Monday 22nd July 2019,

AC Aceca 1954-1963: Car That Should Have Been The AC Cobra

AC Aceca 1954-1963 black racing circuit
AC Cars were very busy, producing variations on a theme, or more accurately, three cars with the same basic design. The AC Ace preceded this chapter and the AC Greyhound will follow it. The AC Aceca was launched a year after the Ace and was even more attractive. It was a fixed-head coupe with a beautifully sculptured roof-line, terminating in a hatchback tailgate. A perfect example of a luxury British Grand Touring car.

Some years later Shelby produced the Cobra Coupe which should have been as lovely as the Aceca, having sprung from the same source, but it was an ugly brute by comparison.

Though a little heavier than the Ace, the AC Aceca would have made a better base for the Cobra. Perhaps the aerodynamic problems intrinsic to open cars were unknown in 1962 when Shelby chose to develop the Ace sports-car into the high-performance Cobra.

Although mechanically identical to the Ace, the Aceca was aimed at a different market. It was designed and destined to compete successfully with Aston-Martin and Bristol. It was, of course, a lot quieter and warmer than the Ace, though not overly so. At least the driver stayed dry and his wife didn`t need to wear a scarf over her hair!

Body and Chassis:

The body was built on the Tojeiro tubular-steel chassis with aluminium bodywork on the familiar ash-timber frame. Transverse-leaf independent suspension front and rear with a de Dion rear axle ensured good handling. Disc brakes were optional from 1957 and overdrive was standard on the 4 speed gearbox from 1956. 16 inch wire wheels were fitted as standard.

Performance Specs:

Like the AC Ace, the Aceca started life with the same engine & transmission combination. The AC Weller 1991cc engine, later replaced by the Bristol (BMW) 1971cc in 1956. This engine produced 20 bhp and 14 mph more than the Weller unit. The Aceca-Bristol was 4 seconds quicker from 0-60 than the Weller powered Aceca. The Bristol engine had an alloy head and iron crankcase. Triple Solex carburetors guaranteed acceleration.

In 1962 Ken Rudd of `Ruddspeed` in conjunction with Raymond Mays, of BRM, produced a lighter, more powerful version of the Ford Zodiac 2.6 litre (2553cc) engine. Mays engineered a new alloy cylinder-head to sit on the iron crank case. This cylinder head was very advanced for the time. The triple Weber side-draughts or triple SU carburation made it hard to catch for other cars in it`s class. Sadly it fell victim to `the Cobra frenzy` at AC in 1963 and was discontinued.

AC made 151 AC engined cars, 169 Aceca-Bristols and only 8 Aceca-Ford 2.6 cars. Total production of the AC Aceca was thus 328 units. For classic car collector purposes the Ford Zodiac engined AC Aceca is the most sought after version and the most difficult to find. However, all the variants are rare classic cars now, due to the conversion of so many examples to Cobra spec.

AC Aceca 1954-1963 Specs
Body Type2 seater fixed head coupe
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
FrontDrum/Discs (Opt.)
Cargo VolumeQuite a bit more than the Ace
Engine2 Litre SOHC 12V Weller (1953-1956)
Cylindersstraight 6
Displacement1991 cc121.5 cui
Power76 Kw102 bhp5000 RPM
Torque163 Nm120 ft. lb3000 RPM
Power/weight115 bhp/t
Top Speed164 km/h102 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph13.4 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual
Weight890 kg1962 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/weight124 bhp/t
Top Speed193 km/h120 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph9.4 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive (Opt.)
Weight965 kg2127 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/weight159 bhp/t
Top Speed193 km/h120 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph7.6 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive (Opt.)
Weight965 kg2127 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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