1956 AC Ace-Bristol
$400,000 - $450,000
RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 8 - 9 MARCH 2019 - Offered on Saturday
- Discovered in long-term storage near Philadelphia
- Beneficiary of a recent high-quality, nut-and-bolt restoration
- One of only 463 Ace-Bristols produced between 1954 and 1963
- Absolutely magnificent presentation throughout
The Ace, which was based on a sports racing car designed by John Tojeiro, was introduced at the London Motor Show in October 1953, and it remains the signature product of the AC marque. It was equipped with four-wheel independent suspension and sleek bodywork, which was reminiscent of contemporary Ferrari barchettas.
In 1956, the highly regarded 1,971-cc Bristol six became available, upgrading the standard Ace to Ace-Bristol specification. This high-revving, state-of-the-art power unit initially produced 125 bhp at 5,750 rpm, which rose to 128 hp in its ultimate D2 specification, care of increased compression from 8.5:1 to 9:1. The engine could trace its origins back to BMW’s advanced pre-war 328 design, which helped make it successful in racing well into the 1960s.
Bristol-powered Aces were brilliant in competition, winning three successive SCCA E-Production Championships between 1957 and 1959, followed by D-Production Championship in 1960 and C-Production Championship in 1961. The Ace-Bristol also scored very well at Le Mans, where it finished 2nd in class in 1957 and 1958 and achieved a sterling class victory and 7th overall in 1959. This performance no doubt left an impression on 1959 Le Mans winner Carroll Shelby, who later created his own 289 and 427 Shelby Cobra derivatives based on the classic AC Ace.
This beautiful 1956 example was purchased from a British sports car collector in Philadelphia, following a number of years in storage. The car has benefitted from a no-expense-spared, ground-up restoration. During the recently completed four-year restoration, great attention was paid to utilizing factory-correct parts and finishes. Today, the car is presented in the stunning shade of Aston Martin Almond Green. It rides on new, period-correct tires which are mounted on handsome 16-in. chrome Turrino wire wheels with AC knock-off caps. The car is powered by the desirable Bristol straight six-cylinder engine which is paired to a four-speed manual transmission. The interior has been freshly appointed in Andes Green leather, sourced from Spinneybeck. Period-correct Wilton wool was sourced for the carpet. Protection from the elements is provided by either an Everflex convertible top with side curtains or tonneau cover. The Ace-Bristol is accompanied by a tool roll, original jack with rods, as well as a full-size spare.
One of only 686 Ace-Bristols produced between 1954 and 1963, this example stands out as one of the finer restored examples available. Fully sorted, having been driven 500 miles since the completion of its restoration, this AC is ready for the road ahead.