The AEC armoured car started life as the brainchild of the AEC chief engineer serving on the Tank Design Committee from the Ministry of Supply. Brought before the committee’s attention was the superior speed, mobility and firepower of the German tanks, the Chief Engineers idea was to beat the enemy at his own game by introducing a superior armed wheeled vehicle.
His idea was rejected but on his return to AEC he convinced the AEC chairman to allow him to make a mock-up. No initial interest was shown in the vehicle, but AEC took an opportunity to gatecrash a display of vehicles for government dignitaries. Where, painted brightly, the AEC armoured car caught the eye and stole the show. Prime Minister Winston Churchill himself showing an interest in this rather large armoured car. Orders were made for a number of vehicles for testing, followed by its adoption as a heavy armoured car.
The Hull was based on the AEC Matador Gun Tractor fitted with a Valentine MK II turret armed with the 2pdr tank gun. It was also fitted with a Besa 7.92mm MG. The Mk I model was powered by the same 7.7 litre Diesel engine as that used in the Company’s civilian commercial vehicles.
In March 1942 the King’s Dragoon Guards were re-equipped with Humber and AEC armoured cars, replacing their Marmon Herringtons.