Lot 251 - 1955 AC Aceca Coupé Competition
|Odometer reading||17,699 miles|
|Estimate||£70,000 - £85,000|
|Result||Sold - £73,000|
Based on the open two-seat AC Ace, the Aceca was a hand-built grand tourer in the British tradition with ash wood and steel tubing used in the construction. One notable feature was the hatchback door at the rear making the Aceca only the second car, after the Aston Martin DB2/4, to incorporate this element. The hardtop coupe made its debut in 1954 and shared the same 1991cc, two-litre engine with the Ace and offered similar levels of performance.
The main difference between the Aceca and Aceca-Bristol was the engine; both used a straight-six unit but the Aceca shared its 90hp, 1,991cc overhead camshaft AC engine with the lighter AC Ace while the Aceca-Bristol used a 125hp 'D-Type', 2000cc unit sourced from Bristol Cars.
Factory records show an AC Cars build completion date of 14th September, 1955 - Chassis AEX 525 with the original two-litre engine fitted and registered as an export model. It was therefore lefthand drive and subsequently delivered to Portugal in 1955. In 1962, a Portuguese nobleman, Francisco Jose Gentil Heredia, bought a new one of the rare, 35 factory produced, 2.6 litre Ruddspeed AC Aces - RSX 5009. He had it returned to the factory a number of times to increase the specification to Stage Four tune (Details within the history point to Stage Five tune in reality) and fitted with Borrani wire wheels. Although officially 'road-going', the car was later raced in Europe, including Cascais.
Tragically, however, the car suffered fire damage on a European ferry dockside in August 1964. This caused extensive damage to the aluminium bodywork and interior. It was stored for some years, in this condition, until Heredia's brother decided to carry out a mechanical transplant to the Aceca he then owned. The 2.6 litre Ford engine & ancillaries were professionally transplanted from the ruined Ace to this Aceca. (a modification that became accepted and approved by AC Cars who, by this time, were fitting either the Ford 2.6 litre engines or Bristol 2.2 litre engines to their production models). Also fitted were triple Weber carburettors, a Raymond Mays head (CL28694), a Moss gearbox, front-wheel disc brakes and rear drums, Ace front and rear over-riders and 15"x 6" Borrani wire wheels. The owner also had the front of the car lightly re-modelled to Ace/Cobra 'long-nose' dimensions, naturally in aluminium.
In c.1975, the car was exported to America where it remained until 2006 and this important example became extremely well known in the USA during its early history through the VSCCA and Historic Racing during its 29 years ownership with Mr. Warren Wegele and was reported to have always been a top ten finisher with a podium finish (2nd) in August 1989 at Meadow Brook Historic Races at Waterford Hills, MI.
Between 1987 and 2002 the car appeared at the following events;
Meadowbrook Historic Races - 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990.
Pocono VSCCA - 1988.
Pittsburgh Grand Prix - 1988, 1991, 1992, 2001, 2002.
Mid Ohio - 1992.
Whilst in the States, a roll cage was also fitted and the suspension modified by the renowned engineer and race driver, Chris Lawrence (class winner - 1962 Le Mans) and who was also racing a 'Cobra-beating' Aceca on the West Coast. During 2007, the car was re-commissioned for the UK and, apart from light road use, has had some shake-down runs at Prescott and the 'Wings and Wheels' display/runway run at Dunsfold where it was reported to cause more of a sensation than the Cobra's.
It was featured in Classic & Sportscar's 'Discovered' section (page 33, June 2007) and also numerous editions of the ACOC club magazine 'AC tion' including a lead article in April 2007. It is also shown on the AC website under the 'Wings and Wheels' feature. The car is also included in the book 'AC Six Cylinder Sports Cars' by Rinsey Mills showing the Ace driven by Heredia that became the donor to the Aceca following the Ace's disastrous fire and this tragic episode is reported in the book.
This car is truly unique as it is the only one in the world having such history and provenance. In spite of spending all of its life abroad, the car is well known in terms of reputation especially by members of the ACOC UK. An extensive file and race action video comes with the car. The history file is extensive and it is currently taxed and comes with a current mot test certificate valid until the end of 2015.
Eligible for a host of historic events both here and abroad, the car is currently under review by the Competitions Dept at Goodwood with a view to acceptance for the 2015 Goodwood Revival.