1961 AC Ace Bristol

Matching numbers Bristol engine, original right hand drive example.

 

Extensive restoration and complete with rare original factory hard top.

 

The success of Cliff Davis's Tojeiro sports racer prompted AC Cars to put the design into production in 1954 as the Ace. The Davis car's pretty Ferrari 166-inspired barchetta bodywork was retained, as was John Tojeiro's twin-tube ladder frame chassis and Cooper-influenced all-independent suspension, but the power unit was AC's own venerable, 2-litre, long-stroke six.

 

The Bristol-engined Ace was not only more powerful, it was also considerably more expensive, costing £2,011 in 1957, an increase of 22% over the price of the AC-engined version.

 

The combination of a fine-handling chassis and a decent power-to-weight ratio helped the Ace to numerous successes in production sports car racing; arguably its finest achievement being a first-in-class and seventh overall finish at Le Mans in 1959. Indeed, its basic soundness and versatility were reflected in the fact that relatively few major changes were found necessary when the Ace was endowed with Ford V8 power to create the legendary Cobra. 

 

Chassis number BE 1197 and engine number 100D2 1131, it was delivered new to Cullums Motors, Eaton on the 27th June 1961, finished in blue with beige interior. The first owner was a Mr Wright of Buckinghamshire and it appears that he kept the car for some 22 years before passing to the second owner, Mr Gerald Edwin Vickers of Heathfield, in November 1983.

 

An original registration document in the history file lists the third owner Mr David Henry Still of Bosham near Chichester, taking possession of the car just under a year later in September 1984. BE 1197 was subsequently purchased by the previous owner in 2012 still painted blue, accompanied by weather equipment and retaining its original engine. During his ownership he entrusted AC specialists The Brooklands Motor Co., with an extensive restoration of the car with invoices totalling close to £100k. These works included a bare metal body restoration. The back axle and gearbox were rebuilt and the car was completely re-wired and the engine was thoroughly checked over. Finally the car was re-trimmed in black hide with matching black carpet.

 

‘For sheer pleasure of driving, this is one of the best sports cars I have ever driven.’ John Bolster, Autosport. Period road test

 

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