Project Kimber - a plan to partly redesign the now-defunct Smart roadster/coupe line and resume production under the AC brand in the UK - has said it is now in "the final stages of assembling a GBP65m investment package from a consortium of investors in Hong Kong and Europe.

If the financing is successful, Kimber expects to commence production of the re-branded AC Ace Super Sports roadster and coupe models during 2007.

Lord James of Blackheath, chairman of Project Kimber said in a statement: "Although it is taking longer to achieve than we originally hoped, the commitment and support that we have been shown by our investors has been hugely encouraging.

"We have a number of significant investors who are close to commitment and require at least one more to do so before we close the book. We expect to be able to announce that this has been completed in the near future."

Smart and Project Kimber said they have finalised the contracts that replace a memorandum of understanding signed earlier this year. These contracts are subject to a timely closing of Kimber's ongoing round of capital raising.

They agree the terms under which Kimber will acquire production equipment that is no longer needed by smart and provide a licence to redesign, produce and sell the former Smart roadster and roadster coupe models under the historic British brand AC.

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