1960 AC Aceca-Bristol
$225,000 - $275,000
RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 28 - 29 JANUARY 2016 - Offered on Thursday
- Very rare hand-built LHD coupe sibling of the AC Ace
- Original, factory-installed, BMW-derived Bristol engine in more powerful D2 tune
- Excellent condition and ready for touring or concours competition
125 bhp, 1,971 cc D2-specification Bristol six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission with Laycock de Normanville overdrive, independent front and rear suspension with lower A-arms and upper transverse semi-elliptical leaf springs, and front-disc and rear-drum brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.
At the 1954 London Motor Show, AC debuted the Aceca, an attractive closed variant of their popular Ace Roadster. As would be expected from a coupe, the new model had a greater degree of refinement and sophistication, and passenger comfort was made a design priority. The chassis-mounted rear differential utilized rubber bushings, which reduced the amount of noise, vibration, and harshness transferred from the road to the car’s interior. In addition, the hand-built aluminum bodywork now included a bulkhead of sound-absorbing fiberglass between the engine and the passenger compartment. Nonetheless, this was no “softie,” and with fully independent suspension and a six-cylinder engine, the Aceca provided remarkable handling and spirited performance.
This was never truer than in the Aceca-Bristol, a new special model that was made available beginning in 1956. The Aceca-Bristol was powered by a 1,971–cubic centimeter, six-cylinder Bristol engine, which was based on the famous pre-war BMW 328 mill that had hemispherical combustion chambers and an inclined valve train. Its greater performance unlocked the true potential of the chassis beneath, and the Aceca-Bristol would be a powerhouse in competition, as well as a favorite of period road tests, many of which noted that most amateur drivers would run out of skill before approaching the Aceca-Bristol’s own limits.
The rare original left-hand-drive Aceca-Bristol was imported to Los Angeles in 1960 by Worldwide Automotive Imports, having been ordered by its first owner to the specifications of the SCCA E/Production class-winning Ace-Bristol, including the desirable higher-performance Bristol D2 engine, Laycock de Normanville overdrive (adding two additional gears to the already satisfying four-speed transmission), a racing-quality oil cooler for reliability, and front disc brakes to enhance the car’s handling.
Chassis number BEX 766 was completely restored, including a full engine rebuild, in 2002–2003 by Classic European Restorations in Oceanside, California, including being repainted in its original grey finish with grey leather upholstery and wool carpeting. Between 2006 and 2009, Kevin Kay Restorations replaced the interior wood veneer and sorted various finish and accessory details, including completion of the tool kit. Receipts since that time indicate detail work and servicing to maintain the car in top driving condition. Appropriately, the car has center-lock AC-style 15-inch chrome wire wheels that set off the subtle grey finish.
As presented here, this Bristol D2-engined Aceca is ready to be driven for enjoyment on organized long-distance tours or presented for inspection at invitational concours d’elegance, wherever the unique style of this high-performance AC is appreciated.