1957 AC Ace BristolSOLD

Highly original and long-term stored

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Registration No: Un-Reg Engine No: 100D709 CC: 1971 Colour: Unpainted Trim Colour: Tan MOT: None

Reference Number 52410

as of 9/29/2009

Overview
Car 1957 AC Ace Bristol
VIN BEX373 
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Known History

Introduced in October 1953, the AC Ace was essentially a reworked version of 'LOY 500' the handsome John Tojeiro designed sports racer with which motor trader Cliff Davis had notched up six wins and four seconds that season (in addition to placing ninth overall at the Goodwood Nine-Hours). Lured into collaboration with the Thames Ditton manufacturer by the promise of a £5 per car royalty fee (capped at £500), Tojeiro ensured that the new model's ladder-framed tubular chassis enjoyed the same handling prowess as its competition forebear by equipping it with all-round independent transverse-leaf suspension.

 

Styled after 'LOY 500' (itself modelled on the Carrozeria Touring clad Ferrari 166 MM Barchettas), the Ace was arguably even more handsome. Initially powered by AC's own 1991cc OHC engine, the availability from February 1956 onwards of another straight-six in the guise of Bristol's tuneable 1971cc unit gave the aluminium bodied sports car a welcome boost in both sales and performance. Upgraded with Girling front disc brakes in 1957, Ace Bristols achieved considerable success at Le Mans (1957: 10th o/a & 2nd i/c, 1958: 8th o/a & 2nd i/c, 1959: 7th o/a & 1st i/c) as well as dominating the Sports Car Club of America's production championship for classes E (1957-1959), D (1960) and C (1961).

 

According to an accompanying letter from the AC Owners Club Registrar, this particular example - chassis `BEX 373' - was completed on 6th November 1957 and delivered to A.C. Imports of Arlington, Virginia. Originally finished in Vermillion Red with red leather upholstery, hood and tonneau cover, John McLellan and Tony Bancroft's authoritative tome `Ace Bristol Racing: A Competition History' confirms that its Stage II Bristol engine was numbered as 100D709. Research has yet to confirm that the two-seater was actively raced in the USA. However, given the presence of a suitable rollover bar and its long sojourn in storage, some form of past competition activity seems likely.

 

Recorded as belonging to prominent AC aficionado Morgan Smith of Wayne, Pennsylvania in 1980, the Ace Bristol had apparently been sold to him by the famous American architect, Vince Kling, during the 1960s. Coincidentally, Kling was responsible for many of Philadelphia most notable post-WW2 buildings and went one to own the largest architectural practice in Pennsylvania. While self-evidently a restoration project there is much to recommend `BEX 373' beyond its status as an Ace Bristol. None of the minor bodywork `bumps and scrapes' would phase a skilled panel beater and indeed closer examination reveals the wheelarches to be remarkably well preserved and true.

 

Save for some small trim items such as catches, handles and badges etc, the AC seems to be pretty much complete and even boasts a hood, tonneau and sidescreens. The chassis plate appears to be held in place with its original rivets, while pleasingly the stamped number `373' is clearly visible to the hinges supporting the bonnet, boot lid and both doors. With a block date stamped as cast in 1957 and its original brass ID plaque still secured to the appropriate rocker cover, the engine is believed to be the original (though, the cylinder head - 100D517 - has obviously been replaced at some stage). Included with the lot is a windscreen and recently fabricated right-hand drive dashboard in case, during restoration, the new owner wishes to convert the car to `home market' specification (a surprisingly straightforward process).