This is all that remains of 1963 AC Ace 2.6 chassis #RS5032, it’s now being offered for sale as a restoration project, albeit an ambitious restoration candidate that will require a substantial amount of work.

The AC Ace is a car that you may never have encountered before but it formed the foundation of one of the most famous sports cars of all time – the Shelby Cobra. Carroll Shelby bought engineless AC Aces and had them shipped to the USA where he fitted Ford V8s to them.

Fast Facts – The AC Ace 2.6

  • The AC Ace first appeared in 1953 and it was sold until 1963. The car is most famous for being the platform chosen by Carroll Shelby to build his Shelby Cobra (also called the AC Cobra ), but the Ace was a successful sports car in its own right.
  • The AC Ace was developed by influential car designer John Tojeiro, it has a lightweight aluminum alloy body, independent front and rear suspension, and it performed well in period competition, winning its class at Le Mans in 1959.
  • A number of different engines were offered over the production life of the Ace, starting with the 2.0 liter AC straight six producing 100 bhp. 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 probably always be considerably less famous than its V8-engined American 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 both closed and open top cars from 1903 onwards, starting with the AC 20 HP Touring.

AC Ace Car

Image DescriptionThis is a page from a period brochure for the AC Ace, showing what the car looks like when it’s fully assembled. Image courtesy of AC Cars.

AC enjoyed some early successes in the early years of the automobile but by the late 1920s they were struggling, and the market crash of 1929 was the death knell for the company. Car production started again in 1932 with a new range of cars, they fewer than 100 were produced each year.

During WWII the factory was 100% focused on war production and so no cars were made. In the years immediately after WWII the company introduced the Thundersley Invacar Type 57, it was called an “invalid carriage” as it was designed to give mobility back to people who had been injured in the war.

The AC Ace

The AC Ace was introduced in 1953, it was a small, lightweight sports car with an aluminum body, a tubular steel ladder frame chassis, independent front and rear suspension, and a front-mounted 2.0 liter 100 bhp AC engine.

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 Project Car 15

Image DescriptionIt’s important to note that the parts shown here aren’t all that remains, there is also an engine, gearbox, differential, and a number of other body parts.

The company passed through a number of 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 single most ambitious restoration candidate we’ve ever shown on Silodrome.

Interestingly the listing explains that the original chassis was scrapped due to an unfortunate sequence of events – but if offers no more information as to exactly what happened.

The good news is that the original engine, gearbox, differential, bonnet, boot, doors, dashboard, keys, hardtop, and seats all remain, as well as many important internal body panels.

A new chassis will be required of course as well as a number of other new parts, and it’ll be interesting to see what the lot sells for when it crosses the auction block.

If you’re up for the challenge you can click here to visit the listing on H&H Classics. The car is due to be offered on the 16th of March at the Imperial War Museum, in Duxford, England.

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Images courtesy of H&H Classics

Published by Ben Branch -