Monday 20th May 2019,
Inopian

AC Ace 1953 – 1963

1952 AC started work on an all-new sports-car, the Ace. It did not, however, start as `all-new`. AC wanted a chassis that was light and strong, they turned to John Tojeiro to design it. `Toj`, as he was affectionately known, was a Portuguese-born designer who had great experience in the industry. He later went on to work for Ecurie Ecosse, making Jaguar D types go faster. During his time with AC he designed the light-weight, ladder-frame chassis for the Ace. It was constructed using 3 inch steel tube. AC used ash-timber to build the body-frame and clothed it in aluminium sheet. It was a two-seater roadster, roof-less as standard. The AC Ace had independent suspension, courtesy of transverse-leaf springs, front and rear. It looked beautiful!

We now come to the bit that was not new, the engine and transmission. The lovely old Weller 1991 cc motor was now at the end of it`s developmental life and AC were struggling to find a suitable replacement. As a `stop-gap` they fitted the Weller and kept on searching. The Weller 6 was producing 102 bhp now but the competition had caught up with it. A top speed of 102 mph and a 0-60 time of 13 seconds was no longer enough. It handled superbly but most of it`s performance came from the lack of kerbweight, it weighed-in at only 762 kg.

In 1956 AC bought in the Bristol 2 litre engine for the Ace. Designed by BMW, the 1971 cc 6-cylinder engine was a higher spec motor, rated at 120 bhp. It was equipped with triple Weber side-draught carburetors. With a top speed of 120 mph and a 0-60 time of 9 seconds it was appreciably quicker than the Weller-equipped AC Ace. A Laycock-de Normanville overdrive was offered as an option on the 4-speed gearbox. Disc brakes were an option in 1957. In 1957 and `58 AC entered the AC Ace at Le Mans.

By 1962 the supply of Bristol engines dried-up so AC chose to use the 6-cylinder Ford. The 2553 cc engine that Ford was using in the MK II Zodiac was very useful, much improved by the attentions of Ken Rudd (Ruddspeed) and Raymond Mays of BRM fame. Mays designed an alloy cylinder-head with large, polished ports. Triple SU carburetors or Weber side-draughts were fitted. It was a great improvement. Sadly only 37 cars were made before a man by the name of Carroll Shelby arrived on the scene. That, as they say, is another story!

The Ace was never intended to compete with classic luxury cars like Bristol. However, it`s performance was as good or better than most British sports-cars. A total of 689 wonderful AC Aces were built.

AC Ace 1953-1963 Specs
 
 
Body Type2 seater roadster
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Brakes
FrontDrum/Discs (Opt.)
RearDrum
Dimensionsmminches
Length3848151.5
Width151159.5
Height124549
Wheelbase228690
Cargo VolumeMore than one would think
Engine2 Litre SOHC 12V Weller (1953-1956)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement1991 cc121.5 cui
Power76 Kw102 bhp5000 RPM
Torque163 Nm120 ft. lb3000 RPM
Power/weight134 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed164 km/h102 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph13 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban11.624.4
Extra-urban8.632.8
Combined9.330.4
Gearbox4 speed manual
Weight762 kg1680 lb
Engine2.0 Bristol 12V OHV Hemispherical (1956-1962)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement1971 cc120.3 cui
Power89 Kw120 bhp5700 RPM
Torque165 Nm122 ft. lb4500 RPM
Power/weight147 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed193 km/h120 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph9 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban12.822.1
Extra-urban9.729.1
Combined10.327.4
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive (Opt.)
Weight815 kg1797 lb
Engine2.6 Ford OHV 12V Rudspeed (1961-1963)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement2553 cc155.8 cui
Power114 Kw153 bhp5500 RPM
Torque251 Nm185 ft. lb4000 RPM
Power/weight167 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed193 km/h120 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph7.2 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban14.619.3
Extra-urban10.128
Combined11.424.8
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive (Opt.)
Weight915 kg2017 lb
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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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