AC 16/90 Competition Supercharged (1938)
One of only 5 examples built with supercharger. 4 owners since new.
In the late thirties, AC production was still limited, but it had become highly specialised to the point where it could be customised to individual customers. From 1936, there existed a line of 2 litre roadsters and sports cars, including coupes and saloons, that were occasionally known as Aces. The 16/80 and 16/90 have a lot in common, and were built on a short wheelbase chassis with the original AC straight six producing 80 bhp. In 1939, AC offered the optional supercharged engine in the 16/90 with 90 bhp, but only 5 were built on a total production run (16/80 and 16/90 together) of just 42 cars. These two-seater cars were fitted out to high standards, and the top speed of the 16/90 was in excess of 100 mph.
The example we are offering for sale is one of the 5 Supercharged 16/90 and carries chassis no L649. Delivered new in June 1938 with all possible options (built-in competition jacks, foldable windscreen in combination with smaller racing screens, hydro telecontrolled shock absorbers,...), and immediately used for continental touring which explains the presence of the authentic GB sign and a pair of Lucas type 312 "Owl eye" rear lights. In 1954 the car changed hands to the second owner, who kept it until 1958. The third owner acquired the AC in May 1958 and kept it until December 2011 when it was sold to the current owner. The car is incredibly well documented, with paperwork going back as far as the early fifties. There are many period pictures in the huge file, as well as invoices for maintenance and repair works from 1956 on.
What is even more impressive about this great prewar sportscar is the fact that it has never been completely restored. In the early seventies, JPG5 received some cosmetic attention and is probably then once repainted in its original colour (and it still carries that paint with a lovely patina today). In 2012, the last owner had the engine head and bottom end rebuilt with keeping as much as possible of the original parts, but perfectly reconditioned. This engine rebuild was done by Jonathan Wood - a well-respected prewar restoration shop in the UK - and also decently documented with invoices and pictures. As the current owner was concerned that spare parts would be hard to find, he has bought a whole lot of original spare parts during his ownership and they now all come with the car.
This AC 16/90 Competition (also called the Sports Sloping Tail) is well known in the world of vintage AC's, and has featured in the fantastic book "AC Six-cilinder sports cars in detail" by Rinsey Mills. It has been a welcome guest at many concours d'elegance including the Cartier Style & Luxe at Goodwood due to its unmatched originality and presence. Another link with Goodwood is the fact that Lord March owns a similar 16/80 which was actually designed by his grandfather Freddie March in 1934.
Driving this AC is a bit of a revelation, as it is easy to handle and very comfortable. The brakes are surprisingly good and the engine pulls strong. The accompanying sound of the straight six engine is simply beautiful, and the suspension can be set up from the dashboard in any position between soft and hard on both front and rear axle. And this in 1938 !
This is a rare car, and one of the best British prewar sportscars. Highly sought after by collectors, and getting one in this mainly original condition with such a complete history file is simply unique. A viewing is highly recommended, to fully understand the quality and history of this car, and we are confident that this unique piece of automotive history will find a new and passionate owner fairly quickly.