Busting a legend.........

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Chris Martin
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Hey, don't get me wrong, I like the mighty Cobra as much as anyone, although preferably the first series 289 rather than the cartoon-like later 427s with fat arches and big tyres. I must be in the minority there though, as it seems the latter is the preferred option for most of the replicas I have seen. The replicas tend to be even more tasteless with inappropriate purple or orange 'flake paint jobs with mismatched stripes aping the old blue on white of the team cars. Add in the chromes roll-over bar, sidepipes and shiny wheels and the resulting tart's handbag look does nothing for me.

In the overall history of AC I reckon the original twenties sporty models deserve more recognition, as do the Aceca, Greyhound and, my favourites, the late sixties Frua style 428 models, open or closed, but the hype around the Cobra makes even Aces seem bargains. I will gloss over the 300ME out of politeness to those dedicated enthusiasts who still keep them going.

However, let's not forget, AC also made a few other odd projects; anyone remember the electric green and cream coloured train that used to run along Southend pier? Yep, built by AC Cars in Thames Ditton. I used to like that trip along the rattly rails on old wooden benches that reminded me of the splintery seats and desks at school. It was a bit scary being able to look over the side at a steep drop into the brown muddy estuary that the locals laughingly call the sea. First run in 1949 it was replaced in the '70s.

But the real star, and a cool way into AC ownership must be the old Invalid Car, (which may have been called the Invacar?). Made to accmodate wheelchair users it was a first attempt to give those not fully able to drive a normal car some sort of mobility, and thankfully progress has been made in that department at least. A sliding side door, and I believe, a two-stroke Villiers engine (although someone may correct me on that) and the glassfibre body neatly finished in a fetching turquoise gel-coat, all added up to a regular and distinctive sight on British roads until they were phased out. The last were made around '79, but I don't know how many stayed on the road for how long.

If you can find one now, and get it roadworthy, maybe a slighly better engine swap, and hey, how cool would it be to say you have a single-seater AC ?

Anyone got any other 'skeleton in the closet' projects from legendary marques?

Chris M.

 

GBt
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When I first moved up here, the guy who runs the chippie adressed me as, you flash git, t'wit being easily confused one requested Por fer voir-why?,  apparantly he had seen me posing around town in an AC Cobra-that wasnt either, it was a very good replica of a Mk1/2 289, albeit Rover powered, however even one such device was beyond my humble means-or accomodation having just shed 5 old cars then; so a case of mistaken identity. The true owner lived just around the corner to us, then.

He was a very good looking chap too...

A guy called Rod 2 doors down from here, had a Dax replica one in Blue with a white stripe,with a 5.7 litre chevy lump side winders chrome roll over hoops and a just a bit ott, for my tastes-each to their own, he didnt buy it for my consideration, actually he had it when we removed here.

.Somewhere I have a pictue of it, with his mates modern C6Corvette,(Dax often made them ready for V12 Jags),

coincidentally at the MOT centre today, where I had to take my "new" import cruiser bike, because, they couldnt determin its age (erm new), buyer beware, if its not ben registeresd within 4 weeks of import. it will be on a Q plate)at my local friendly DVLA centre,

Anyway srtill there at the MOT place, was the Panther Westwinds J2, I mentioned, XJ6 engined,  that I saw in there when I went to book the test. So out came this old Mag and after a bit of an effort this picture loaded onto Virgin, it wouldnt upsize though on FlickR, by cameraphone..maybe the Solo was an act too far for Panther West winds, but I could never get on with the erm' styling of the Kalister or Lima looks front end wise, either...however they werent blatent copies of other cars either.

I do actually like these tho

 r

Imitation is supposed to be the purest form of flattery maybe, but not when you see some kit car lash ups, particularly of the fabled Cobra , however I often thought the Dutttons werent too bad, as poor persons caterham substitutes. A guy at our sailing club had a Dutton Sierra that was a model Fords took Dutton to court over(or visa versa, so there may have been a few skelletons of corpses of effigees of Ford excecs around the Sussex home of mr Keith D, used as pin cushions?

Oh yeh and of course the late, great, Graham Hill helped promote those AC Invalid carriages,

even if later there was quite a vehement campaign against them on safety grounds.

OK my obvious nomination would be the Sinclair C5.

Pre 80s TVR
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I have to agree, I tend to give a cursory glance to Cobra replicas but there is a lovely AC Ace around here that I see 2 or 3 times a years which always makes my day.

Back at school in the early 80s we had a teacher with an AC. Miss Sheen had been at the school forever, apparently she had been the PE teacher before contracting polio so then changed to English Literature which she taught from her wheelchair. Her house was 100 yards up the road and she would arrived in her invalid carriage and abandon it in front of the main entrance. It was a much earlier version of the one pictured above, in dark blue with tiller steering. She was also in charge of the school entry for the local Public Speaking competition, for which a friend of mine got chosen. As this was in the next town our school's candidates were to be taken there, and Miss Sheen's housekeeper cum lackey arrived in a mint Cortina mk 2 to take them along. Apparently this car only ever came out on Sundays and very special occasions. Boadicea - sorry, Miss Sheen died many years ago now but I often wonder what happened to the Cortina, and the AC too for that matter.

Oliver.

 

TVR Car Club Pre80s Editor

Pre 80s TVR
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Further to my reply, we stopped in Northallerton on Saturday and as we were leaving there was a lovely Aceca or Greyhound in the car park. Looked well cared for with nice patina. Sorry I only spotted at the last moment as we left so didn't get to identify it properly.
What a shame it never sold well, such a beautiful shape.

Oliver.

TVR Car Club Pre80s Editor

Chris Martin
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In less than six degrees of separation, who can find a link between Lotus and McDonalds?

A bit obscure I know.

Answer to follow.

Chris M.

 

Pre 80s TVR
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Errrr....

Lotus built a car called the Excel, and XL is what you'll end up as if you eat too many Macdonald's?

Oliver.

TVR Car Club Pre80s Editor

GBt
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Very droll Oliver,

however with huge amounts of brain food thoughts,my googling Elite Burger got this,

NASCA Impala entirely on the wrong trackoff course

 

No surely, its gotta B that Elans had rotoflex type doughnuts in the rear transaxle, that were only a bit more long lasting than those sugar jammy jobs with a hole in em to follow your Royale or Crusty Burger, with French fries and a tasty beverage to wash it all down with?  dar de dar I'm lovin it(NOT)

but your dentist probably will. 

Pre 80s TVR
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I just wanted to be the first one in with the obvious joke.

Trouble is I've spent the last 2 days trying to work out the real connection...

Oliver.

TVR Car Club Pre80s Editor

ElanSprint72
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GBt wrote:

No surely, its gotta B that Elans had rotoflex type doughnuts in the rear transaxle, that were only a bit more long lasting than those sugar jammy jobs with a hole in em....

Really? In the 70's we took a pair with 50k road miles off my Elan and ran them on a Clubmans  car for two seasons with zero problems. Of course my car did not have a transaxle but then neither did any other Elan.

GBt
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GBt wrote:

 

No surely, its gotta B that Elans had rotoflex type doughnuts in the rear transaxle, that were only a bit more long lasting than those sugar jammy jobs with a hole in em....

 

 

Quote:
Really? In the 70's we took a pair with 50k road miles off my Elan and ran them on a Clubmans  car for two seasons with zero problems. Of course my car did not have a transaxle but then neither did any other Elan.

OK it was supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek, however apologies then on both counts if incorrect,(didnt FWD  Elans have transaxles?),

Fair enough I have never owned a Lotus. Unfortunately I had pleanty of road, and off road experience, with Rootes lImps, which had identical driveshafts to the Elan S1(but of course they had a rear engine with transaxle!)

 


ElanSprint72
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GBt wrote:

GBt wrote:

 

No surely, its gotta B that Elans had rotoflex type doughnuts in the rear transaxle, that were only a bit more long lasting than those sugar jammy jobs with a hole in em....

 

 

Quote:
Really? In the 70's we took a pair with 50k road miles off my Elan and ran them on a Clubmans  car for two seasons with zero problems. Of course my car did not have a transaxle but then neither did any other Elan.

OK it was supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek, however apologies then on both counts if incorrect,(didnt FWD  Elans have transaxles?),

Fair enough I have never owned a Lotus. Unfortunately I had pleanty of road, and off road experience, with Rootes lImps, which had identical driveshafts to the Elan S1(but of course they had a rear engine with transaxle!)

I was only tweaking your tail! I've had all the LOTUS = Lots of Trouble, Usually Serious jokes for years. 99% of it is down to poor maintenance. Originally it was down to poorly put together kits, by the owners who believed that you could start building on Saturday morning and be quaffing ale with your flare-trousered chums by Sunday lunch, or whatever nonsense the adverts said.

FWD Elan- what is that? Oh, that lardy-arsed thing that should have had any badge but ELAN slapped on it! Good enough car in its own way but why call it an ELAN? Thankfully the proposed next version has gone down like the Belgrano.

The Rotoflexes in the Imp (and some Triumphs) were a lower spec than the ones which Lotus finished up using (at some point, probably in the S4) after years of wind-up. I've chucked them out altogether and fitted CV shafts because the modern "rubber" is crap and they last about a year if you are lucky, cost is astronomical too.

Did you know that the Ford GT40 had doughnuts at one end of the drive shafts?