The building is loaded with fancy furniture that's still in good condition, and the lights still work. The house also includes an impressive collection of antique clocks and a few miniature trains, including one large enough for an adult to ride in. There's also a huge amount of mechanical parts, which confirms the owner has a thing for locomotives. But he's also into classic sports cars, judging by the AC parked in the garage.
Yes, I'm talking about the British automaker that created the Ace that morphed into the iconic Cobra with help from Carroll Shelby. But the vehicle resting here is not an Ace. It's not even an Aceca or a Greyhound, two of the company's well-known models. This AC was developed in the 1970s, a few years before the company entered receivership. It's called the 3000ME, and it's the brand's only mid-engined vehicle.
The story of the 3000ME began in 1972 when AC acquired the rights to a privately-built prototype called the Diablo. The company redesigned the body, replaced the Austin Maxi engine with a 3.0-liter Ford V6, and showcased it at the 1973 London Motor Show. But it took AC six more years to put it into production.
While development was completed in 1976, the 3000ME failed the then-new crash-test procedures, and the chassis had to be redesigned. The revised prototype passed the test on the second attempt, and the 3000ME went into production in 1979. The car hit the streets with a Ford Essex V6, rated 138 horsepower, and an in-house five-speed manual gearbox, both installed transversely.
Although comfortable and well-built, the mid-engined AC suffered from poor handling, especially compared to segment leaders like the Lotus Esprit. Negative reviews kept sports car enthusiasts away from AC dealerships. The company sold only 71 cars before production ended in 1984. The car and the AC name were licensed to a new company registered in Scotland. A further 30 examples were built before AC Scotland called it quits in 1985.
Come 2023, the 3000ME is an extremely rare sight on public roads, with only a handful of examples likely still running and driving. Parked for years, this light blue version also needs a mechanical refresh, but the car is in excellent condition otherwise.
The metallic paint still shines, and the interior appears to be in pristine condition, apart from a thick layer of dust. It might not be the most iconic sports car of its era, but this AC 3000ME is definitely an exotic find. Check it out in the video below; it pops up at the 29:40-minute mark.