At Sunday’s Coffee & Chrome meet at NY500 in Yorkshire, a stunning red sports car arrived and immediately turned heads.
Ferrari? No. Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini? No. Arguably something even scarcer.
Witnessing an AC 3000ME out in the wild is an incredibly rare sight, but seeing one in this condition? You’d have more chance spotting Elvis. Riding a UFO.
This particular AC 3000ME is probably the best preserved in existence. Driven to our Coffee & Chrome meet by Martin Lawrence, it’s one of a handful of survivors left in the UK. It was great to see it on the road too; with around 6000 miles on the clock many owners would leave it in a collection rather than attempt a drive to a Yorkshire venue on a showery day, but Martin and his wife had no such qualms.
“They have to be used don’t they? And besides, it’s nice to drive – there’s a decent amount of room inside, the ride is good and there’s plenty of room in the boot for bits and bobs.”
With that, Martin proudly opens the bonnet, boot and doors: “Take a look,” he says to the growing crowd. Inside, there’s far more room than you’d expect – “I’m over six foot and it’s absolutely fine in terms of space,” he explains. There’s also a neat open gate gearshift, more often seen on other red sports cars of the Italian variety. Martin explains that it’s a bespoke Hewland gearbox, built especially for the car to fit the transverse Ford V6 engine. “It might also have been one of the reasons why AC were in financial trouble in the late 70s,” he says with a smile.
Looking more closely, Martin highlights the high-quality double skin glassfibre bodywork, the stunning slot-mag wheels and then points to the original dealer stickers on the rear screen. It really is a time warp car – and one that has been chosen to appear in a line-up of 70 British cars at Windsor Castle as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. We always knew that Coffee & Chrome attracted a high-quality selection of cars, and now it would appear that the Queen herself agrees!