A.C. has a long tradition of building sporting motorcars, dating back to the early 1920s. The company’s roots go back to 1908 as Auto Carriers, where they produced motorized vehicles for tradesmen and delivery purposes. In 1921, new management arrived and A.C. Cars Ltd was founded, with great emphasis put on racing and record breaking in order to build the brand. Success came quickly with the first British victory in the 1926 Monte Carlo rally. Production of various sporting saloons and touring cars trickled on through WWII, when the works produced a variety of wartime products, making a very handy profit along the way. In the early 1950s, with saloon sales dwindling, A.C.’s owners decided a new direction was needed. They partnered with a young designer named John Tojeiro who was making a name for himself in sports car racing with his tubular framed, alloy skinned race cars. Tojeiro was brought on board to design a new sports car that utilized A.C.’s own inline six, as well as the Bristol-sourced 2.0 liter inline six. The Ace roadster was first shown at the 1953 Earls Court Motor Show with production versions arriving one year later. In 1955 the pretty Ace roadster was joined by the two-seat fixed-head Aceca coupe. The beautiful coupe, like the roadster, could be optioned with either the AC or Bristol engine and it proved a worthy competitor in amateur GT racing. Production of the Aceca was very low, however, with just 349 built over a nine-year period before A.C. shifted focus to their most famous car to date, the sensational Cobra.
This striking AC Aceca coupe is one of just 48 built in 1959 and is one of just a handful originally equipped with the A.C. inline-six cylinder engine. It is a handsome car that has been carefully prepared for event use, while still remaining in beautiful show-worthy condition and entirely streetable. The paintwork pays homage to the famous Ecurie Ecosse team livery, with its rich blue accented by a white band around the bonnet and white roundels on the doors. Paint quality is excellent, particularly for a rally car, and the detailing is outstanding. Brightwork is limited to bumpererettes, window trim and lamps, all of which appears in very good order. The car sits purposefully on a set of wide-rim 72 spoke wire wheels, painted in dark gray as would be appropriate for a racing car of the period. Proper black wall tires give the right look and allow the brilliant handling of the Tojeiro chassis to shine through. Side exiting exhaust and a huge, polished Monza-style fuel filler completes the look.
The cabin follows closely with original, having been restored to a high standard while incorporating the necessary safety features for serious rallying. Safety enhancements include a subtly integrated roll cage with side-entry bars, period seats with four-point harnesses, on board fire suppression system and regulation exterior electrical shut-offs. All of the modifications have been done with a subtle, period correct feel that does not detract from the appealing beauty of the Aceca. The seats are trimmed in red leather and red panels line the interior and cargo hatch. Carpeting is limited to the central tunnel, with bare alloy floors lending a purposeful feel. A beautiful three spoke wood wheel faces original instruments, and a series of additional dials keeping watch on all vital functions. As with the exterior, the interior is purposeful, beautifully crafted and ready for sporting duty.
A.C.s inline six may date back to the 1920s, but it was a remarkably versatile engine that produced over 100 horsepower in standard trim by 1959, and remained in production until 1963. This example has been carefully uprated for rally duty with a trio of big S.U. carburetors outfitted with velocity stacks along with an alloy radiator, electric fans, an alternator, and gorgeous custom tuned exhaust headers. Performance is outstanding and the engine sounds positively glorious breathing through those big carbs and the raspy exhaust.
Not only is this a proven and exceptional event car, having competed at the 2015 Copperstate 1000, (among other events) it has also been shown at prestigious concours such as the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s. This rare and beautifully restored A.C. Aceca is a magnificent all-rounder that is ready for enjoyment.