1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT

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Lot 614
1958 AC Ace Roadster
Registration no. AFT 900 Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT

Sold for £ 180,700 (US$ 246,553) inc. premium
1958 AC Ace Roadster
Registration no. AFT 900
Chassis no. AE414
Engine no. CLBN2497WT
• A landmark model in its earliest form
• Original AC-engined car
• Restored in the 1990s
• Engine rebuilt 2008
• Acquired in 2010

'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.

An influential and widely imitated design, the AC Ace (and its Cobra derivative) could trace its origins back to a one-off sports-racer built by chassis engineer John Tojeiro for Cliff Davis in 1952. The success of Davis' Tojeiro sports-racer prompted AC Cars to acquire the rights to the design, which was put into production in 1954 as the Ace. The Davis car's pretty Ferrari 166-inspired barchetta bodywork was retained, as was Tojeiro's twin-tube ladder frame chassis and Cooper-influenced all-independent suspension, but the power unit was AC's own venerable, 2.0-litre, long-stroke six. Designed by AC co-founder John Weller, this overhead-camshaft engine had originated in 1919, and with a modest 80bhp (later 100bhp) on tap, endowed the Ace with respectable, if not outstanding, performance. Nevertheless, in tuned form the Ace enjoyed great success in production sports car racing, winning its class at the Le Mans 24-Hour Race in 1959 and finishing a magnificent 7th overall. In 1955 AC added a hardtop version - the fastback-styled Aceca - and both models later became available with the more powerful Bristol engine before production ceased in 1963. Towards the end of production the Ace was also available with the 2.6-litre overhead-valve Ford Zephyr engine installed. With 463 built out of a total production of 726, Bristol-engined examples are the most numerous, followed by the AC-engined cars (226) and then Ford (37).

This AC-engined Ace was previously in the long-term ownership of Mr Robert 'Bob' Standbridge of Poole, Dorset, who appears to have owned it since the mid 1980s. A member of the AC Owners' Club, Mr Standbridge had raced his first Ace ('AE34') during the mid 1950s at Goodwood and elsewhere. Purchased by Robert from Mrs Standbridge in February 2010 (receipt on file), the car comes with a most substantial history file compiled by the obviously very thorough Mr Standbridge. This file (perusal highly recommended) includes an original instruction manual, a large quantity of AC-related literature, and an illustrated report of this Ace's participation in the RAC Euro Classic Rally in September 1993. The grille badge for the 47th Rallye Internationale des Alpes Historique 2003 is also worthy of note. There are also numerous invoices on file relating to the Ace's restoration and ongoing maintenance, which has included two engine rebuilds: the first undertaken by TT Workshops of Westbury, Wiltshire in April 1998, and the second by marque specialist Rod Briggs of Somerton, Somerset in 2008.

In September 2015, 'AFT 900' was despatched to Malton Coachworks for a mechanical assessment and roadworthiness overhaul. A full brake service, including rebuilding all the wheel cylinders and replacement of the brake linings, was carried out together with a general engine service (replacement of spark plugs, and an oil and filter change). Various minor issues were addressed also, and the car successfully completed an MoT test (it is now exempt). A design classic in its earliest and purest form, this beautiful AC Ace is offered with the aforementioned history file and a V5C Registration Certificate.

Saleroom notices

  • Since the sale catalogue went to press we have been contacted by a gentleman whose late father bought 'AFT 900' around 1963. An AC fan who had owned two AC 2-Litre saloons and an AC Royale, he absolutely loved the Dragonfly Blue Ace, and spent most evenings in his garage tinkering with it; it was immaculate. When the owner died in 1968, the AC was sold to Swanmore Garages in Bournemouth for £800. The engine number plaque is stamped CL2339WT.
Contacts
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
1958 AC Ace Roadster  Chassis no. AE414 Engine no. CLBN2497WT
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