1969 AC 428 Coupé Coachwork by Carrozzeria Frua Registration no. WNJ 179H Chassis no. CF46 Engine no. B22KR1074
The concept of Italian styling coupled with American V8 horsepower was well established by the late 1960s and no doubt influenced AC Cars' decision to reconfigure its fire-breathing Cobra sports car as a luxury Grand Routier. A Cobra MkIII coil-suspended chassis was extended by 6" in the wheelbase and despatched to Italy to be clothed in elegant steel coachwork by Pietro Frua, the result looking not unlike the latter's Maserati Mistral. The first car, a two-seater convertible, was completed in time for the 1965 Earls Court Motor Show, while the following year's Geneva Salon saw the launch of an even more sensational fastback-styled coupé. Although the 428ci (7-litre) Ford Galaxie engine that gave the model its name produced less power than the Cobra 427's, the 345bhp on tap was capable of delivering all the performance that customers desired. Shrugging off the car's 1,416kgs weight and seemingly unhampered by the automatic transmission, as fitted to the majority of cars, this stupendous engine enabled road testers to record sub-six-second 0-60mph times and 0-100mph times of around 14.5 seconds, with a maximum speed in excess of 140mph. However, shipping rolling chassis to Turin and back again after the bodies had been installed was both time-consuming and expensive, leading to delayed deliveries. Hampered by an inflated price - the 428 cost considerably more than the contemporary Aston Martin DB6 - production never attained Cobra levels, a mere 80 being made between 1966 and 1973, the split being 51 convertibles and 29 coupés. Some 40 years later the 428 still had the means to impress. Sampling a convertible model in a comparison test alongside a Maserati Mistral and Ferrari 330GTS for its November 2004 edition, Classic Cars magazine was struck by the 428's apparent effortlessness: 'The AC is flicked forward on a raised eyebrow of torque: 462ft/lb peaking at a shoulder-shrugging 2,800rpm. Left to its own devices, the 428 will out-run the Ferrari up to 90mph and just beat it over a standing quarter-mile, all without appearing to exert itself.' This AC 428 was completed on 3rd November 1969 and from 1972 to 1985 was in storage at the AC Cars factory. On 30th April '85 the car was purchased by Mr George Cammack of Edinburgh and three years later was a class winner at the AC Club's annual concours. Mr Cammack offered the 428 for sale in 1989, by which time it had covered some 30,000 miles, and it was bought by a Mr Jillies of the Edinburgh-based Drambuie Liquor Company. There are invoices on file from this period issued by the AC works. In 1993 the AC was offered for sale at auction and purchased by Mr Andre el Zenny. When the next owner Daryl Smith acquired the car in 1996 the mileage had only risen slightly, to 33,231. The 428 was kept by Mr Smith until 2003 and while in his ownership underwent restoration but was scarcely used. In December 2003 (at 33,273 miles) the car was sold to Mr Steve Cunningham, who kept it until November 2004 when it was bought by Mr Michael Trösser in Germany. There are maintenance invoices on file relating to Mr Cunningham's ownership. On 10th January 2008 the AC was sold to the current owner and there are contemporary maintenance bills on file totalling 1,200. A most elegant, Italian-styled, Anglo-American Gran Turismo representing excellent value for money, 'CF46' is offered with the aforementioned invoices, old-style logbook and a quantity of MoT certificates issued prior to 2005.