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Post Info TOPIC: CF 51

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CF 51

CFX 51. Fastback. Automatic.
Status: Active 2010. UK

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Model History

"The AC 428 Frua was the successor to the legendary Cobra, built on a lengthened Cobra MkIII chassis it featured a four inch tubular chassis which allowed for both Coupe and Convertible models to be produced without a significant loss of structural rigidity for the latter. Power came from a Ford Big Block V8 which gave huge power and torque compared with the Italian competition at the time, in fact, when Autocar test drove the 428 in 1968 they managed to record a 0 to 60 sprint in just 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 141 MPH. The chassis set up was relatively advanced for its day, thanks to racing improving the breed. By the time that the MkIII Cobra donated its chassis the 'cart springs' had been replaced by fully independent suspension with coil springs and a salisbury limited slip-diff had been installed. Braking came from four disc brakes with 3 piston calipers which had dual servo assistance and the steering was rack and pinion. There was a choice of transmissions available, the Frua was offered with either a four speed Ford top loader manual gearbox or the vastly more popular three speed automatic.

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As with a great deal of the low production sports cars and luxury grand tourers of the late sixties and early seventies AC looked abroad when it came to clothing their new car. This was still a golden period for coach builders and the Italian styling houses provided design and production facilities that just weren't available in the home markets. Pietro Frua was chosen to take care of the bodywork and the rolling chassis were sent to there production facilities in Italy where the body was fitted before the whole thing was shipped back to England for the interior and drive train to be added. This logistical nightmare meant that to turn any type of profit the AC had to command a very high price tag. At launch the Frua sported a recommended retail price of £4,250, to put this into context you could buy the much loved Jaguar E Type 4.2 for just £2,225. Because of this they were very exclusive and just 49 Coupes and 29 Convertibles were produced. During the late seventies and early eighties there values reached an all time low and sadly a number of these beautiful cars were butchered to produce Cobra replicas. Over the last 10 years there has been a massive resurgence in interest and with their rarity, values have and continue to soar. Production ended in 1973 when AC launched the 3000ME at the Earls Court Motor Show, but production of this model would not start until 1978.

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"This AC Frua was the subject of a comprehensive restoration project carried out by Uniclip Automotive over three and a half years and started in 1990. During this project (which is documented with 21 invoices and many photographs) the car was completely stripped, rust proofed and repainted in her original silver metallic paint. The quality of the job is outstanding and even twenty years on she is in beautiful condition. There are only two areas that require cosmetic attention on the car which are at the base of two of the inner wheel arches and a paint reaction by the wing vent on the drivers side. We have had these looked at by our body shop and have agreed with the current owner that they should taken care of inside the asking price for the new owner. The chrome, badges, glass and bright work are all present and also in fantastic condition."

Wheels Tyres and Brakes

The wire wheels and knock ons were replaced during the restoration and as can be seen from the photographs, are still in very good condition. They are fitted with a matching set of Avon 235/70/R15 tyres which have over 5mm of tread all round and are free from cracks or bulges in the side walls. The servo assisted brakes work well and pull the car up to a stop efficiently and without pulling to the side.

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Engine and Transmission

During the restoration the engine was fully rebuilt to the following specification: The block was over bored to +0.060 and new pistons and rings fitted, the crank was reground, new bearings, new oil and water pump and the whole bottom end dynamically balanced. The cylinder head was mildly ported with polished valves and fitted with a new camshaft to help improve idle and give a more useable power band. Pretty much every ancillary item was replace including inlet, exhaust manifolds and carbrettor. The 428 cubic inch Ford V8 engine in this car is simply superb. She starts from cold easily and the revs drop to an even idle as the temperature rises to operating temperature. During the lasts owners time the engine bay has been completely rewired to cure electrical issues that, according to previous correspondence in the history file has been apparent since the restoration. According to the owner this work has made a huge difference to the reliability and running of the car! She is fitted with the optional 3 speed automatic gearbox which really suits the 'grand tourer' style of the Frua.

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Interior and Equipment

As with the rest of the car the interior and equipment are just wonderful, the restored fabrics have reached a nice mellow state, giving the inside of the car a wonderful ambience. There are no tears or marks in the upholstery and all of the electrical equipment works as it should.

Standard Equipment

Finished in Silver with Black Leather this beautiful AC Frua has a beautiful coach built fastback body and is one of just 49 built. Standard equipment includes power assisted steering, servo assisted disc brakes, independent double wishbone suspension, wire wheels,

Additional Equipment

Automatic Gearbox, Kenlow Fan, Spax Adjustable Shock Absorbers and Springs and Electric Front Windows.

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There is no doubt that driving the AC 428 Frua is an experience of a life time and one I am not going to forget in a very long while. There is a huge sense of occasion as you close the drivers door, slip the key into the ignition, give the throttle a prod to prime the carbs and wait for the seven litre engine to explode into life with a twist of the key. As you pull the aircraft-style gear leaver down into drive you can feel the torque of the engine against the brakes and you just know that it is going to be a great drive. Once up and running the Frua is remarkably refined, I have driven a few Cobras and you feel shaken and stirred after minutes behind the wheel, but the enveloping body shields you from the brute force of the engine very well. This is someone else's car so I have just loped around the surrounding countryside but I should imagine that driving it quickly requires a great deal of skill. Although the suspension and brakes were good for their day the engine has mammoth amounts of power and totally eclipses the rest of the cars dynamic abilities!

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History File

The service history with this car is amazing. It has taken me well over three hours to read through the file and document box that accompanies her filled with magazines, photographs and letters . The main service history is in a thick leaver arch file which is absolutely full of invoices, letters, MOT certificates, purchase invoices, hand written notes by previous owners and countless photographs which not only show the comprehensive restoration of the car by Uniclip Automotive back in the early nineties but also chart the car attendance at various AC Owners Club meets and magazine photo shoots.†


This car is chassis number CF.51 and has had a total of 4 registered keepers, The second owner of the car assumed custody on 4th August 1978, and is without doubt the reason that this car is in such fantastic condition today. During his ownership the car was religiously serviced by either the AC Factory or recognised specialists. In 1990 the car was entrusted to Uniclip Automotive who over a period of three and a half years totally restored the car to her original glory. They continued to service the car until the car was passed on to its third owner in April 2005 during his ownership. From 1978 to 2005 there are £90,000 worth of invoices! The car was next serviced in 2007 by Thunder Road.

Since her sale she has been part of a collection and has had work carried out to keep her in fantastic condition. This includes having the engine bay rewired, to help with electrical reliability and a general inspection and service at Aston Martin in July 2008.

Taxed and MOT'd she is ready to wow her next owner."

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-- Edited by Classicus on Thursday 25th of March 2010 01:18:39 PM

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