• Fri. Sep 23rd, 2022

10 things everyone forgot about the AC 3000 ME

ByJanice K. Merrill

Oct 28, 2021

At the mere mention of AC motors, the first car that would come to mind would be the Cobra. A wild two-seater Ford V8 sports car and Carroll Shelby’s original idea that combined a British-made corps with American might. A marriage in heaven, with the awe-inspiring Shelby Cobra 427 slaying its rivals and being a coveted example.

However, a closer examination of the history of the British company will also lead to the discovery of the two-seater AC 3000 ME. Like a number of cool cars designed in the ’70s, it had its own unique look and approach to delivering a sporty feel on the road.

A lightweight V6-powered coupe often compared to the Lancia Stratos, the AC 3000 ME never achieved the commercial success it rightly deserved, having been marred by financial woes and corporate failures. Often overlooked and much neglected in favor of its much more famous and faster big brother, the little AC is a rare sight on today’s roads. Considered a hidden gem, here are 10 things everyone forgot about the AC 3000 ME.

AC Cars


Originally founded as Auto Carriers Limited and later abbreviated as AC Cars, the sports car specialist is one of Britain’s oldest independent car companies, with a history dating back to 1903.


The company has been plagued with financial troubles throughout its life with ownership passed through many hands and many owners with the company now owned by a joint venture based in St. Kitts.

Related: Here’s What Makes The Porsche Cayman So Awesome

Diablo project


Based on a prototype vehicle designed by the Bohanna stables, known as the Diablo, which made its London Racing Car Show debut in 1972, the resulting AC ME 3000 was not an immediate choice to build for the business.


After initially being offered to TVR and AC Cars, Bohanna Studios’ Diablo project failed to find a funder until the prototype vehicle was driven to AC headquarters and the owner of the he company has physically shown how good he is.

AC 3000 ME


After acquiring the rights to Project Diablo, AC cars replaced the underpowered 1.5-liter 74bhp engine of the prototype borrowed from the Austin Maxi in favor of a much more powerful 3.0-liter V6.


In addition to the powertrain change, the car’s suspensions and chassis were adapted to accept the new V6, with additional body revisions being required when the original car failed crash protection tests at 30. mph.

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Powered by Ford


Equipped with the venerable Ford Essex 3.0-liter V6 and generating 138 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, the transversely mounted engine, located behind the seats, would allow the AC 3000 ME to reach 100 km / h in 8, 5 seconds.


Offering plenty of torque, the Essex V6 made rapid progress on favorite stretches of road relatively easily, and pushing the AC 3000 ME to its limits would result in a top speed of 120 mph.

AC Ghia

ac ghia

Once billed as a possible replacement for the impressive MK2 Escort rally car, attention turned to the AC 3000 ME, a vehicle that Ford, through its Ghia division, would redesign with possible group racing aspirations. B.


As the arrival of high-powered, turbocharged all-wheel-drive rally monsters swept the sport, it didn’t take long for the planned V6 Ghia to become an unworkable and obsolete idea, with the changes needed to make it competitive. financially viable.



With the global economy playing a large role in the company’s financial woes, AC halted production at its Thames Ditton plant and moved to a new plant in Glasgow under the guise of AC (Scotland).


In addition to manufacturing 30 cars, a special factory mule was developed to launch a second generation of the car, released the Ford piece and entered a glorious 2.5-liter Alfa Romeo Busso V6. Only one car was produced before the company went into liquidation.

Related: 5 Reasons The Alfa Romeo 4C Is An Amazing Sports Car (5 Why It Failed)

Shelby and Turbo versions


Having garnered the interest of several third parties throughout its short lifespan, the AC 3000 ME was seen as a possible Shelby / Chrysler joint coupe with revised bodywork and a turbocharged 2.2-liter engine before it went be cleaned.


Even in the mid-’70s, there were speculative notions of sticking a turbo on the small AC to boost its horsepower, with Rooster Turbo conversion lifting power to 200hp offered.

Financial failure


The small coupe seemed doomed from the start, with almost every version of the car suffering from financial problems. Whether it’s the global economy or just a project, the money just ran out.

side view

Several revisions required to finally bring the AC 3000 ME to market also resulted in an increase in the selling price in an attempt to recoup losses. As it competed with the much better performing and cheaper Lotus Esprit, it did not sell well.

Related: The 10 Best Body Upgrades For Any Muscle Car

Failed alarm clock


Due to poor sales and the worsening financial situation the company was liquidated, with assets later bought by former Ford racing driver John Parson and Scotland manager Aubrey Woods with a plan to revive the brand.

fiat engine

Using the most recent prototype as a development car, they ditched Alfa Romeo’s V6 in favor of a turbocharged, twin-camshaft Fiat unit from the Croma, again a failure in funding the project.

Classic Status

white ca

Hampered by the era in which it was born, the AC 3000 ME is a rare and sought-after car that won’t break the bank on purchase, with decent copies sold at auction for around $ 25,000.

it black

Although mechanically straightforward, finding parts can be very difficult, with body replacement proving almost impossible. Despite these obvious drawbacks, the AC 3000 ME is a unique and wonderful creation.

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