1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68
Lot 436
1955 AC Ace Roadster Chassis no. AE68
Sold for £102,700 (US$ 125,411) inc. premium

Lot Details
1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE68 1955 AC ACE 1955 AC ACE 1955 AC ACE 1955 AC ACE 1955 AC ACE 1955 AC ACE 1955 AC ACE
1955 AC Ace Roadster
Registration no. SKT 100
Chassis no. AE68


  • 'Of them all, the Ace was the truest sports car: it could be used for daily commuting or for high-speed long-distance touring, but it could also be driven to a race meeting, campaigned with distinction, and driven home again - even if that race was the Le Mans 24 Hours.' - AC Heritage, Simon Taylor & Peter Burn.
    The success of Cliff Davis's Tojeiro sports racer prompted AC Cars to put the design into production in 1954 as the Ace. The Davis car's pretty Ferrari 166-inspired barchetta bodywork was retained, as was John Tojeiro's twin-tube ladder frame chassis and Cooper-influenced all-independent suspension, but the power unit was AC's own venerable, 2-litre, long-stroke six. This single-overhead-camshaft engine originated in 1919 and with a modest 80bhp (later 100bhp) on tap, endowed the Ace with respectable, if not outstanding, performance.
    In 1955 AC added a hardtop version - the fastback-styled Aceca - and from 1956 onwards both models became available with the more powerful Bristol 2-litre, six-cylinder engine with its ingeniously arranged, pushrod-operated inclined valves. Although taller and heavier than AC's own engine, the BMW-based Bristol was considerably more powerful thanks to its superior cylinder head design and down-draught carburettors. Up to 130bhp was available from the Bristol unit in road trim, in which form the Ace could touch 120mph (195km/h), while around 150bhp could be wrung from it for racing. The combination of a fine-handling chassis and a decent power-to-weight ratio helped the Ace to numerous successes in production sports car racing; arguably its finest achievement being a 1st-in-class and 7th overall finish at Le Mans in 1959.
    Towards the end of production the Ace was made available with the 2.6-litre overhead-valve Ford Zephyr engine installed. The first cars were converted by Ken Rudd of Ruddspeed before the factory took over. A 12-port cylinder head, developed by Raymond Mays of ERA and BRM fame, was usually fitted together with other internal modifications, in which form the Zephyr-derived unit produced 155bhp on triple SU carburettors and up to 170 horsepower on triple Webers.
    'SKT 100' was first registered on the 7th April 1955 to Mrs E Jane Waugh. The car was metallic blue with black leather interior and was fitted with AC engine, number 'UMC2133'. Mrs Waugh was an enthusiastic amateur driver and competed in the 1955 London Rally. She was also a regular participant in sprints and hill climbs, mainly those run by the Maidstone and Mid-Kent Motor Club, and competed with the car in the 1956 Hastings Rally. Jane and her husband Robert accompanied the AC team to France in the Ace for the Le Mans race of 1957, where Robert helped with the timekeeping and Jane the catering. Jane was to return to Le Mans in 1959 with her Rudd Racing-entered Ace Bristol, which was driven to that magnificent 7th place overall by Ted Whiteway and John Turner, winning its class. Little is known of the car's history following its sale by the Waughs but Jane believed it was used for sand racing.
    In the early 1970s the Ace was purchased by Roger Wright as a restoration project. At first he refitted the AC engine to the car but was frustrated by its lack of power. By the mid-1980s Roger had replaced the AC unit with a BMW 3-litre engine. He and his son Richard competed with the car extensively in local sprints and hill climbs in the 1970s and '80s, by which time it had also acquired Cobra wheelarches and wishbones.
    In 2001, Richard Wright removed the BMW engine and replaced it with a Triumph 2.5-litre unit that had been extensively modified by Racetorations. Richard used the Ace in this form for a number of sprints and hill climbs. Subsequently the car was owned briefly by Ken Hawes from whom it was purchased in 2006 by the current vendor, who immediately had the body and suspension returned to the original Ace specification by Nigel Winchester. He then competed in the VSCC Pomeroy Trophy and ACOC sprint using Triumph power, but wanted to take part in historic racing and took the decision to fit a Ford Zephyr unit.
    Greg Margret of Competition Engine Services built up the engine, which is fitted with a Raymond Mays cylinder head and triple Weber 45DCOE carburettors. The cam fitted is 'fast road/race' and the Ace is very tractable on the road. The car has been tuned over the intervening years and now has a period Ford four-speed gearbox and upgraded clutch and oil cooler. To aid cooling an alloy radiator is fitted and the car runs at normal temperature under all conditions. The suspension has been modified with the addition of an additional leaf in the front spring and stiffened rear, while period-correct adjustable shock absorbers have been fitted together with an up-rated anti-roll bar but retaining all original features, none of which detracts from the ride on the road. Steering is original worm and peg and is delightfully responsive. Other noteworthy features include twin fuel pumps, electric isolator, fire extinguisher, roll cage, aero screen and racing tonneau cover.
    The engine was rebuilt for the 2011 season and has done five races. It is reported to be in excellent condition and running well. A new clutch was fitted in September and has done one race.
    In its current form the Ace has been raced extensively by the vendor with the Aston Martin Owners Club in the '50s sports car team series (winning it in 2009), VSCC in pre-'61 sports/GT, BRDC and MG Live sports car races. This year it has contested the prestigious Pre-'63 GT series which comprised races at the Donington and Silverstone Classics, Dijon L'Age d'Or and Spa 6-Hour meetings.
    Offered with sundry invoices, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5, 'SKT 100' represents an exciting opportunity to acquire a well sorted AC Ace embodying all the virtues associated with this most charismatic marque. Very well known in AC circles and used regularly on the school run (!), it is also Mille Miglia eligible if fitted with an AC engine.
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  1. Tim Schofield
    Auction administration - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
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