Battersea Evolution
31 October 2012
Lot 139

1954 AC Ace


£128,800 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
AE 68
Addendum: Please note the estimate for this lot should read £125,000 to £150,000.

173 hp, 2,553 cc Rudd-Ford six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear independent suspension with double wishbones and transverse rear leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.

• Fully-sorted and fitted with a 2.6-litre Rudd-Ford speed engine

• Known ownership and racing history from new

• Mechanical and cosmetic restoration in 2004

• Eligible for vintage racing events throughout the world

Auto Carriers began life as a builder of little three-wheeled commercial vehicles prior to the First World War. The factory was located in Thames Ditton, outside London in Surrey. The company introduced its first car, the A.C. Six, in 1919, equipped with a two-litre wet liner overhead cam engine. The name was changed to A.C. Cars Ltd. in 1921; all the while, the firm developing its racing successes.

AC surprised the motoring world in 1953 by announcing its new Ace sports car. Although the car retained the company’s Bristol-BMW-derived 1,991-cubic centimetre engine, the motor was now tuned to 85 horsepower. The chassis and coachwork were startlingly modern with styling and design by John Tejeiro; his inspiration, no doubt, coming from the contemporary Ferrari Barchetta. This was a classic post-war English roadster: all-independent suspension, a spartan leather upholstered cockpit, full instrumentation, four-speed gearbox, and in English tradition, minimal weather protection. The Ace offered excellent performance: 160-plus km/h and a 0–97 km/h time of 11.5 seconds.

This Ace was first registered on 7th April 1955, having been sold to Jane Waugh. She was so impressed that she ordered the car at the Motor Show in light metallic blue with a black interior after meeting the chassis designer. She was an enthusiastic race driver who was quite active with the AC team. She competed in numerous rallies, including the 1955 London Rally. Mrs Waugh sold the Ace in 1955 to a garage named Rootes Limited, replacing it with another Ace later driven by Ted Whiteway and John Turner to 7th place at Le Mans in 1959. Rootes Limited, of Maidstone, Kent, sold the car to Gordon Webb, also living in Kent. He did some repairs to the car, selling it for £230. It was sold again in 1972 to Roger Keith Wright, who purchased the car on 25th June 1972 for £120. Although the name on the title changed, the Ace remained in the same family for the last thirty years, where it has been used and raced extensively.

In 2004, the Ace was subjected to a sympathetic mechanical and cosmetic restoration. One year ago, the body was taken down to the bare metal and re-sprayed the light blue colour as delivered. The mechanicals have been completely overhauled, and the 2.6-litre Rudd-Ford speed engine was installed in late-2008. It has been rebuilt, blueprinted, and subsequently used on race tracks, where it was found to be an outstanding performer. Furthermore, a new clutch was installed in 2011, resulting in what the owner describes as “an amazing car” that is possibly the best possible specification AC, with the current Rudd speed engine having been made available from the factory in the Ace in 1961.

This car comes complete with its original instruction manual, as well as an impressive history file starting with the first owner. This is an incredible opportunity to acquire a well-sorted right-hand drive Ace that is eligible for vintage racing events the world over, including the Mille Miglia, if fitted with a two-litre AC engine.