Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton
9 March 2018
Lot 182

1956 AC Ace

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$362,500 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

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Chassis No.
AEX 160
Engine No.
CL 2290 WT
  • One of approximately 191 AC-powered Aces
  • Numbers matching and beautifully presented
  • Previous long-term ownership
  • Numerous award and concours winner
language

Hoping to refresh AC's stodgy image, the Hurlock brothers bought one of John Tojeiro's Bristol-equipped specials, repainted it, and installed their own 2.0-liter OHC six-cylinder engine under the bonnet. The response from the public and journalists alike was positive. AC put the car, now called the Ace, into production in 1954 with aluminum bodies designed by Eric George Gray mounted on Tojeiro-penned tube frames. The resulting product proved to be exceptionally quick for its day, with a top speed of approximately 103 miles per hour with superb handling performance to match.

The standard production engine was the AC 2.0-liter engine, designed by AC founder John Weller, that had powered the marque's cars for the better part of 20 years. The Ace was eventually offered with two optional engines: the 2.0-liter Bristol six-cylinder first starting in 1956 and a 2.6-liter Ford 'Ruddspeed' six-cylinder from 1961. It would ultimately be produced until 1962 and has remained the signature product of the marque in the decades since, though it is perhaps most famous for its association with Carroll Shelby and the legendary Cobra.

The Ace offered here, chassis no. AEX 160, left the AC factory on 11 May 1956. It was shipped to the AC distributor in Los Angeles, California, and was sold new to Irving Davis of Beverly Hills, California. It then spent time in Switzerland before being repatriated in 1982 by its third known owner, Dr. Walter Padow of Plantation, Florida, who was to own the car for the next 33 years. Padow meticulously maintained the car and won several awards, including an AACA Grand National, during his ownership. After being fully restored in the early 1990s, the car also won First Place at the inaugural Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in 1996, among numerous other awards. After its extended tenure with Dr. Padow, the car was acquired by the current owner in 2016 and has otherwise been properly maintained.

With 23,811 miles showing at the time of cataloguing, the car is presented in the classic sports car combination of red over a black interior. It is in exceptional condition and would be a superb companion in many of the most desirable vintage races, rallies, and touring events worldwide such as the Copperstate 1000 and Colorado Grand.