AC Owners Club Forum

AC Owners Club Forum => ACOC News and Events => Topic started by: administrator on June 12, 2019, 08:02:01

Title: Bangers and Cash
Post by: administrator on June 12, 2019, 08:02:01
It was great to see Russ Swift on the last episode of 'Bangers and Cash' on the Yesterday TV channel.  The story was about Mathewsons selling a Pilgrim Sumo with a Cortina engine (!) but Russ had a slot to show what real ACs are about.  Like the rest of the series, it was nicely done.
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: GSouthee on June 12, 2019, 19:19:21
Yes Banger's and Cash is most enjoyable.

I do not agree with the administrators view on the Pilgrim with the 'Cortina engine!' The sumo is just a copy of the cobra, it is not intended to be an overpriced muscle bound sports car. This is the sort of car the younger member can afford.

Maybe if the club wants younger members then maybe a section for the plastic snake should be introduced into the club. Even if it is Cortina powered.

I know there are very few AC's that the younger member can afford.

Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: B.P.Bird on June 19, 2019, 14:25:11
You raise an interesting point which Graham Stuart and I were discussing last weekend in connection with younger members: I said I bought my first A.C. in 1962 for £895 and Graham wondered what that looked like in today's money. A bit of key pressing came up with an answer of a little less than £18,000. Now correct me if I am wrong, but could one not purchase a 2 litre saloon or a 3000ME for that sum? There are also veteran, vintage and PVT projects available in that bracket.
I wonder if the real problem might be the amount of work that is needed to get these A.C.s back to the way they were made ? Or are these old warriors simply uninteresting to our sons and daughters ( grandsons and granddaughters perhaps ?)
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: GSouthee on June 19, 2019, 18:14:02
Hi Barrie

Yes, you are right, 2 litre saloon certainly sub £15k will need some work, good ones £20k plus but not much more I would think. My own 2 litre was £13k 4 years ago and have spent some £4/5k on it. But if a youngster wanted a 2 litre powered car of AC variety they would be horrified at the cost of an engine rebuild £15-22k depending on what is required. Yes, they could get one that needed  engine work and do the same as me and swap it for a better engine/gearbox and make it more usable, buy is the style of the car what they want.

Yes, there are vintage, PVT etc again what cost to get to a good spec and are these what the youngsters want nowadays, after all look at the auctions including Bangers and Cash for the interest in 80's cars, faster, cheaper more street cred? E  Types £40k, GT6 £8k, TR6 £10k, RS turbo £9k etc etc, ok the e E type is a bit dear for a youngster but the others quite reasonable.

The 3000me yes a nice car but cost of some repairs, ouch. Whereas say a Reliant scimitar 3 litre for around £5-6k for a decent one and a little tuning same sort of performance.
A section for Fake snakes,Plastic  Aces, though  in some cases these are getting very expensive £30-100k, then there is the insurance etc.

For instance, I was going to offer my son (32) a share in one of the 2 litres advertised in Action as needing work/rebuild as a joint project for him to work on and  use also future inheritance. Alas no, he wanted my V8 series 2 Landy as its 'cool', he got it as it was costing me a fortune.

I think the younger generation, unless they inherit a cobra, ace etc will not buy one until they have disposable income, by then they are no longer young.

So many of these cars are now looked at as an investment rather than a user, yes before you all start shouting not mine as I say not all, but many.

I hope there is a way to inject life into the club, before it needs the ICU.

And just as an aside I have considered taking over the Le Mans classic run, with a view to open it up to those that cannot afford the cost of the Chateau/Ferry, dinner as currently run. Again, if there were younger members would they be able to afford the cost of the Le Mans run, the National, the International as these are getting quite expensive and in my own view rather to formal.

Still, I am a grumpy ol' bugger and love to do my own thing.

Cheers  Gary
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: B.P.Bird on June 24, 2019, 18:14:55
Well Gary I suppose, whilst agreeing on the importance of new blood in The Club, the only difference we have is the question of 'work' versus cost. At the time I started out on the joyful pastime of A.C. ownership the cost of engine or chassis overhaul was just as prohibitive as it is now. I started out knowing nothing, apart from a bit of 'O' Level woodwork. A great part of the fun was learning pdq how to fettle all the parts of a motor car. Of course the cost of a professionally rebuilt A.C. Six is beyond most youngsters, but if there was ever an engine that was logical and straightforward to work on this is it and the satisfaction of repairing and then starting and then driving an engine that you had yourself rebuilt is really great.
In terms of personal fulfilment and building self confidence this is valuable beyond all the fancy theories of 'Personal Development' that come and go like ladies' fashions. So far as replicas and kit cars are concerned the same virtues outlined above are to be found and for this reason the enthusiasts concerned deserve our respect and admiration. Before I bought my first A.C. I had helped several chums with their projects: In those days known as 'Specials' and often based on the Austin Seven or Ford Ten. This kind of avenue still exists, despite the bureaucracy which attempts to stifle the enterprise and there are specific clubs, founded by enthusiasts, devoted to many minority automobile interests. In the instance quoted (Cortina powered plastic snakes) I believe the young enthusiast would be better supported and encouraged by our friends in the '289 Register' rather than our Club which has a wide enough remit already, covering A.C. products over the last twelve decades.
All of which leaves us without an answer to the original question of recruiting new blood in to our Club. It is a sad fact that as old cars become more and more sought after and thereby more and more expensive, the kind of owners able to indulge their interest seem less likely to join The A.C.O.C. This is in itself a bit of a conundrum - if you spent six figures on a 1957 Ace why would you not spend £40 on the best information source to keep it going ? Perhaps these cars really are disappearing in to the investment vaults and are not required to go at all ? 
Simon Taylor once explained to me his theory of old car popularity: We all have a built in yearning for the cars which excited our passions when first we became aware of The Car. Of course a 12 year old could not afford an E Type, never mind an A.C. or a Ferrari, but proceed forward 40 years and the 12 year old will now be 52 and at their peak earning years and can now afford to indulge the childhood passion. This being the case it would explain the current interest in cars of the eighties which you rightly point out.
Perhaps then, as time passes, we might see Aces and Cobras less sought after as succeeding generations shew their interest in more recent cars. You can see evidence of this in the relative lack of interest in veteran and vintage A.C.s - I still remain shocked at the low price thought appropriate for that beautiful 1913 A.C. Elite brought back from NZ not long ago.
In conclusion there are affordable A.C.s available, but young enthusiasts are not buying them. Is it disinterest, or unwillingness to get stuck in ?
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: TTM on June 24, 2019, 21:23:38
From what I can see as a "youngster" it seems the bulk of people of my generation do not seem to be able to do much with a spanner whilst this is probably and in my view the healthiest way to fuel an interest in older cars and helps break the symbolic but real "wealth barrier" between the younger and the more experienced owners who wil have other general priorities in their lives with several more decades down their belts.

Also, if pre war ACs seem to remain far more affordable than most post war ACs, I would find and have found much more difficult to find satisfaction driving a pre war car on today's roads. While empty country roads may be perfect for enjoying a pre war car there will always be the odd moment when we have to drive with the flow of everyday's traffic and not being able to keep pace can generate frustration and security issues. Being overtaken by lorries and cause a traffic jam on the outer lane just does not feel right, or maybe I care too much about the traffic around me? I think not.

There is a probably a challenge here with seriously improving the performance of pre war cars in general and ACs in particular. Since they are not as expensive as later cars it would probably be ok to spend quite a bit on them on upgrades wherever possible to make them exciting "enough" to drive for younger people and turn them into decent performers in today's driving conditions. I have been lucky enough to drive a 170hp Bugatti and even if I have the chance to own and drive an Ace Bristol these days, a seriously powerful pre war car is nothing to be sneered at and should trigger interest from the few youngsters who can turn a spanner yet have already realised that we just cannot drive as fast on the road as was possible several decades ago and put the emphasis on tactile thrills above the absolute speed and acceleration times most modern performance cars are sadly rated on.

Like with any other car brands I feel that many of the most mature members started out as folks with limited funds and developed a technical approach and have asked themselves how to keep their car on the road by themselves and make them faster within their budget. There must be some window of opportunity within the most affordable AC cars where younger people could shoot through, and I am sure the most mature members will always be around to transmit their knowledge, as I have found out.

Whilst I was able to purchase my Ace for probably far less than it would fetch today it was still quite a lot of money considering my then rather pale bank account and it was for me a big financial effort. However at the time it made sense to me not only for personal reasons but also as a DIYer as I feel that those cars require significant attention to be kept in road worthy conditions and if I had not worked my way up the spannering ladder working on other cars I would have certainly felt overwhelmed with the ownership experience and I may well have sold it along, solving in the meantime most of my financial difficulties.

Beyond some historical facts that have brought the values of some cars beyond the reach of many, each owner should try to keep writing the history of their cars within their means, whichever they may be, instead of locking them away as appreciating assets and polishing the tyres. Many of the most valuable vintage sports cars have been so much over restored they end up looking like stuffed animals, and whilst this may not be the case with most ACs this sad trend may expand like it has with Ferraris if the cars keep going up in value and/or people who have owned them since they were affordable finally move on in one way or another. The affordable AC cars should be the answer to lower the average members' age.
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: TTM on June 26, 2019, 17:58:42
I mentioned affordable pre war ACs but forgot that the 3000ME also ranked among the affordable ACs, with a fast look that should probably attract most younger people? The only direct competitor I can think of is the TVR Taimar which shares the same base engine but I imagine the AC is far better put together with a much more enjoyable handling... isn't it?
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: administrator on June 28, 2019, 08:49:32
It is - a better package all round.
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: nikbj68 on July 01, 2019, 21:56:04
Whilst I think this deserves a thread of it's own, I will chime in here.
It is a problem for the (or any) Club's membership numbers that a younger generation isn't coming on board, for all the above mentioned reasons.
Do we really think allowing replicas at ACOC events is the answer?
How many owners of original Aces & Cobras would be happy to have the above mentioned Pilgrim parked amongst their cars? (Hell, some are not even keen on the 'current' AC-badged iterations being on the same patch of grass!)
How many Ferrari Replicas would the F.O.C tolerate? How many replica Porsche Speedsters would have pride of place at a Porsche Owners' Club concours?
I don't see this as a viable proposition for the AC Owners' Club.
We can't (and shouldn't) prevent Replica owners from joining the Club, but it must be on the understanding that said vehicle is not eligible for ACOC events, with the exception of something like the ACOC Sprint which has Invitational/Other Marque classes.
(There have been tentative conversations about 'shared events/track days' with The 289 Register (, of which I am Chairman, but as yet, these have been only very informal, with no yay or nay...)
"Car Snob!" I hear you cry! "Old stuck-in-the-mud"...
But. Let me clarify my position.
I AM the owner of a Hawk 289 FiA Cobra replica. I have been attending ACOC events for 30 years.
I was the first non-admin member(and am the most prolific contributor) on this here forum!
Dad owned probably the best Ace and Cobra in the 60's and now owns a Greyhound. I eat, sleep and breathe AC. But if I'm attending an ACOC event, and I'm not in the Greyhound, I'm going in the car park with the Beemers and Audis and Vauxhall Adams....
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: philliprice on July 03, 2019, 19:19:39
I wrote a large ramble to contribute but it timed out on me.  Probably for the best!  I went from future generations choice of nostalgic motor (E.g. Nissan Leaf ? Haha), to Office for Statistics averages incomes versus the cost of many ACs.  Clearly many are already unaffordable to the the point we can't escape that the number of ACs on the road or ultimately available (or in what it may) is not a vast number.  It shall therefor always be hard to double subscriptions etc etc.  I asked whether we desire new blood, or young blood, and what would you consider as young anyway?  New memberships I am sure are largely new owners or prospective owners and I'd hope shall continue to be sustained.  Content/engagements to draw in the younger audience might vary from current membership offerings.  Anyhow, I couldn't resist sharing a pic of some new and young (my son Jack not me) blood...though he doesn't yet pay his dues and Dad only just remembered to renew.

We actively get the CRS out around Aberdeenshire, often amongst friends whom also burn fossil fuels using A.C.'s good name...its perhaps the least we could do to help drum up on going interest in the brand.
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: terry3000me on July 04, 2019, 23:46:35
Nik, reading your recent thread I ask the question, with your 289 Register Chairman hat on, would 289 Register owners be interested in participating in the ACOC Sprint in November? As I think it would be good for both Clubs if 289 members did attend.
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: GSouthee on July 05, 2019, 18:11:33
I am not sure that we will ever pull in younger members unless they are from a fairly affluent family, who could afford most of the AC's that are deemed desirable.

I note from Action and the ads section here that there are two 2 litres for sale in need of work, these would be great beginner cars for a younger enthusiast. Whilst one has a ford engine (fairly cheap to work on) and the other is said to be in poor condition and will need many skills.

I agree with Barrie re the work versus cost, but when a 2 litre engine needs a new water jacket, which is beyond even a skilled mechanic it would cost somewhere around £3500 to £5000 to get done then there is the other engineering of Crank to take big ends etc etc. You only end up with a car with modest performance. Youngsters would be put off this. If they went down the route of 'hot rodding' it I am sure there would be many a member aghast at such an idea.

I tried last year to buy a wreck of a PVT from an old fella who is not a club member, with a view of doing such a thing, ie change axles, keep body once tidied up and put a suitable 'hot' engine in it. When he asked me what I would do, I was honest and told him, he would sell it to me, however it is still rotting away and I will try again!!

Nik, I would not be put off if fake snakes were on show with other AC's, but then I do not own a cobra/ace. In fact this last week end I was parked with Pilgrim with a 4.6 RPI merlin Rover engine, It looked just fine, he did not pretend it to be anything other than a rep.

I think Terry is right re the sprint, which is most enjoyable, bring on some more cars, plastic or otherwise.

Still if the bit I read in Action that suggested that the average age of membership is 75?, then it wont be long before the club vanishes if new young blood is not pulled in.

Now I am off on holiday so see ya.

Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: nikbj68 on July 08, 2019, 01:11:20
Terry, there have been a couple of T289R members competing at the Sprint over the last few years, but these are guys who are involved in racing already.
I would love to see a 'Team 289R' presence, but don't know how many more we could encourage to invest in the required licence, helmet, overalls & gloves, plus whatever vehicle mods may be required to comply with MSA regs, basically just for the ACOC Sprint.
That said, I would be very happy to ask the question, I really need to get to the Sprint one of these years!

Gary, enjoy your holiday!
Title: Re: Bangers and Cash
Post by: TTM on July 08, 2019, 10:32:03
I agree with Barrie re the work versus cost, but when a 2 litre engine needs a new water jacket, which is beyond even a skilled mechanic it would cost somewhere around £3500 to £5000 to get done then there is the other engineering of Crank to take big ends etc etc. You only end up with a car with modest performance. Youngsters would be put off this. If they went down the route of 'hot rodding' it I am sure there would be many a member aghast at such an idea.

I tried last year to buy a wreck of a PVT from an old fella who is not a club member, with a view of doing such a thing, ie change axles, keep body once tidied up and put a suitable 'hot' engine in it. When he asked me what I would do, I was honest and told him, he would sell it to me, however it is still rotting away and I will try again!!

Perhaps I need to clarify from my previous message that I was not suggesting "hot rodding" in the sense of bastardising an original design to the point of replacing the original powertrain with something else, e.g. fitting a modern-ish BMW straight 6/gearbox/rear axle in a PVT.
It is perhaps a rather subjective topic but the sort of modifications I consider respectful to an original design include details like lighter & stronger billet con rods, improved ignition systems, forged pistons with increased compression ratio and improved cam profiles to make better use of the modern unleaded fuel which is of better quality than before the war. These are examples of internal modifications that will not modify the envelope, which in my opinion should not be altered.
The UMB engine has been around for so long that I cannot imagine there have not been more than a few people who have had good results at trying to extract more performance from it without breaking the bank.

Fitting the powertrain from another car is probably a step too far from the viewpoint of originality although I would always applaud the technical effort. Only some overseas people would be mad enough to install a V8 engine in an AC Ace ;)