The family of a car manufacturer who worked near Royston during the 1940s and 50s is appealing for memories and photographs.

Classic car the AC Buckland Tourer was named after the village of Buckland, on the A10 between Royston and Buntingford.

Between 1949 and 1955, more than 80 of these cars were made by Ernest 'Ernie' Bailey, owner of Buckland Body Works, which was based on two of the village's farms.

The AC car company, then based in Thames Ditton, supplied the standard steel rolling chassis and the engines.

An ash frame and finished alloy bodywork were then attached at Buckland, with the bodywork hammered by hand at Five House Farm.

The cars were then sprayed and upholstered at Middle Farm, Buckland.

Each car is unique, with a variety of engines, headlights, layout, door and tail shapes, upholstered with the finest leather by Ernie, who had previously fitted Rolls-Royces.

The body colours were often chosen by the purchaser, some in two colours to emphasise the car's shape.

Some of the cars were used as competitive vehicles for racing at Brands Hatch and Silverstone, while others were much-prized family cars and several were exported to the USA.

An advert for one of the Buckland cars in the 1950s reads: "In conjunction with Messrs. AC Cars Ltd, we are proud to present what is generally acknowledged to be one of the few truly outstanding specialist cars available to the discerning motorist today.

"Whilst retaining the finest characteristics of a true sports car it provides luxurious accommodation for up to five people in full saloon car comfort."


To mark AC's 75th birthday this month, a parade of Bucklands - alongside many famous AC Cobras that raced in the Le Mans 24-hour endurance event in the 1950s - will be on show at the newly opened Great Northern Classics facility in Derby on May 26.

The 24-hour Le Mans has been held annually in Le Mans, France since 1953.

Ernie Bailey's family is keen to hear from anyone in Royston and surrounding areas with memories or photographs of the workshops at Buckland.

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