Lot 231 - 1955 AC Ace
|Odometer reading||2 miles|
|Result||Sold - £213,920|
- Three previous owners
- Eligibility- Mille Miglia (pre 1957)
- Fully restored example
An influential and widely imitated design, the AC Ace (and its Cobra derivative) could trace its origins back to a one-off sports-racer built by chassis engineer John Tojeiro for Cliff Davis in 1952. The success of Davis' Tojeiro sports-racer prompted AC Cars to acquire the rights to the design, which was put into production in 1954 as the Ace. The Davis car's pretty Ferrari 166 inspired Barchetta bodywork was retained, as was Tojeiro's twin-tube ladder frame chassis and Cooper-influenced all-independent suspension, but the power unit was AC's own venerable, 2.0 litre, long-stroke six. Designed by AC co-founder John Weller, this overhead-camshaft engine had originated in 1919 and with a modest 80bhp (later 100bhp) on tap, endowed the Ace with respectable, if not outstanding, performance. Nevertheless, in tuned form the Ace enjoyed great success in production sports car racing, winning its class at the Le Mans 24 Hour Race in 1959.
In 1954 AC added a hardtop version - the fastback-styled Aceca - and both models later became available with the more powerful Bristol engine before production ceased in 1963. Towards the end of production, the Ace was also available with the 2.6 litre overhead-valve Ford Zephyr engine installed. Only 223 cars were delivered with the 2.0 litre AC engine compared with 463 Bristol-engined cars and a further 37 Ford-powered examples.
Chassis number ‘AE44’ is one of the earliest production cars, finished by the factory in green body colour, trimmed in beige leather and fitted with the AC six-cylinder engine ‘UMB2102-H’. Supplied as Ex-Works on 31st January 1955 and brokered through Swanmore Garage, Bournemouth to its first custodian Mr. F Richards of Poole, Dorset.
The next significant owner was Mr. H.E.M Russel of Danemoor, Malvern. He was the custodian of the car from 1975-1999, during this time it was solely used for gentle road use. Shortly after the car was marketed by The Car Centre in 1999, it passed to the most recent custodian who embarked on a, from the ground up, body-off restoration to the highest standard. Brooklands Motor Cars Ltd were approached to attend to all the chassis work for the motorcar, including local repairs whilst retaining as much of the original framework as possible. The rest of the restoration was kept to the highest standard including a full rebuild of the current engine ‘UMB1219’ by Tyler Motorsports of Kingstone, Hereford. Coachwork, paintwork and the upholstery were undertaken by AC Heritage Works, based at Brooklands. The period livery consists of a black leather interior paired with the period AC racing green. A fitting colour for the Ace as in 2019 it was the 60th anniversary since the AC works team won their class at Le Mans in 1959.
We are delighted to present AE44 to the auction, it’s the first time this car has come to the market in two decades. Whether you desire to participate in some of the most prestigious vintage motoring events such as pre 1957 Mille-Miglia or feathering the straight-six on country roads, we are sure this Ace will exceed all expectations.
Please find the full specification of this nut and bolt rebuild below.
- Fully rebuilt engine
- replace top half of block and machine
- white metal main bearing and line bore
- six new liners and pistons (high compression)
- regrind crank, balance engine parts
- steel flywheel lightweight
- steel conrods
- 12 stainless steel valves with bronze valves guides
- 12 valve inserts
- performance camshaft competition roller rockers
- surface head to remove grooves and block off the waterway
- 12 rocker lash pads
- new uprated oil pump
- modified sump to prevent oil surge and new water pump
- new timing chain
- new spark plugs leader and holder
- vernier timing gear
- billet inlet manifold
- new studs, bolts and nuts
- front pulley conversion
- rebuilt four-speed gearbox with overdrive
- steering rack conversion
- front disc brake conversion with braided brake lines
- bespoke stainless steel side exit exhaust
- alternator upgrade
- upgraded SU carburettors
- remote oil cooler and filter and electric fuel pump
- 6 x 15 wire wheels
- 185/80R15 tyres with full spare wheel
- new curved windscreen
- Black Wilton carpet
- Connolly leather upholstery with Everflex tonneau cover
- Moto-Lita 15” steering wheel
- Smiths Gauges and remote oil filter
- aluminium fuel tank and aluminium radiator
- balanced clutch assembly
- new wiring loom.
- full suspension rebuild with all bushes, pins etc replaced.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.