AC Sociable
Lot 254
c.1912 AC Sociable Chassis no. 552 Engine no. 532
£15,000 - 20,000
US$ 25,000 - 34,000
Lot Details
c.1912 AC Sociable
Registration no. LFF 828
Chassis no. 552
Engine no. 532


  • Having abandoned plans to produce a 20hp touring car, John Weller turned his not inconsiderable design talents to something more mundane: a three-wheeled commercial delivery vehicle that would suit the needs of his businessman backer, John Portwine. Called the 'Auto-Carrier' this timber-framed device was powered by a single-cylinder, 636cc, air-cooled (by fans) engine mounted beneath the driver's seat and driving the rear wheel, via a two-speed epicyclic gearbox, by chain. Steering was by means of a tiller, with goods carried in a box between the front wheels. Introduced in 1904, the Auto-Carrier was an immediate success, being a quicker and more efficient means of transporting goods around towns and cities than either horses or bicycles.
    A passenger version - the Sociable - arrived in 1907, a second seat replacing the goods box. It was at this time that the name was abbreviated to 'AC' using the Art Nouveau-style lettering forever associated with the marque. A three-seater followed and then the definitive version with side-by-side seating for the driver and a single passenger.
    Previously owned by a Mr Frank Gowing, this Sociable has a Sunbeam Motorcycle Club certificate dating it to 1912. However, comparing the chassis number to other cars listed by the AC Owners Club indicates a date of 1910. Either way, it is eligible for the Pioneer Run to Brighton, which the vendor entered and completed this year. It is also eligible for other events such as the 'Festival of Slowth', where it competed this year, and has been invited to 'La Vie en Bleu' at Prescott.
    Fitted with front wheel brakes, an option when new, 'LFF 828' benefits from a recent complete overhaul of the front axle (new kingpins, bearings, track rod bushes, wheel spokes, etc) undertaken by Hinton Historic Engineering. The front tyres are new and the magneto was recently restored by Tony Stairs - the engine has dual ignition for easy starting and is said to run well. The car is offered with sundry invoices, current road fund licence, MoT to March 2013 and Swansea V5 document.

Saleroom notices

  • This car recently succesfully climbed Prescott hill, the machine tackling the gradient with "remarkable ease".
  1. Rob Hubbard
    Specialist - Motor Cars
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