Lot 194 - 1972 AC Aceca Cobra Coupé

Lot 194 - 1972 AC Aceca Cobra Coupé

Lot 194 - 1972 AC Aceca Cobra Coupé

Lot Number 194
Registration 4 VBX
Chassis Number CFX18
Engine Number DO2E
Odometer reading 11,500 km
Result Sold - £106,400
  • The coupé, AC should have built!
  • A fabulously put-together car with superb performance right across the range

Classic cars and, in particular, sports cars evolve continually. Brakes keep up with power; bodywork keeps up with performance and tyres have to keep the whole lot on the road. Some cars just get it right first time and so it was with the AC Ace. The first incarnation being AC engined but latterly Bristol and Ford. It was its slippery shape and already impressive performance that gave Carroll Shelby the idea to import 100 cars and shoehorn V8 units under the bonnet. The first 75 had 260ci power plants with the latter 289ci units culminating in the Mk. III 427SC monsters.

In addition to this line up however, there is the Aceca with beautifully sculptured bodywork by John Tojeiro and subsequently refined by Allan Turner.  AC cars contracted Tojeiro to design the AC Ace, which was loosely based around his earlier, highly successful, Tojeiro/Bristol sports racing car, this proved popular on both road and track in the UK and abroad. 

Trevor Legate, author of Cobra: ‘The First 40 Years’ first knew that AC were casting about for a V8 for their Aceca back in the 1960s. The AC engine was not really cutting it and the Bristol unit was going out of production anyway. Derek Hurlock of AC Cars needed something with a bit more ‘bite’ but none of the major manufacturers seemed willing to help. The man who finally brought the idea of a V8-powered Aceca to fruition was Werner Oswald, an AC enthusiast living in Switzerland in the early eighties. He owned several ACs with various engines but always harboured a desire to produce the model that the AC factory never got around to.

He had a rough 1958 AC Aceca at the time but with no engine or front axle. His brother had an accident damaged 1972 AC 428 Frua which did not require any strengthening or modifications to accommodate a big Ford V8. All additional underpinnings were from a Mk. III Cobra with independent double-wishbone and coil over shock absorbers all round, as per the later Mk. III 427SC Cobras.

A first-class panel beater was then employed to marry the two units together with Mk. II Cobra-modified wheel arches and Mk. II side vents.

Finally, the meat in the sandwich was a 1969 BOSS 302 engine conceived for TransAm and Nascar using a Windsor block and Cleveland big-valve heads and steel crankshaft, conrods and +0.03” pistons. Recently re-built by GT40 specialist Steve Warrior, it was guaranteed to be as quick and useable as any Cobra could be. Intake was through a four-barrel Holley carburettor topped by a 14” K&N air filter with a Mallory distributor assisted by an MSD electronic ignition system. It also included Aeroquip hoses throughout as well as competition cooling pipework and a built-in fire extinguisher system.

The Richmond 4+1 was the gearbox of choice offering five forward gears and able to channel the 400+bhp through to the road and able to supply both the searing acceleration and flexible, unstressed cruising performance. Werner Oswald finished it in 1982 using it for about two years in Switzerland and another two in the UK.

16 years ago, the vendor and racing driver of some note with Le Mans Cobra and Lola T70 wins to his name, acquired the Aceca and set about a bare aluminium repaint in its original Cunningham racing colours of Wimbledon White paintwork with twin blue racing stripes. And rightly so for this is no retiring angel.

 The interior has been retrimmed with a contrasting blue Connolly leather, Wilton carpets and bucket seats as well a classic AC Ace/Aceca dashboard yet the central gear-lever, with its Hurst Shifter, is pure Cobra.

This author is reliably informed that it drives and performs exactly like a Mk. III Cobra with precise handling and a smooth and even power delivery right across the band. The main difference, of course, is that this has been meticulously put together internally but the lightest of touches with your right foot will quickly remind you this is no transcontinental cruiser. This Aceca Cobra ticks so many boxes, has the history to match and has been put together so well and regardless of cost, it really does represent the car that AC should have built. It represents such an important point in History that it caught the eye of noted podcaster, Petrol Ped and he spent a happy afternoon with cameras in the Sussex countryside reviewing the car, it's build and performance. He seemed to enjoy himself!

Interested parties should note that this lot comes complete with a full set of the original wire wheels plus a set of five Minilite items, four with fitted Avon tyres the 5th bare.

 

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. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. 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.

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