British brand due to return to UK following factory closure
23 April 2008

AC cars Is planning to return to the UK following the closure of its factory in Malta. Plans are in place to manufacture the AC Ace Mk2 and wider-bodied Mk3 at the small Brooklands Motor Company facility in Weybridge, Surrey. Alan Lubinsky, owner of AC Cars, has confirmed to Autocar that AC’s sports car factory on Malta has been closed amid a legal dispute. These continuation models will be handcrafted with an aluminium chassis and have the quality of “a Savile Row suit”, claims Lubinsky. He says that AC wants to sell about 10 cars per year, priced at £150,000 each, in the UK. More will be built for the US market at another small-scale plant in Michigan. Reports in a Maltese newspaper, which are subject to a legal complaint from AC Cars, had suggested that Lubinsky “closed the AC factory and left the island leaving Malta Enterprise empty-handed”. The dispute is said to centre around the condition of the AC factory on Malta when Lubinksky’s company took custody.

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mpw

23 April 2008

The Cobra was the car that got me properly hooked on cars way back in the mid-80s while sat at home one Saturday morning watching ITV's Chart Show and seeing one driven up a gravel drive to some old manor house in a Level 42 (or somebody's) video. So gob-smacked by it's beauty I rushed off down to the news agent and grabbed a copy of the Daily Mail's Motoring Year Book and searched through it to find this gorgeous beast, but of course it wasn't in production at the time and I settled for the closet thing I could see, a TVR S. How iroic that both companies seem to have been driven close to death by 'dodgy' wealthy Russians. Anyway glad to see AC coming 'home', now if only a professional could wrestle the company away from this guy Lubinsky and make a go of it... developing a modern hood might make the car marketable btw.

23 April 2008

Who cares, these guys make the best Cobra going. What genius sets up a manufacturing plant in Malta anyway, you brits sure have a history of automotive disaster and self inflicted failure. Put the plant in Germany where all fine British marques are made then it might have a chance.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

23 April 2008

I thought AC Cars had bought the rights to the now defunct Smart Roadster, and were going to be building them somewhere in South Wales? Or am I thinking about something else...

mpw

24 April 2008

[quote jackjflash]Who cares, these guys make the best Cobra going. What genius sets up a manufacturing plant in Malta anyway, you brits sure have a history of automotive disaster and self inflicted failure. Put the plant in Germany where all fine British marques are made then it might have a chance.[/quote] Not knocking the Kirkham as a machine, but I'm sure I *could* buy a good looking watch from Hong Kong that claimed to be a Rolex, doesn't make it a Rolex though. Personally, if I ever buy a Cobra it'll be an AC Cobra, knock a look-a-like. The only reason production moved to Malta was because the Maltese government subsidised the dodgy, serial bankrupt, Russian. As for building in Germany, I've no problem with that, but which British marques are being built there?

25 April 2008

[quote mpw]Not knocking the Kirkham as a machine, but I'm sure I *could* buy a good looking watch from Hong Kong that claimed to be a Rolex, doesn't make it a Rolex though. [/quote]

If your buying a "real Cobra" it will be from here, the real ACE was an underpowered POS. Kirkham makes the "aluminium" bodies for Shelby who offers a carbon fiber model as well. So enjoy your Malta manufactured Rolex; now for better or worse UK assembled.

[quote mpw]As for building in Germany, I've no problem with that, but which British marques are being built there?[/quote]

Rolls, Aston, only the Mini is about 90% manufactured in the UK, your assemblers of German designed and manufactured parts.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

mpw

25 April 2008

[quote jackjflash]If your buying a "real Cobra" it will be from here[/quote] True the Cobra name does belong to Shelby I suspect, but I guess whenever I hear 'Cobra' I assume people are talking about the classic 60s legend, not any of the various Fords etc. the name's ben attached to over the years trying to get some heritage to rub off on them. So, yes, it's an AC MKV I'm after, wearing an AC badge, not a Cobra per se... or even better an AC MKVI with a decent all weather hood. As for the question building cars in Britain: Where are the top 3 most productive car factories in the EU, Germany or Britain? The Aston Martin Vantage was designed by a guy who buys his clothes on Saville Row and I'm pretty sure each of Rolls and Bentley and Land Rover still build in Britain. You may be right that components are sourced from around the world, but surely the car is more than just the sum of it's components and its where the car is built that gives it it's 'soul'. Hence a Maltese AC never sold.

26 April 2008

The only thing AC ever made was the ACE, an underpowered BMW sourced straight six piece of excrement that Shelby transformed in to the AC Cobra with Ford muscle, and a top loader transmission.

I don’t know what “soul” a few knobs in a UK factory can infuse into a BMW or Ford designed car but if it makes you feel better about the state of your countries ability to create anything of automotive worth feel free to delude yourself.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

26 April 2008

[quote jackjflash]

I don’t know what “soul” a few knobs in a UK factory can infuse into a BMW or Ford designed car but if it makes you feel better about the state of your countries ability to create anything of automotive worth feel free to delude yourself.

[/quote]

Right. Germans cars are, of course, known for their soul. What rubbish. So you don't think that the UK has produced anything of automotive worth or anything with soul ? This should be good.

26 April 2008

Of course the UK has produced automobiles with soul, unfortunately that was long ago. You sold off your national treasures, Jag, Rover, Rolls, Aston, without so much as a hiccup and you never looked back. My fondest hope is that Aston will become 100% British owned again, and can’t believe that there was not one UK investor with the cohonies to buy Jag and Land Rover from Ford. My Uncle’s Triumph GT6 was a real hoot to drive, yeah it had its problems but that car had soul. But that was the sixties for God sake, so be honest, do you really think the UK has produced anything worthwhile aside from tool shed supercars that never reach production. For a country that is mad about cars you have evolved into a bunch of back seat drivers. How about a Lotus with a Lotus designed engine, it may not be perfect but at least it will be British.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

mpw

26 April 2008

[quote jackjflash]The only thing AC ever made was the ACE...[/quote] Very wrong. [quote jackjflash]...an underpowered BMW sourced straight six piece of excrement that Shelby transformed in to the AC Cobra with Ford muscle...[/quote] BMW designed, but British built producing 135bhp from 2.2lts in 1957. While it may seem underpowered against the 1957 Corvette with 290bhp, don't forget the Corvette had 4.6lts, so it's hardly a worthy comparison. The switch to Ford power was not by Shelby, but in fact predated his involvement. Shelby came along looking for a car to compete with the Corvette and, to his credit, figured out that the AC Ace was a great car, and would be faster with an engine of 4.2lts. What. A. Genius. So he asked AC to build an Ace to except Ford's V8. 2years later the car was out classed by it's european rivals again, so what did Shelby do? Dropped in a bigger engine (wonder if he ever had a 2nd idea??) unfortunately the car was useless as it wasn't engineered for the extra power so Shelby's idea turned to 'excrement'... until he had his, no sorry, AC and Ford's engineers engineer the car into a useable and effective machine, which Shelby never raced before selling the Cobra name to Ford. [quote jackjflash]...I don’t know what “soul” a few knobs in a UK factory can infuse into a BMW or Ford designed car...[/quote] Probably about as much soul as those US workers who bolt together BMWs and Hondas in the US do to those, but that's global economics and a whole other argument. Of course it is worth noting that British(and European) built and designed cars do sell in the US, but what success does the US industry have exporting? Why is that I wonder, I guess you'd say the deluded back-seat driving Brits can't appreciate a Viper or Corvette in the way the Americans do... or is it they have more taste??

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