Rare AC Sports Car With Incredible Story Discovered in Abandoned British Mansion

The unusual British sports car is so rare that finding one while urban exploring could reasonably be grounds for starting a religion.

byPeter Holderith|
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VacantHaven via YouTube

Finding cars while urban exploring isn't exactly uncommon, but poking through an abandoned mansion is bound to turn up something interesting. In the case of a recent journey by the YouTubers at channel VacantHaven, they found something pretty eye-opening. Never heard of the AC 3000ME? You have now.

A pristine example of one of the rare sports cars—one of the few automobiles ever to be built in Scotland—was found in the aforementioned derelict mansion. Located under a cover, the keys to the car were even left near the driver's seat. Only around 100 were built, and the vehicle itself is just as interesting as the circumstances in which it was found.

The AC 3000ME was made by the same company behind the AC Cobra. By the time the 3000ME was built in the late 1970s, AC wasn't doing so well, nor was the rest of the British car industry. As a result, few were produced and even fewer exist today.

The video, first spotted by Autoevolution, doesn't go into great depth about the AC's history. The story of the 3000ME actually dates way back to 1972, when a prototype vehicle built by another company, called the Diablo, caught the eye of AC employees. They liked it, and acquired the design rights to manufacture it. The AC version of the car with its shiny new name was shown off at the 1973 London Motor Show. No customer cars were actually completed until five years later in 1978, though. By then, the 3.0-liter Ford Essex V6-powered car was old news, and it got bad reviews to boot.

We now enter the purgatory phase of the car's life.

Leadership at the automaker's main base in Thames Ditton eventually decided that it wasn't producing the cars fast enough—it had built less than 80—and it pulled the plug around 1984. The car itself and its name were then licensed to AC Scotland, which built 30 additional cars on top of the originals in a new factory near Glasgow. It allegedly produced a much-improved "Mark 2" version of the vehicle, but Scottish AC went under in 1985 before it was completed. The 3000ME just kept lingering, though.

Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, Carrol Shelby, Italian coachbuilder Ghia, Lee Iaccoca, Bob Lutz, and other big names in the auto industry all get intertwined into its story. The Wikipedia page for the 3000ME reads like drug-induced automotive fan fiction. In a nutshell, the car was lingering around until the late 1980s when it finally died, for good. At that point, its name was the Ecosse Signature.

The example in the video is of an unknown provenance, but it appears to be an original Essex V6-powered car. The 3000ME went through many engines at the hands of many people, with a fair number even being turbocharged—but this one seems pretty unmolested. With so few produced, it's an incredible find in equally curious circumstances.

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