Thursday, 21 December 2017

AC Ace

AC Ace

The AC Ace was a sweetly-styled British sports car. It came about thanks to John Tojeiro. He was a 'specials' builder, of some renown. AC Cars asked him to dream up something, well, special - to help transform their ageing product range into a selection fit for the Fifties. The Ferrari Barchetta was clearly a source of inspiration. Tojeiro, though, developed the theme, and stamped a British take on the Italian template. He hung the flowing contours of the Ace bodywork on a trellis-style tubular frame. That was supported on all-independent, transverse leaf-spring suspension.

Soon, AC were casting about for a suitable powerplant for Tojeiro's handiwork. Early Aces were still being fitted with AC's two-litre straight-six motor - which had first appeared just after the First World War! A replacement was definitely required. Riding to AC's rescue came 'Bristol'. The engine they supplied was still a two-litre straight-six - but it developed 120bhp, and was mated to a smooth, four-speed 'box. Top speed had now climbed to 116mph - and 0-60 arrived in less than 10s. An overdrive gear was introduced - and a set of front disc brakes was fitted. To describe the Ace as a performance car - even in 1956 - may have been to overstate it a bit. But things were definitely moving in that direction! Tojeiro had specified that the engine be located to the rear of the chassis. That - as well as its firm suspension - made the Ace a fine-handling car. It was competitive, too, at the racetracks!

So, the AC Ace was already a sound all-round package. And it was about to get even better! From '61 to '63, Aces were available with a Ford 2.6-litre straight-six - modified by Ken Rudd. 170bhp was now on tap. The Ace had always had hand-crafted aluminium bodywork ... now it had a suitably refined power-train, to match. AC Cars - based in Thames Ditton, Surrey, England - had excelled themselves. They had emerged from the Second World War - if not fighting fit - ready and able to look to the future. This they had done - in spectacular style - with the Ace. These days, this classic two-seater is highly sought-after - especially when fitted with a Bristol engine. AC Cars had made a wise move indeed, in getting together with John Tojeiro. They ended up creating one of the finest sports cars GB has ever produced!

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