1963 AC Ace 2.6 Roadster

AC Ace Project Car 3

This is all that remains of the 1963 AC Ace 2.6 chassis #RS5032, it is now offered for sale as a restoration project, although it is an ambitious restoration candidate that will require a quantity important work.

The AC Ace is a car you may not have encountered before, but it formed the basis of one of the most famous sports cars of all time – the Shelby Cobra. Carroll Shelby bought unpowered AC Aces and had them shipped to the United States where he installed Ford V8s.

Fast Facts – The AC Ace 2.6

  • The AC Ace first appeared in 1953 and was sold until 1963. The car is best known for being the platform chosen by Carroll Shelby to build his Shelby Cobra (also called AC Cobra), but the ‘Ace was a successful sports car in its own right.
  • The AC Ace was developed by influential automotive designer John Tojeiro, it has a lightweight aluminum alloy body, independent front and rear suspension, and it performed well in period competitions, winning its class at the Mans in 1959.
  • A number of different engines were offered over the Ace’s lifespan, starting with the 2.0-liter AC inline-six producing 100 hp. This was followed by the Bristol straight-six producing 120 bhp and the Ford Zephyr straight-six producing up to 170 bhp.
  • Today, the AC Ace remains a popular classic, though it will likely always be considerably less famous than its American V8-powered cousin built by Shelby and his team.

AC cars

AC Cars was originally founded as Auto Carriers Ltd in West Norwood, London in 1901. The company offered a number of closed and open top cars from 1903, starting with the AC 20HP Touring.

Description of the imageThis is a page from a vintage brochure for the AC Ace, showing what the car looks like when fully assembled. Image courtesy of AC Cars.

AC had some early success in the early years of the automobile, but by the late 1920s they were in trouble and the stock market crash of 1929 spelled the end of the company. Car production resumed in 1932 with a new range of cars, less than 100 of them were produced each year.

During World War II the factory was 100% focused on war production and therefore no cars were made. In the years immediately following World War II, the company introduced the Thundersley Invacar Type 57, referred to as an “invalid car” because it was designed to restore mobility to people injured in war.

The ace of CA

The AC Ace was introduced in 1953, it was a small, lightweight sports car with an aluminum body, tubular steel ladder frame chassis, independent front and rear suspension and a 2. 0 liters of 100 hp mounted at the front.

Later engines would offer more power and speed, culminating in the 2.6-liter Ford Zephyr straight-six producing up to 170 bhp.

AC Ace 15 project car

Description of the imageIt is important to note that the parts shown here are not all that are left, there is also an engine, gearbox, differential and a number of other body parts.

The business passed through many hands over the following decades, impressively the company is still in production today, building and selling the AC Cobra Series 1 Electric – a 100% battery-electric car based on the design of the AC Ace.

The AC Ace project car shown here

The car you see here is probably the most ambitious restoration candidate we have ever shown on Silodrome.

Interestingly, the listing explains that the original chassis was scrapped due to an unfortunate sequence of events – but it doesn’t offer more information on what exactly happened.

The good news is that the original engine, gearbox, differential, hood, trunk, doors, dashboard, keys, hardtop and seats remain, plus many significant internal body panels.

A new chassis will of course be required along with a number of other new parts, and it will be interesting to see how much the lot will sell for when it clears the auction block.

If you’re up for the challenge, you can click here to visit the list on H&H Classics. The car is due to be donated on March 16 to the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England.

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Images courtesy of H&H Classics

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