1957 AC Ace Bristol news, pictures, specifications, and information
Chassis Num: AEX 142
Engine Num: 110D2 889
Sold for $154,000 at 2007 Gooding & Company.
In 1953, A.C. introduced a new sports car that would eventually change the company's fortunes. It had a very modern design courtesy of John Tojiero, with open two-seater coachwork, an aluminum-alloy body, and built atop a lightweight tubular chassis that had a fully independent suspension and powered by a six-cylinder engine. Three years later, a 'Bristol' version was introduced which gave the car even more performance. It included three carburetors, optional front-disc brakes and a four-speed gearbox. The engine was placed farther back in the chassis to enhance the Ace's handling.

The 'Bristol' became a popular car in the racing community, even making appearances at LeMans in 1957 and 1958. The Ace would continue to evolve over the years, eventually becoming the basis for Carroll Shelby's Cobra.

This 1957 A.C. Ace 'Bristol' was shipped from the A.C. factory in Thames ditton to Los Angeles importers in 1957. It has remained in California its entire life. The car was originally an Ace and later upgraded to full 'Bristol' specifications including the correct type 100D2 engine.

In 1969 and 1970, the cars owner, Mr. Ashenfelter, showed the car at Pebble Beach where it received class awards on both occasions. Ownership changed in the mid-1980s to Mr. Sharp of Glendale. While in Mr. Sharp's care, the engine was removed and placed in another of his cars. The car was sold in 1993 and treated to a complete restoration. During the restoration, the car was upgraded to 'Bristol' specifications, which included the 100 D2 spec engine and drivetrain, a larger capacity radiator, differential, and front disc brakes.

Since the restoration, the car has traveled a mere 200 miles. It is currently fitted with chrome wire wheels with stainless steel spokes, and 185/16 Pirelli Cinturato tires. The exterior is bright-red over a black Bridge of Weir leather interior with Wilton carpeting. There is a black soft-top, full tonneau and Plexiglas side curtains.

In 2007, it was brought to the Gooding & Company Auction held in Pebble Beach, California where it was estimated to sell for $130,000 - $160,000. Those estimates proved accurate as the lot was sold for $154,000 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2008
Designer: Zagato
Chassis Num: BEX 477
This one-off Zagato bodied AC resulted in a conversation between Hubert Patthey, AC's Swiss importer, and Elio Zagato at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show, who both agreed it would be an interesting project. The car was sold to John Gretener, Swiss resident who raced it on hill climbs around Lake Geneva. Later sold to Joe Siffert, the car continued to race in various events and historic races including the Mille Miglia.
Chassis Num: BEX 329
Engine Num: 100D 682
Sold for $231,000 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
Chassis number BEX 329 was constructed in the Summer of 1957 and finished in Bright Blue Metalline with matching blue leather upholstery, top and tonneau. It is believed to have its original engine, number 100D 682.

The car left the Thames Ditton works on July 22nd of 1957 destined for AC Imports in Arlington, Virginia. By March 1964, the car had come into the care of Bexley, Ohio, resident George Conrades. Eventually, the car was sold to bob Fergus. Mr. Fergus campaigned the car throughout the 1950s at venues such as road America, Watkins Glen and Nassau.

In April of 1989, Mr. Fergus sold the car to Maryland collector Randy Hardgrove. The current owner acquired the Ace Bristol and has maintained it to a high standard. Since 2010, the alloy bodywork has been carefully refinished in its original color. Tivvy's Autocraft in Virginia was entrusted to rebuild the original carburetors and perform a basic mechanical check.

In 2012, this car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It had a pre-auction estimated value of $225,000 - $275,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $231,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2012
Chassis Num: BEX 404
Engine Num: 100D 760
Sold for $258,500 at 2008 Barrett-Jackson.
Sold for $264,000 at 2009 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $258,500 at 2011 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $308,000 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
AC Ace Bristol with chassis number BEX 4040 was sold new in Los Angeles, California. Along with road-going duties, it also was entered in competition, including the 1959 Willow Springs Hill Climb. The vehicle's road-holding abilities, reliability, and light weight more than made up for their small displacement. Powering this car is a 1971cc overhead valve six-cylinder engine fitted with three Solex carburetors. It produces 125 horsepower and there is a four-speed manual gearbox. In the front are Girling disc brakes with drums in the rear.

In 2005, the car was acquired from its second owner and was found to be in very original shape that was still equipped with its original engine and red leather upholstery. A no-expenses-pared, body-off restoration soon began, and when it was completed it was finished in metallic blue over red. The car rides on wire wheels and correct Avon tires.

In 2012 the car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction in Amelia Island, Florida. It was estimated to sell for $225,000 - $275,000. As bidding came to close, the car had been sold for $308,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2012
The Ace was debuted in 1953 at the London Motor Show and was produced beginning in 1954 and continuing through 1963. The vehicle consisted of light-weight tubular chassis with steel boxes in the front and rear which supported a transverse leaf and lower wishbone independent suspension system. The chassis was designed by John Tojeiro. Power was initially provided by a Welleter-designed engine and was mounted in the front of the vehicle but placed back far enough to take advantage of balance. The body and design of the vehicle was inspired by the 2-seater Ferrari 166MM Barchetta (little boat) made by Touring of Milan.

During the first year of production, there were fewer than 60 examples produced. These were all Aces - convertibles. The Aceca, a hard top variant was debuted in 1954.

Due to the vehicles light weight, optimal weight distribution, responsive engine and handling, and stylish appearance, it attracted much attention.

In 1956 the Bristol-engine version was introduced, replacing the Welleter-designed motor. The Bristol 1971 cc, six cylinder engine was capable of producing 125 horsepower at 5750 rpm and propelling the light-weight car to a top speed of around 180 kph. Production of the Bristol engines ceased around the end of the 1950's and AC began using a British Ford Zephyr engine. It was a heavier engine and produced less power. There were only 47 of these 2.6 liter examples produced from 1961 through 1963.

The vehicles came equipped with front disc brakes, Girling hydraulic shock absorbers, rack-and-pinion steering, and a four-speed manual transmission.

In total, there were around 735 Aces and 326 Acecas produced. The AC Ace was the basis for one of the best known sports car of all time, the Shelby Cobra.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2009
The oldest British car manufacturer, AC has continuously produced vehicles since 1901 and the marque carries enormous prestige. The AC Aceca, a closed coupe, was unveiled in 1954 in London and only 328 prototypes were ever produced.

Production of the Aceca Coupe commenced in 1955 and Le Mans 1957 was a lucrative one for AC, with an AC Bristol finishing tenth overall. 1958 was an even better year as a special bodied AC Bristol that finished eighth and a standard car ninth. Produced from 1954 until 1963, the similar Bristol-engined Aceca-Bristol was also eventually available in the 1956 model year. Both of these models were hand-bult GT vehicles in the British tradition, both featured ash wood joining steel tubing into their construction. Following the 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4, the Aceca was only the second vehicle to incorporate the hatchback at the rear.

The differences between the Aceca and the Aceca-Briston lay in the engines. Though both were straight-6es, but the Aceca shared its 90 hp 2.0 L engine with the lighter AC Ace, and the Aceca-Bristol utilized a 125 hp 'D-Type' 2.0 L unit sourced from Bristol Cars. One was also able to purchase the Aceca-Bristol with a milder 'B-Type' Bristol engine of 105 hp. The Aceca was priced at $5,400 in the U.S. but the Bristol specification added another $1000 to the pricetag. A total of 151 Acecas were produced, while 169 Aceca-Bristols were built. Unfortunately production was halted quite unexpectedly in 1963.

Certain design specifics in the Aceca were taken from the exquisite design work by Pina Farina for the AC Company in the 1940s, these included in the front-end styling. The grille was simple, but the curves were perfectly executed along the hood and around the headlights. The Aceca had a superbly low weight due to the tubular frame, and aluminum body panels and the aluminum engine block. Other weight saving features were in the 16' spoked wheel and nearly perfect weight distribution in the fore/aft which also contributed to the exception handling on loose, dirt tracks. The Aceca exhibited its distinctive engineering with the front-wheel disc brakes, articulated rear half-axles, transverse 'de Dion' leaf rear suspension, worm-gear steering, curved windshield, electronic overdrive in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear The bucket seats were also very well-designed and encased in leather in true 1950's vintage auto style.

Also very innovative for the time, the AC engine was considered to be ‘an engineering marvel', patterned after the powerful Bristol aircraft engine. The engine was a inline 6, aluminum block, overhead cam, double chain drive that was fueled by 3 inline SU downdraft carburetors, that each fed two cylinders. 6 straight-out header pipes were directly opposite and these allowed the combustion gases to enter the cylinder, do one rotation during combustion and exit oppositely, straight-out, without any resistance.

Enthusiasts consider the Aceca to be a great car to drive, though it rides a bit hard, due to the stiff suspension. Cornering and steering was done quite proficiently, but some complained that it tended to oversteer, but it was still ‘solid and predictable' handling. Consumers also complained about the inadequate rear mirrors, a heating system not properly suited to colder climates and inadequate soundproofing above 75 mph.

By Jessica Donaldson
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