The AC Sports Car History

A review of The AC Sports Car History, covering development, important features, and technical data of this classic car.

From Classic to Modern

The AC marque represented the oldest British car manufacturer, with continuous production stretching as far back as 1901.

That year, John Weller established a small engineering business near London with the purpose of producing motor cars.

In 1903, he had designed and built his first car, powered by either a 2-cylinder or 4-cylinder engine developing 10 hp and 20 hp respectively.

They were presented at the 1903 British Motor Show, and were well received.

In 1904, the business was called Autocar & Accessories, and produced a tricycle called the Autocarrier, with a 5.6 hp air cooled engine, and customers such as the Goodyear Tyre Company.

By 1910, the Autocarrier was used by the London Cycle Regiment to carry equipment, such as ammunition.

In 1911, with rising demand, production was moved to a larger premises south of London, where production of the Autocarrier continued until 1915.

By this time, Weller had designed the first production four wheeled car, and the company was renamed Autocarriers Limited, with Weller as a Director.

In 1918, production began on the new two seater, four cylinder, four wheeler which gained popularity in competitions, especially hill climbs and trials.

In 1921, the company expanded into a showroom in London’s Regent Street, and once again changed its name, this time to AC Cars Limited.

The new AC’s were sporty, with excellent performance, and displayed stylish bodies offered in a range of colours.

In 1922, a special AC car, with a 16 valve, 4-cylinder engine, broke the One Hour record at the famous Brooklands race track, with the fastest lap at a speed of 105 mph.

Over the next six years, the company produced seven new models, by which time the power from AC’s 6-cylinder engine had risen from 40 bhp to 56 bhp.

By 1928, the AC Car Company was the UK’s largest car manufacturer.

In 1929, following the Wall Street Crash, AC went out of business. However, a year later, AC was acquired by the Hurlock brothers who realised there was a market for hand made cars.

All through the 1930′s AC cars, with their 6-cylinder engine, made a name for themselves in the RAC and Monte Carlo rallies.

New showrooms were acquired in Park Lane in London by the now financially secure AC Car Company.

In 1933, four AC cars were entered in the RAC rally, and all did well, with one of the four seater sports models being the outright winner.

By 1937, AC cars were being exported to the US right up to the advent of WW2.

Soon after 1945, following a period of development and improvement, production began to increase.

By 1950, the AC 2-Litre car was being produced at the rate of five units a week as a two and four door saloon, drophead coupe, and tourer, all powered by AC’s 6-cylinder engine.

1953 was a landmark year with the launch of the AC Ace, a two seater convertible, which gained wide acclaim with British club competitions, involving race and rally meetings.

At the 1954 London Motor Show, the company launched the AC Aceca fixed head coupe, powered by AC’s 2 litre, 6-cylinder engine.

In the 1957 Le Mans race, an AC Bristol finished in tenth position, still powered by that 2 litre, AC engine.

The company received its biggest break when, in 1961, Carroll Shelby wanted to install a huge Ford V8 engine into the AC Ace sports car.

The resultant car, the AC Cobra, built by AC Cars, turned out to be one of the fastest and most brutal sports cars that had even been built.

By 1963, this hand built icon, with an aluminum body, was being produced at the rate of 15 units a week.

This marks the end of my Review of the AC sports car history

I will be reviewing in some detail, in future articles within this website, the entire range of AC sports cars which were featured in the memorable era spanning 1946 to 2000

I hope you join me in my Reviews

Thrust Bearing Use For Quadcopter Drone Propeller Assembly And Air Bearings For Inner Motor Assembly

Should we be using different bearings for our high-speed rotor blades which are used on the most common drone types like the Quadcopter designs? I believe so, as these drones need to be very reliable, long range, and will have important cargo onboard as part of their important missions whether on the battlefield, commercial application or delivering you a very important pizza or Amazon package.

Not long ago, I was listening to an interesting NASA podcast on rotorcraft air bearings and foil bearings:

NASA Aeronautics Research Technical Seminar Podcast Series:

“Technical Seminar 16: Oil-Free Turbomachinery Technology for Rotorcraft Propulsion and Advanced Aerospace Propulsion and Power 1:14:33 11/24/2008. Oil-Free Turbomachinery Technology for Rotorcraft Propulsion and Advanced Aerospace Propulsion and Power”

This got me thinking that not only is this relevant to today’s military aircraft, space flight propulsion, future jet engines, but also relevant for high-speed little motors that spin well over 10,000 RPM. If we want these motors to last and if there are multiple motors per flying craft; MAV – Micro Air Vehicle, UAS – Unmanned Aerial System, or PFC – Personal Flying Craft (Air Taxi) then it makes sense to use such technology.

You see, I was thinking that it would sure be nice to lighten-up the motors on such future VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft concept designs since there are often 3-4 motors or more. Some of the benefits are very apropos:

1.) Nearly Maintenance Free Bearing Assembly
2.) Reduced Weight
3.) More even friction heat

This is a very good thing due to the geometry and weight distribution that Quadcopters have. Lower weight means more payload, less fuel and/or longer range.

Perhaps the weight savings of lube oil, (2-types needed in normal current helicopter technology) on each of the four motors could also give weight space for electromagnetic bearings with a thrust bearing combination around the outer ring on the rotorblades to control vibration and free-wheel free of drag, and easy start. If the motors happen to be electric, even better in this case. If high speed gas turbines we save weight and add safety to a nearly maintenance free design.

Some of the NASA tests have concluded 60,000 hours with no damage or need to replace parts or bearings. For a rotorcraft this is nearly unheard of due to the harsh environment they fly and the fact that the motors are under so significant load all the time the aircraft is airborne.

Now then, for the outer assembly – more safety is garnered by outer bearings, but reduced friction is the key, thus, electromagnetic system makes sense, but due to weight perhaps not 100% magnetic. This article explains the concept of Thrust Bearings and the combinations I propose we employ.

“Design, Fabrication, and Performance of Foil Gas Thrust Bearings for Microturbomachinery Applications,” by Brian Dykas, Robert Bruckner, Christopher DellaCorte, Brian Edmonds, and Joseph Prahl. (NASA/TM-2008-215062, January 2008; GT2008-50377).

Currently, we know that the quadcopter design is probably one of the most stable designs yet, but most quadcopters are only toys, small drones, and have a limited payload. If we want these types of designs to fly around people, heavy weight, or become our future flying cars and air taxis, commuter shuttles, we’ll need near 100% safety, that means current rotorcraft components may not be viable. Please think about the future, maybe you can have a flying car after all?

*Additional Cites to Consider When Evaluating This Concept:

A.) “Preliminary Analysis for an Optimized Oil-Free Rotorcraft Engine Concept,” by Samuel A. Howard, Robert J. Bruckner, Christopher, Kevin C. Radil. (NASA/TM-2008-215064 March 2008; ARL-TR-4398).
B.) “Tribology: Principles and Design Applications,” by R. D. Arnell, P. B. Davies, J. Halling, T. L. Whomes.
C.) “Measurements of Drag Torque, Lift-Off Journal Speed and Temperature in a Metal Mesh Foil Bearing,” by Luis San Andres, T. A. Chirathadam, Keun Ryu, and Tae Ho Kim (J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 132(11), 112503 (Aug 11, 2010) (7 pages)doi:10.1115/1.4000863).
D.) “Thermohydrodynamic Model Predictions and Performance Measurements of Bump-Type Foil Bearing for Oil-Free Turboshaft Engines in Rotorcraft Propulsion Systems,” by Tae Ho Kim and Luis San Andres. (J. Tribol 132(1), 011701 (Nov 11, 2009) (11 pages)doi:10.1115/1.4000279).
E.) “Foil Bearing Starting Considerations and Requirements for Rotorcraft Engine Applications,” by K. C. Radil (Army Research Lab) and C. Della Corte (NASA). August 2009, Doc # 201200112857, (ARL-TR-4873, E-18263).