complete Mark 2 prototype o the same. Regairdless (or possibly acause) o thir developments, AC Scotland cried in the receivers in 1985.
1982 AC Ghia[eedit | eedit soorce]
In 1982 Ghia made concept caur based on AC 3000ME mechanicals cried AC Ghia, it wis compact for its size 3 feet 10 inches (1.17 m) heich an unner 5 feet (1.5 m) wide.
References[eedit | eedit soorce]
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