Hershey

Hershey Lodge
9 - 10 October 2014
Lot 139

1958 AC Aceca-Bristol

Offered from the collection of John Moir

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$214,500 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania

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Chassis No.
BEX 678
Engine No.
859 D2
  • Offered from the collection of John Moir
  • The rarest Bristol-powered AC variant; one of 169 built
  • Formerly owned by Peter Winston and Tom Hickey
  • Believed to be only three owners from new; original engine
  • Well known and respected in New England British sports car circles
language

125 bhp, 1,971 cc D2-specification Bristol six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, independent front and rear suspension with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, and front disc and rear drum hydraulic 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 Aceca-Bristol offered here has its original Bristol engine, the number of which matches the car’s original firewall tag. According to Mr. Moir, the car’s original owner was Peter Winston, the son of renowned New York City jeweler Harry Winston. Young Mr. Winston had used the car as an everyday driver in Manhattan for some years, after which he sold it through an acquaintance to Tom Hickey, a well-known motorcycle and sports car racer from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Mr. Hickey proceeded to send the Aceca-Bristol back to AC Cars in Thames-Ditton, where it was totally refurbished to its original condition by the factory that had built it new! Upon its return stateside, the proud owner displayed the car at various New England sports car events, where it was very popular and became well known as one of the finest Aceca-Bristols in the world. Only when Mr. Hickey was stricken with a tragic illness did he sell his pet to perhaps the most avid of its many admirers, John Moir. It has remained a great favorite in the Moir Collection ever since.

The last three decades have left the car with a wonderful, rich “patina,” a term often overused but well applied here. The red leather interior has softened and been broken-in gently, and it is as comfortable as it appears. The dashboard instruments and interior trim are still in beautiful condition throughout, and the black finish, which has only the lightest of wear, is still in good condition; it will polish out well for local shows or continued driving. Overall, the car is best described as resembling what a well-kept, gently driven Aceca-Bristol would have looked like in 1968.

Even today, many New England sports car enthusiasts have fond memories of the gentlemanly Tom Hickey and his outstanding Aceca-Bristol. It has not been offered for public sale in decades, marking its availability here a rare opportunity to purchase the car and begin driving it enthusiastically, in the tradition of its three loving caretakers.