1936 AC 16/70 DROPHEAD COUPE SPECIAL - "BERTIE"             ...





1936 AC 16/70 DROPHEAD COUPE SPECIAL - "BERTIE"               

Registration Number: DPH 43
Chassis Number: L390
Recorded Mileage: TBA

Although founded on the basis of a mundane three-wheeled delivery vehicle, the Auto-Carrier name was later abbreviated to AC by the time of launch of the first four-cylinder in 1913. AC's famous overhead-camshaft six entered production in 1922, by which time the firm has been taken over by Mr. S. F. Edge. A prominent Edwardian racer driver, Edge passionately believed in the publicity value of competition successes, as such in the same year an AC became the first 1,500cc car to cover the mile at over 100mph, and in 1926 a 2-litre model became the first British car to win the Monte Carlo Rally.

AC was taken over once more by the Hurlock brothers in 1930, concentrating on sporting cars aimed at the discerning enthusiast. The marque's reputation for producing well engineered and equally well finished cars continued under the Hurlocks' ownership, enabling AC to prosper despite the higher asking prices that these exemplary standards necessitated. An improved, under-slung chassis was adopted for AC's 1934 range. A synchromesh gearbox was standard, as was automatic chassis lubrication, built-in jacks, and Telecontrol shock absorbers, all of which were incorporated in the 16/60hp and 16/70hp models of 1936.

The six-cylinder engine was to serve the company well into the 1960s, as such cars like the 16/70 have contributed to the current high level of esteem among pre-war sporting vehicle owners. Mechanically sophisticated, and with good road holding and excellent braking, the 16/70 is an impressive pre-war driver's car.

DPH 43, otherwise known as “Bertie”, was first registered in February 1936 to Mrs. Margaret Edith Meredith of Penshurst in Kent. Mrs. Meredith kept her AC for around 10 years before ownership changed hands a few times until the mid-1970s, at which point the car was in the possession of Mr. Tony Clarry of Buckinghamshire, the former chairman of the AC Owner’s Club.

By then in a state of disrepair, Tony Clarry rebuilt his 16/70 in the style of the Hurlock’s 1933 AC RAC Rally Car. A detailed account of his rebuild is contained with the accompanying documentation. Following the completion of the restoration, DPH 43 was acquired by a Dr. Dr Philippe Gertsch of Aigle in Switzerland, which intrepidly drove the car all the way from the UK back home. The engine, of the correct type but not thought to be the car’s original, received a comprehensive, and expensive, rebuild in Switzerland in late 2002. The gearbox, chassis, and rear axle are the car’s original units. 

In the early 2000s the previous owner had ambitions to enter the esteemed Mille Miglia race with the AC, and 10 year FIVA papers were issued in 2005, but for some reason the owner didn’t follow through his plans and the car was instead traded back to the UK in March of that year.

In current ownership for some 15 years, the AC has been regularly maintained and improved by our current custodian, the last service being performed in April 2022. All instruments have been renovated and the steering wheel recovered with the correct material. Electric fans have been added to the radiator to avoid any overheating in modern traffic conditions, as have indicators and rear brake lights. The 16/70 has been pressed into service each year for the annual foray to the Goodwood Revival, and has delivered several brides to the church on their wedding days. 

In the history file we find many invoices covering the car’s 1970s restoration, in addition to later correspondence, older Swiss registration documents, and a copy of the service manual, which includes maintenance instructions for the engine, rear axle, steering and brakes. An aide memoire of the correct fluids and pressures is on a sheet in the car. Once warmed up the AC cruises comfortably at 60mph. 

Pleasingly the AC is offered with a documented ownership history from new, and its original buff and continuation log books from 1936. 

A much loved member of our vendor’s family, this delightful period sportscar oozes 1930s style and charm.

Auction Date: 11th Mar 2023 at 2pm

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Sale Dates:
11th Mar 2023 2pm (Lots 1 to 42)