AC Cars Ltd. formerly known as Auto Carriers Ltd., was a British specialist automobile manufacturer and one of the oldest independent car makers founded in Britain. In 1911 they moved to Ferry Works, Thames Ditton, Surrey. At that same time, they also began using the famed AC roundel logo. In 1953, the firm began production of the AC Ace, based on a lightweight chassis designed by John Tojeiro and hand-built aluminium body designed and built by Eric George Gray with the venerable Weller-designed 2-litre engine. For 1954, a new aluminium-bodied closed coupe was unveiled at Earls Court, the AC Aceca. It was only slightly heavier than the convertible Ace, and because of better aerodynamics was slightly faster, with a 128 mph top speed.
In September 1961, AC was approached by Carroll Shelby to use a small block Ford V8 engine in the Ace chassis, producing the AC Cobra. Shelby needed a car that could compete with the Chevrolet Corvette in US sports car racing. The resulting Cobra was a very powerful roadster, and it is commonly blamed for the introduction of the 70 mph limit on British motorways While this was a major factor in the decision, shortly after an AC coupe version was caught doing 196 mph during a test run!