1960 AC Ace (1997)
PRICE: £144,995.00 – Open to sensible offers
Design perfection, the AC Ace needs no introduction. An incredible base that has been breathed on more and more, the foundry of some the most successful race cars in history, the AC & Shelby Cobras that still to this day rule the circuits all around the globe in classic racing, rarely troubled in hitting the front row of the grid. Every road test and review will talk endlessly of how easy and delightful the Ace handles, the Americans thought the same, it just needed a larger power unit to become super successful and they weren’t far wrong.
This is the subtle and subdued original aluminium body, which was built on ACs wooden buck. Timeless and well proportioned from every angle, even the exhaust tips sit just so, in a position where the beautiful exhaust note is radiated wonderfully around the pilot. Every last detail in how the Ace drives is almost impossible to describe. It has confidence inspiring handling, plenty of pace to keep up with modern traffic, thanks to the extremely lightweight body, whether pressing on, or cruising with the overdrive engaged, the Ace is up there with the very best cars ever manufactured.
Unlike its 1950’s and 60’s contemporaries, the Ace is a delight to drive, with plenty of space for taller drivers, a deftness to the handling that just feels as though the car is working with you as opposed to fighting against you, you will find yourself grinning from ear to ear as you delicately pick lines through corners that you would only expect to be able to attack in a much more modern and nailed down machine, the handling is truly inspirational. Rifle bolt shifting and a throttle response akin to an Alfa 105 series, it is so responsive, this is the ultimate driver’s package.
Is it a replica? No. So, why is it half the price of all of the other Aces then? Well, it is a bit of a bargain in that sense. Is it matching numbers? No, but then it couldn’t ever have been. So just what exactly is it then…
It is as registered on the V5C, an AC Ace. The chassis, body panels, engine and a vast majority of the components were built in period by AC Cars at Thames Ditton in the 60’s, but it was never assembled in the factory. The chassis, along with various other items was purchased in 1981 by a keen enthusiast that had been involved with Acs for years and set out on his mission to build an Ace. The body is all aluminium again most panels directly from AC, some being lightweight variants destined for a factory car that never was.
The powerplant as you’ll see is also an original AC Weller unit, but again it’s not the stock, slightly lacklustre lump with the steel head, no; this is apparently the only remaining alloy cylinder head of only three ever made for these engines and was raced in period by Bob 'Sideways' Staples in his racing Ace, so even the cylinder head is steeped in AC racing history. This engine was also rebuilt by well-known AC specialist John Brown Racing, with high compression pistons and a fast road camshaft, meaning that performance is quite brisk, I would say at least as fast as a Bristol engined car, quite something from the 1,991cc single overhead cam engine and testament to the quality of the build. It even has the rare factory optioned magnesium cased lightweight gearbox and smooth working overdrive for relaxed motorway cruising, every last detail has been taken into account here, this is as good as a well-built and optioned factory car.
The carpets have recently been replaced by the artisans at SM Trimming, to bring the car to the level you see today, along with the bodywork polished and the engine serviced, with any mechanical issues ironed out, so it is on the button and ready for the new custodian to just go and enjoy.
All in all, this isn’t just another replica, nor an alloy bodied high-level copy, this is an AC Ace, built with AC parts and drives beautifully. A fabulous motor car, that drives, looks, sounds and handles as well as any 1960’s car, but at a fraction of the cost. Having won plenty of awards for the quality of the build, a huge history file documenting it and an engine rebuild only 1,000 miles ago, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better mechanically sorted car, especially at this rate. We are open to part exchanges too…
TOTAL NUMBER OF PREVIOUS OWNERS: 2
TRANSMISSION: 4 speed manual
ENGINE CAPACITY: 2.0L
1991cc inline six (Weller)
Maximum speed 118 mph
Power 125 hp
Torque 123 lbs/ft
0 – 60 in 9.1 seconds
PRICE: £144,995.00 – Open to sensible offers
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