AC Ace

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This article is about AC Ace (1953-1963). For AC Ace (1993-2000), see AC Brooklands Ace.
AC Ace
AC Ace.jpg
1953-1963 AC Ace
Overview
Manufacturer AC Cars
Production 1953–1963 [1]
Body and chassis
Class Roadster
Body style 2-door roadster
Related AC Aceca
AC Greyhound
AC Cobra
Powertrain
Engine 2.0 L I6 (AC)
2.0 L I6 (Bristol)
2.6 L I6 (Ford)
Transmission 4-speed manual (With overdrive available)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 90 in (2,286 mm) [2]
Length 152 in (3,861 mm)[2]
Width 59.5 in (1,511 mm) [2]
Height 49 in (1,245 mm) [2]
Curb weight 1920 lb (871 kg)
Chronology
Successor AC Cobra

AC Ace is a car which was produced by AC Cars of Thames Ditton, England from 1953 to 1963.

History[edit]

AC came back to the market after the Second World War with the staid 2-Litre range of cars in 1947, but it was with the Ace sports car of 1953 that the company really made its reputation in the post war years. Casting around for a replacement for the ageing 2-Litre, AC took up a design by John Tojeiro[2] that used a light ladder type tubular frame, all independent transverse leaf spring suspension, and an open two seater alloy body made using English wheeling machines, possibly inspired by the Ferrari Barchetta of the day.[citation needed]

Early cars used AC's elderly 100 bhp (75 kW) two-litre overhead cam straight-six engine (first seen soon after the end of the First World War), which, according to a 1954 road test by Motor magazine, gave a top speed of 103 mph (166 km/h) and 0–60 mph (0–100 km/h) in 11.4 seconds and a fuel consumption of 25.2 miles per imperial gallon (11.2 L/100 km; 21.0 mpg-US).[2] It was hardly a sporting engine, however,[citation needed] and it was felt that something more modern and powerful was required to put the modern chassis to good use.

Joining the Ace in 1954 was the Aceca hard top coupé, which had an early form of hatchback rear door but used the same basic timber framed alloy body.

From 1956, there was the option of Bristol Cars' two-litre 120 bhp (89 kW) straight-six with 3 downdraught carburettors and slick four-speed gearbox. Top speed leapt to 116 mph (187 km/h) with 0–60 mph (0–100 km/h) in the nine second bracket. Overdrive was available from 1956 and front disc brakes were an option from 1957, although they were later standardised.

1962 2.6-litre Ruddspeed-engined Ace

In 1961 a new 2.6-litre (2,553 cc (155.8 cu in)) straight-six 'Ruddspeed' option was available, adapted by Ken Rudd from the unit used in the Ford Zephyr. It used three Weber or SU carburettors and either a 'Mays' or an iron cast head. This setup boosted the car's performance further, with some versions tuned to 170 bhp (127 kW), providing a top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h) and 0–60 mph (0–100 km/h) in 8.1 seconds.[3] However, it was not long before Carroll Shelby drew AC's attention to the Cobra, so only 37 of the 2.6 models were made.[4] These Ford engined models had a smaller grille which was carried over to the Cobra.

With the engine set well back in the chassis, the Ace handled well and was successful in competition.

Motor Sport[edit]

The car raced at Le Mans in 1957 and 1958. Few cars with this provenance have survived and are extremely valuable. They can range from $100,000 or more for an unrestored car, even one in pieces, to in excess of $400,000 for a restored AC Ace.

AC Cobra[edit]

Main article: AC Cobra

When Bristol ceased building their 6-cylinder engine in 1961, AC's owner, Charles Hurlock, was approached by Carroll Shelby to use a Ford V8 in the Ace chassis, producing the AC Cobra in 1962. Production of the Ace ended the same year. The AC Cobra came in small block and later big block configurations. It was Ford's 289 that powered the winning car in the GT class at Le Mans in June 1964.[citation needed] At the time, the AC Cobra 427 was the fastest "production" car in the world.[citation needed]

AC Automotive[edit]

AC Automotive, based in Straubenhardt, Germany still builds the AC under the original name. Cars are sold in Germany, France and England with sales in Luxembourg, Holland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Belgium slated for the future. Pricing for the standard ACGT model starts at £104,400 before options.

Replicas[edit]

As with the Cobra, some AC Ace replicas have been made such as the Hawk Ace but are much rarer.

External reference[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Sedgwick & Mark Gillies, A-Z of Cars 1945-1970, Haymarket Publishing Ltd, 1986, page 7
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The AC Ace". The Motor. 1 December 1954. 
  3. ^ "AC Ace 2.6". Motorbase. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Model specs: 1961-1963 AC Ace RS 2.6". Octane. Retrieved 5 July 2012.