1937 AC 16/80 Competition Sports


Pendine is offering this AC 16/80 Competition Sports for sale. A stunning example of one of AC Cars early masterpieces.

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1937 AC 16/80 Competition Sports

In 1935, AC announced a new two-seater short chassis sports model – the 16/80 Competition Sports, which came with 80bhp on tap courtesy of a new cylinder head, incorporating bigger valves. Including the supercharged 16/90hp model, only 44 of these delightful AC sports cars were produced.

Powered by AC’s John Weller-designed 2.0-litre overhead-camshaft six, equipped with triple SU carburettors, only 14 of the 16/80 models were built with the sloping tail body. The body’s beautiful flowing lines were the work of Freddie March, Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who later founded the Goodwood motor racing circuit. Famous buyers of this handsome AC sports model included movie star Errol Flynn and American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who certainly knew a thing or two about good design!

Chassis L 593 is the first of the 14 sloping tail cars, and its first public appearance was at the 1937 Olympia Motor show. As a result, it features many unique details not seen on other examples such as the machine turned dashboard.

Following on from the show, L 593 was first registered FPL 713 and sold by Jack Olding & Co Ltd to L.J Mears who would only keep it for one year before it was acquired by Sir John Cavendish. It would change hands a further 3 times through to 1960 when it was purchased by J Watts. Watts would go on keep the AC for a remarkable 47 years, during which time he moved to the United States and took L 593 with him. Records on file show the AC 16/80 was seldom used in America, remaining essentially untouched in its original condition.

Returning to the UK in 2007, and given its originality and lack of use, the AC was treated to a sympathetic and detailed concours restoration which took 10 years to complete. It was eventually publicly displayed at the 2019 London Concours d’Elegance, the first UK outing since the 1960s.

Offered with a sizable history file that documents the known history and ownership from new, along with a plethora of press articles, invoices and images covering the restorative work undertaken on the car.

Arguably the most elegant of all the AC’s built both pre and post war, the 16/80 is an important car in the AC company timeline, paving the way for its future of building world dominating sports cars.

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Pendine specialise in the sale of historic cars for road and track. Whilst focusing specifically on the immediate post-war period through to the 1970s, their experience ranges from Edwardian racers through to the supercars of the 1990s. James Mitchell: Having worked as Business Manager at the world’s leading historic car specialist for over a decade, James’s specialist knowledge is of post-war British sports and racing cars. He has a reputation for being one of the foremost authorities on early Jaguar E-Type’s. James is also the Senior Editor of Speed Age Books, a publishing company dedicated to the publication of bespoke, limited edition volumes on important cars and collections. Historical research is an increasingly important factor within the classic car market, making his specialist knowledge a great asset. James founded Pendine in 2014. Jonny Shears: Raised in and around classic cars, it was only natural for Jonny to pursue a career in the motor industry. Initially starting as an automotive photographer, Jonny helped build one of the country’s leading auction houses. As such, Jonny has been involved in the sale of a great breadth of significant cars, specialising in both the Porsche and Alfa Romeo marques. As an avid enthusiast and historic racer you will often find him at race meetings, either spanner in hand or piloting his Austin Healey Sprite.