Monday, 12 April 2021

AC Donington found in a barn

From Maximum Mini 3, page 8:

"Although it wore the AC name, the Donington is believed to have had nothing to do with AC Cars of Thames Ditton which was producing the AC 3000ME when the Donington was seen in 1982. It came in the shape of an aluminum-bodied three-wheeler, which used most of the Mini's mechanicals, including a 998 engine. The car was displayed in summer 1982 at a kit car show with a notice that replicas could be built from £2,000 by a company named Fraser Engineering. The Donington’s body was individually styled with swooping wings and rectangular headlights beside a pointed bonnet. It used a Mini windscreen as well as a cut-down Mini grille that was placed below the front bumper. Nothing more was heard of it and it is unknown whether it survives."

Well, well, it's been found! David Lees is the man who sold it last weekend, but without knowing what it was. I was away in the weekend and found loads of messages questioning what it could be only this morning, but recognized the three-wheeler as the mysterious AC Donington. I contacted David, who was very helpful although the reason for him selling the Donington was sad: "I don't know anything about it as it was my brother who owned the car and has now sadly passed away, leaving no records and just an awful lot of mess and bits all of which I have let go..."

David didn't know it was ever registered either. From the DVLA we learn that the registration 'TRR 672X' dates back to April 1982, last taxed in October 1984 and last issued in February 1993. David: "I would imagine the last V5C was when he bought the car. There were three registration plates in the garage but not the one on your picture. It did have a 998 engine plus an aluminium body and fibreglass front. I didn't get any pictures of the front as the it was kept separate but it looks exactly like the one you sent. I wish I had spoken to you three days ago. I would have kept it and worked on it and learnt how to rebuild it. Hopefully the guy who bought it will do the work it needs."

I hope the same of course, so feel free to get in touch when you are the new owner. Meanwhile the search for information about its conception goes on...


What's that..? Well, it's the only AC Donington built in 1982 and vanished soon after
Picture courtesy David Lees

A company named Fraser Engineering was behind it. Who knows more..? 
Picture courtesy David Lees

998 engine, aluminium body and fibreglass front end. I don't think production was ever started
Picture courtesy David Lees

Rare picture of the Donington when it was new and seen at a kit car show in 1982
Picture Chris Rees / Jeroen Booij archive

This is how David found the Mini based three-wheeler in a barn after his brother's death
Picture courtesy David Lees

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