AC Aceca Bristol Coupe
At the 1954 London Motor Show, AC debuted the Aceca, an attractive coupé-bodied variant of the Ace roadster, with greater refinement and sophistication. Passenger comfort was a design priority, and accordingly, AC installed a bulkhead made of sound-absorbing fibreglass between the engine and passenger compartment. The chassis-mounted rear differential utilised rubber bushings to further reduce the amount of noise, vibration and harshness transferred from the road to the car’s interior.
Overall, with its fully independent suspension and six-cylinder engine, the hand-built, aluminium-bodied Aceca provided remarkable handling and spirited performance. In 1956, both the Ace and the Aceca benefited from the introduction of Bristol’s 1,971 cc six-cylinder engine, available as an option on the aging AC unit. With its hemispherical combustion chambers and inclined valve-train, this derivation of BMW’s pre-war 328 engine provided even greater performance, unlocking the true potential of both the Ace and Aceca chassis.
The Ace and Aceca, particularly the Bristol-powered variants, did extremely well in competition. The Ace-Bristol completely dominated the SCCA E- and D-Production classes between 1957 and 1961. Class wins at Sebring in 1958 and 1959, along with a sterling class win at Le Mans in 1959, surely caught the attention of overall winner Carroll Shelby. He later developed his famed V-8 powered Ace derivative, the Cobra. Contemporary road tests reflected on the Aceca’s prowess, unanimously praising the car’s balance and sublime handling, noting that most drivers would certainly run out of skill before reaching the Aceca’s own limits.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2011 at the Battersea Evolution, London and in March of 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
125 bhp, 1,971 cc D2-specification Bristol six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, independent front and rear suspension with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, front disc and rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 2,286 mm
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright James Mann