AC’S 1990s attempt to build a new-age roadster – dubbed the Ace – was a failure but it was powered by a twin-turbo V8 from Lotus, and that meant it was seriously quick. So, with a 350bhp engine and lightweight carbonfibre body at its disposal, it seemed churlish of AC not to combine the two and create a superfast replacement for the Superblower.
That was the simple path that led to the 212S/C, another intriguing car that should have helped AC on its way to prosperity. However, AC grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory by charging a £30,000 premium for the Lotus engine, and the market remained apathetic. Only two were made.
And that’s a shame, as the 212S/C is supremely quick and agile, even if the chassis doesn’t quite cope with its surfeit of Norfolk power. For many, the main problem with this car is that it simply doesn’t sound right, its Lotus engine doing a good impression of the older Esprit’s slant-four. Not what Cobra fans want to hear.
This car has history, though, having been the pace car at the first UK NASCAR race at Rockingham, and featuring all over the media. Its owner James Malone likes to remind us that it also starred in a Jeremy Clarkson DVD.
Acceleration: 0-60mph 4sec
Number built: 2