AC Ace Bristol Roadster

John Tojeiro’s tube-framed specials burst on the British club racing scene in 1952, with aluminum bodies, an unmistakable resemblance to the Ferrari 166 MM barchetta, and effective four-wheel independent suspension.

Tojeiro worked hard to tune MG’s 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engines, but when he installed a two-liter Bristol motor in Cliff Davies’ car, the combination clicked. The result proved extremely competitive and attracted the attention of the Hurlock brothers, over at A.C. Cars. Their roadsters had been competitive in the 1930s, but they were soldiering on post-WWII with a stodgy two-liter sedan and wanted a new sports car for the 1953 Earls Court Motor Show.

Tojeiro demonstrated a customer’s Bristol-powered car, and the Hurlock brothers bought the car, repainted it and installed their own OHC six-cylinder engine in it for the 1953 Motor Show. The Ace was born and would eventually morph into Carroll Shelby’s fearsome V8-powered Cobra, 10 years later.

But in the meantime, the AC Ace was no slouch, particularly with the Bristol engine, which was offered as an option from 1956. British automotive journalist John Bolster reported, “for the sheer pleasure of driving, this is one of the best sports cars I have ever driven.” He added that the Ace-Bristol “holds the road at least as well as any continental car.”

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

120 bhp, 1,971 cc OHV six-cylinder engine, three Solex carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with transverse leaf spring, double wishbones and anti-roll bar, independent rear suspension with transverse leaf spring and dual wishbones, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 90"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: AC Ace Bristol Roadster