AC Cars built the AC 428 (also known as the AC Frua) was produced from 1965 through 1973 with 81 examples produced. 49 were fastback coupes, 29 were convertibles, and three were given special bodies. The cars were built on an AC Cobra 427 Mark III chassis that was extended by 6 inches. The chassis's were built by AC Cars and then sent to Italy where they received their coachwork by Frua. After that work was completed, they were sent back to England where they were given their power train and trim. Power was from a big-block Ford FE engine that gave the car a top speed of 141 mph and a zero-to-sixty time of just 6.2 seconds. The transmissions were either a fully synchronized 4-speed Ford Toploader close-ratio transmission or a three-speed Ford C6 gearbox. Four-wheel 'Girling' 3-piston disc brakes with dual remote servo assistance were fitted at all four corners.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2012
An extremely limited edition model, the AC Frua was designed by Pietro Frua, rather than Caroll Shelby, like most AC cars. The 'Frua' name was chosen accordingly and featured a huge seven-liter big block V8 from the current Ford Mustang. A British 'GT' car of the 1960s and early 1970s, the Classic AC Frua was also known as the AC 428. Only eighty-one models were ever built from 1965 through 1973, 49 of them fastback Coupe's, 29 Convertibles and 3 special bodied.
The Italian bodied AC 428 was built on the classic AC Cobra 427 Mark III race-bred coil spring chassis elongated by 6 inches. The 428's chassis were constructed at the AC plant in England before being shipped to Frua's Italian workshop. The body was fitted before returning back to England where the power train and trim were added. Unfortunately the cost behind this was extensive and cars couldn't be sold at a competitive price. Due to lack of financial means the AC Frua was never fully developed. One of the biggest disadvantages of the Frua was the V8's tendency to bleed heat into the cabin.
The AC Frua featured fully independent racing based coil spring suspension unlike comparable vehicles of the period like the classic Iso Rivolta, Iso Grifo, Monteverdi's and classic De Tomasos. The 428 shares a similar look with the Maserati Mistral (also designed by Pietro Frua) and is often confused, though only the front quarter windows and the door handles are the same.
Similar to Italian supercars of the time, the chassis construction featured square and rectangular tubing that connected the steel body to the frame. The tubular chassis was 4-inches in length and made both the coupe and convertible quite rigid. The intricate design was unfortunately susceptible to rust. Both the hood and trunk lid was constructed from aluminum. The transmissions were either a three-speed Ford C6 gearbox or a fully synchronized 4-speed Ford Toploader close-ratio transmission. Fitted to all four corners were four-wheel 'Girling' 3-piston disc brakes with dual remote servo assistance.
Created to compete with Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati models, the AC Frua was powered by the big-block Ford FE engine, which featured larger capacity, more power and more torque when compared to comparable Italian cars. The Frua was built over a stretched AC Cobra 427 chassis. The snappy little sports car was recorded with a maximum speed of 141 mph and could achieve 0-60mph in just 6.2 seconds. It was estimated to have an overall fuel consumption at 15.6 mph, which was around 15% better than the Aston Martin DB6.
Weighing around 3,153 pounds, the AC 428 was produced from 1965 to 1973. The AC 428 had a recommended UK retail price of £5,573, which was nearly twice the cost of a 4.2-liter Jaguar E-Type roadster, priced at £2,225. Several prototypes for an extended range were produced near the end of the production run. Though never produced due to an absence of finances, the AC Company produced a four-door version of the coupe, along with a more streamlined version of the convertible that featured electrically operated 'pop-up' headlamps. Sources:
By Jessica Donaldson