This Alfa V6-Powered 1982 3000ME MKII Prototype Sealed AC's Fate

Apr 17, 2019 3 min read
1982 AC 3000ME MKII Prototype

The 1982 AC 3000ME MKII Prototype is heading to auction with H&H Classics. Here's why this infamous piece of British automotive history deserves attention

In true British automotive fashion, the AC 3000ME enjoys historical status as a complete disaster. First shown to the public in 1973, it would take a further six years before the mid-engined sports car entered production. Only 76 examples ever left the factory, sporting 138hp and a top speed of 120mph. Rarely seen in public, any example of AC’s final hurrah deserves attention.

However, H&H has gone all out. The British auction house is hammering away arguably the greatest surviving specimen of AC’s notorious 3000ME. Estimated to sell on May 1 for between £18k and £22k, H&H Classics will offer the only 1982 AC 3000ME MkII prototype up for grabs through an online auction.

1982 AC 3000ME MKII Prototype

Donning a radiant bright red paint scheme, the car is reported to ‘have plenty of performance and sound like an Italian thoroughbred’. Yet there is more to the story than that. The MkII Prototype was present for the downfall of the historic AC marque and remains embedded in the company's final chapter.

Suffering a raft of difficulties in obtaining Type Approval and enduring all manner of production issues, the 3000ME was AC’s last-ditch attempt to remain afloat. Sadly, the ill-fated model killed the struggling manufacturer off for good.

Sales of the car never reached the volumes that Derek Hurlock – then owner of AC Cars Ltd. – required to rescue his company’s prosperities. By the early 1980s, Derek’s health was in serious decline. After viewing the situation, Hurlock pulled the plug on the 3000ME and production stopped overnight.

1982 AC 3000ME MKII Prototype

The AC name was then licensed out to a company registered in Glasgow, known as AC (Scotland) plc. Run by David McDonald, his efforts operated out of a new factory in Hilllington, Glasgow, with goals set for no less than 40 cars per week. However, fate had other ideas.

The car offered by H&H – chassis #129, registration VPC 634X – had previously been employed as a factory demonstrator before serving time as AC Managing Director Andrew Hurlock’s personal ride. Under the new regime, VPC 634X was immediately utilized as a development mule for the Scottish company’s upgraded sports car.

Aubrey Woods, a former BRM engineer, was tasked with redevelopment works; replacing the ubiquitous Ford-sourced engine with an Alfa Romeo 2.5-liter Busso V6. The original gearbox was retained, but most other drivetrain aspects were swapped out for Alfa parts.

1982 AC 3000ME MKII Prototype

Despite good intentions to revive the brand, AC (Scotland) filed for receivership after only a year. In the run-up to bankruptcy, the firm has been slaving away on a MKII model to improve market standing and aid sales. This is that car. As a chunk of British automotive history, little offers such  turbulent heritage on such value.

As infamous as the model may be with those of a collector car persuasion, the vehicle is not without merit. Hailed as the British equivalent to the Lancia Stratos, boasting proprietary V6 engines, edge-shaped styling, and a fibreglass body, the MKII 3000ME remains seriously quick and well worth that space in your garage. Get a closer look at the AC Protoype here.

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