In 1935, AC announced a new two-seater short chassis sports model – the 16/80 Competition Sports, which came with 80bhp on tap courtesy of a new cylinder head, incorporating bigger valves. Including the supercharged 16/90hp model, only 44 of these delightful AC sports cars were produced.
Powered by AC’s John Weller-designed 2.0-litre overhead-camshaft six, equipped with triple SU carburettors, only 14 of the 16/80 models were built with the sloping tail body. The body’s beautiful flowing lines were the work of Freddie March, Duke of Richmond and Gordon, who later founded the Goodwood motor racing circuit. Famous buyers of this handsome AC sports model included movie star Errol Flynn and American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who certainly knew a thing or two about good design!
Chassis L 593 is the first of the 14 sloping tail cars, and its first public appearance was at the 1937 Olympia Motor show. As a result, it features many unique details not seen on other examples such as the machine turned dashboard.
Following on from the show, L 593 was first registered FPL 713 and sold by Jack Olding & Co Ltd to L.J Mears who would only keep it for one year before it was acquired by Sir John Cavendish. It would change hands a further 3 times through to 1960 when it was purchased by J Watts. Watts would go on keep the AC for a remarkable 47 years, during which time he moved to the United States and took L 593 with him. Records on file show the car was seldom used in America, remaining essentially untouched in its original condition.
Returning to the UK in 2007, and given its originality and lack of use, the AC was treated to a sympathetic and detailed concours restoration which took 10 years to complete. It was eventually publicly displayed at the 2019 London Concours d’Elegance, the first UK outing since the 1960s.
Offered with a sizable history file that documents the known history and ownership from new, along with a plethora of press articles, invoices and images covering the restorative work undertaken on the car.
Arguably the most elegant of all the AC’s built both pre and post war, the 16/80 is an important car in the AC company timeline, paving the way for its future of building world dominating sports cars.