The ex-London Motor Show, Donald Campbell,1954 AC Aceca-Bristol Coupe  Chassis no. AEC56 Engine no. 100B2

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Lot 514
The ex-London Motor Show, Donald Campbell, 1954 AC Aceca-Bristol Coupe
Registration no. VPL 441 Chassis no. AEC56 Engine no. 100B2

Sold for £ 31,625 (US$ 38,171) inc. premium
The ex-London Motor Show, Donald Campbell
1954 AC Aceca-Bristol Coupe
Registration no. VPL 441
Chassis no. AEC56
Engine no. 100B2
The success of Cliff Davis' 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 overhead-camshaft engine originated in 1919, and with a modest 80bhp (later 100bhp) on tap, endowed the Ace with respectable, if not outstanding, performance. A hardtop version - the fastback-styled Aceca - arrived in 1955, and the following year the more-powerful (up to 130bhp) Bristol six-cylinder engine became available. Thus equipped the Ace/Aceca could touch 120mph, and the combination of a fine-handling chassis and a decent power-to-weight ratio made for delightful motoring.
'VPL 441', the Aceca prototype, appeared on the AC stand at the 1954 Earls Court Motor Show, and following that became the works demonstrator. The car appeared in several motoring magazines of the period, and was the subject of an Autocar roadtest published on 4th March 1955. Some time later it was sold to World Land Speed Record holder Sir Donald Campbell, who became one of the first AC owners to have his car factory-converted to Aceca Bristol specification soon after.
In 1985 'VPL 441' was re-discovered in Devon and bought by Peter Nickless, of Shropshire, who embarked on a five-year restoration project. Much of the work was undertaken by the well-known specialist firm of Scott Moncrief, who stripped and completely rebuilt the car. We are advised that the accompanying history file contains invoices totalling in excess of £30,000 for this period. The car enjoyed a measure of concours success in the early 1990s, but sadly, Peter Nickless died soon afterwards and his widow consigned 'VPL 441' to the air-conditioned environment of the Midlands Motor Museum for safekeeping.
The vehicle was sold in 2000 when the Midlands Motor Museum closed, and purchased by its late owner at Bonhams' Good Revival Sale in September 2002, prior to which date the brakes had been completely refurbished, the fuel and ignition systems overhauled and the engine tested and tuned on a rolling road. Bare-metal re-sprayed in August 2002, 'VPL 441' is now in magnificent condition: driving superbly and ready for racing, rallying, touring or simply enjoying. A fascinating piece of AC history with sound provenance, the car is offered with a most extensive history file containing, among other documents, AC Cars letter confirming Donald Campbell's ownership, numerous invoices and original old-style logbook. It is MoT'd to 9th September 2003 and has a Swansea V5 registration document.
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26% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £20,000 up to and including £700,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £700,000 up to and including £4,500,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

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