AC Ace

AC Ace 1950s British classic sports car

The AC Ace was a sweetly-styled British sports car. It came about thanks to John Tojeiro. He was a ‘specials’ builder, of some renown. AC Cars asked him to dream up something, well, special – to help transform their ageing product range into a selection fit for the Fifties. The Ferrari Barchetta was clearly a source of inspiration. Tojeiro, though, developed the theme, and stamped a British take on the Italian template. He hung the flowing contours of the Ace bodywork on a trellis-style tubular frame. That was supported on all-independent, transverse leaf-spring suspension.

Soon, AC were casting about for a suitable powerplant for Tojeiro’s handiwork. Early Aces were fitted with AC’s 2-litre straight-6 motor – which had appeared just after the First World War. A replacement was required. Riding to AC’s rescue came Bristol. The engine they supplied was still a 2-litre straight-6 – but it gave 120bhp – and was mated to a smooth 4-speed gearbox. Top speed had now climbed to 116mph – and 0-60 arrived in less than 10s. An overdrive gear was introduced – and a set of front disc brakes was fitted. To describe the Ace as a performance car – even in 1956 – may have been to overstate it a bit. But things were definitely moving in that direction. Tojeiro had specified that the engine be located to the rear of the chassis. That – as well as its firm suspension – made the Ace a fine-handling car. It was competitive at the racetracks, too.

So, the AC Ace was already a sound all-round package. And it was about to get even better! From ’61 to ’63, Aces were available with a Ford 2.6-litre straight-six – modified by Ken Rudd. 170bhp was now on tap. The Ace had always had hand-crafted aluminium bodywork … now it had a suitably refined power-train, to match. AC Cars – based in Thames Ditton, Surrey – had excelled themselves. They had emerged from the Second World War – if not fighting fit – ready and able to look to the future. This they had done – in spectacular style – with the Ace. These days, this classic two-seater is highly sought-after – especially when fitted with a Bristol engine. AC Cars played a wise move, by teaming up with John Tojeiro. In the AC Ace, they created one of the finest sports cars GB has ever produced!

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