London | Lot 126
1960 AC Ace-Bristol
£225,000 - £275,000 GBP
$310,000 - $380,000 USD
€265,000 - €320,000 EUR
| London, United Kingdom
6 November 2021
- 15% of the hammer price up to and including £200,000
- 12.5% of the hammer price in excess of £200,000
- Only two previous registered owners, with the first enjoying the car for 38 years
- Well documented history file with workshop invoices dating back to 1965
- Features desirable original “Bristol” engine block and cylinder head
- Older restoration carried out in 2002 with regular servicing and maintenance since
- Built with optional overdrive for four-speed manual gearbox
- One of only 463 Ace-Bristol models made between 1954 and 1963; one of 100 in right-hand drive; 14 of its model year
AC revealed the Ace at the London Motor Show in October 1953, based on a sports racing platform designed by storied engineer John Tojeiro. With its lightweight design that used a ladder-type tubular frame, independent transverse leaf spring suspension, and two-seater alloy body, the Ace’s construction was advanced for its time. From 1956 onwards, the company introduced the option of an uprated “Bristol” engine, closely related to the pre-war six-cylinder BMW engine found in the Bavarian marque’s esteemed sports car, the 328. Capable of 0 to 60 mph in just over eight seconds, the engine was considered fast for its era. Selected models could also be specified with overdrive for the four-speed manual gearbox.
This example, which benefits from the more powerful Bristol engine that can be identified thanks to the “BE” suffix of its chassis number, was registered for the road on 10 March 1960 under the registration “400 MTJ” that is retained to this day. Of the 463 examples of the car made with the Bristol engine, this is one of 100 built in right-hand drive, and one of 14 from the 1960 model year. The Ace-Bristol was said to have been delivered to its first owner who—without registering the car in her name—decided not to keep it and sold the car to a friend, who owned the car for an incredible 38 years. The long-term owner would take great care of the AC’s condition and keep hold of numerous workshop receipts and invoices, amounting to a sizeable history file that dates back to 1965.
The Ace-Bristol was sold again in November 1998, then acquired by its incumbent owner in July 2000, who has kept it in fine condition since. Notably, the AC underwent restoration work in 2002, with body-off repairs carried out between the specialist technician Aubrey Finburgh of Kings Langley; Graham Dean, an interior trimmer based in Ilkeston; further to engine tuning by Ric Wood after being rebuilt; and upgrades to brakes, lighting and steering performed by INRacing of Nottingham. The car was repainted by TT Workshops of Wiltshire in the dark blue exterior colour it wears today and was fitted with new interior trim in a shade of red. Paperwork shows that the incumbent owner continued to invest in the car’s upkeep throughout the 2000s and 2010s, presented alongside other well-documented history.
The opportunity to own such a well-cared for and lovingly maintained car with a well-documented history is seldom seen, presenting an unmissable chance for any AC marque enthusiast or fan of period English sports cars.