The AC Ace Sports Car was one of the classic sports cars of the post World War Two era. The car had all independent suspension, full instrumentation and a four speed gear box. From 1953 to 1973, AC manufactured race cars with very good results on the track.
1955 AC Ace
The 1955 AC car featured in this article is a fully rebuilt version with some modification. This model of AC automobile could reach speeds of 100 MPH plus and go from zero to 60 MPH in 11.5 seconds by means of it’s 2-litre, long-stroke six engine. This was pretty good performance at that time. The car competed quite well in auto racing events both in Europe and North America.
The AC Ace frame consisted of two large diameter steel tubes with heavy cross-members front, center, and rear. Narrow diameter tubes are used to support the all-aluminum body.
The 1955 AC Ace had an overall outside length of 148.8 inches and a width of 59,4 inches. The car’s wheelbase was 90.0 inches.
The U.S. model of the 1955 AC Ace obtained just under 28 MPG.
Carroll Shelby and the AC Ace
If you talk about the storied past of AC cars on the racing circuit, you have to mention Carroll Shelby’s connection with the AC.
Carroll Shelby’s most famous AC cars were the 1962 and 1963 AC Cobras. In the U.S. the car was sold as the Ford/Shelby AC Cobra. The vehicle only weighed 2,100 lbs and had a 260 horsepower engine connected to a four speed transmission. This combination allowed for a top speed of a whopping 140 mph.
In 1963 a Ford 271 hp, 289 cubic inch V-8 engine was added. When the engine was modified for racing it produced some 307 horsepower. With modifications to the car’s frame, the Shelby Cobra was a light weight racer being able to accommodate bigger and bigger engines. The 1965 Shelby Cobra, after new modifications to the frame, suspension and fenders, and with wider wheels, used a 510 horsepower, 427 cubic inch V-8.
A Brief History of Auto Carrier Ltd
The story of AC as an automaker is quite interesting. It’s roots go back all the way to 1901 when it’s business was set up in a small workshop. AC is considered by many to be Britain’s oldest auto manufacturer. The company was then named Autocar & Accessories Limited and produced a commercial vehicle known as the Auto Carrier.
The Auto Carrier met with a good deal of success and in 1907 a passenger-carrying version of the Auto Carrier was produced, known as the AC Sociable. The AC Sociable had a practical design that ensured its production until 1915. The abbreviation AC was used for the first time in 1907 and a new company was formed called Auto Carriers Ltd. This replaced Autocar & Accessories.
In 1922 the company’s name was changed once again, this time to AC Cars Ltd. In 1927 the company was reregistered as AC (Acedes) Ltd.
The company was liquidated after the stock market crash of 1929. It’s assets were then acquired by the Hurlock family who decided to abandon the factory and not produce new vehicles but kept open the servicing centers. A few years later the board of directors were convinced that there was a market for specialized hand made cars and limited production resumed. In 1937, arrangements were made for exports to the United States.
The outbreak of World War Two ended all production of AC cars. All factory capacity was turned over for the war effort. Production came slowly after the war. As an example, during the year 1950, five cars per week were built of the two liter model.
The AC Ace two seater sports car was introduced in 1953 and was received with enthusiasm especially with the racing public. The AC Ace was considered by many to be a race car that you could just as well use for everyday driving. It was said you could drive it to the racing venue, race the car, and then drive it back home.
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Collector’s Values for the AC Ace Sports Car
Original AC Ace sports cars are very popular collector’s cars. A 1955 AC Ace Roadster in fine condition sold for just north of $140,000 in 2012. An average value for the 1955 model based on sales appears to be somewhere between $140,000 to $150,000 with one price topping $180,000. In addition to the model year, the car’s condition and type of engine included are of course big determiners of price. Another determiner of sales price is how much someone at any given time wants to own the car.
A 1956 AC Ace sold for $156,000.
1963 AC Ace cars sold for an average of about $280,000.
Obviously the AC Ace first generation sports cars are popular and command relatively high prices when they do come on the market.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)