The Shelby Cobra is a much-celebrated sportscar and deservedly so. But the AC Ace — the little English sportscars upon which the Cobra was based – is no slouch either. With C, D and E-Production National Championships in the SCCA, as well as a class win at Le Mans, the Ace was quite the performer even without Ford V8 power.
The roadster version of the Ace was introduced at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1953, while the coupe version, called the Aceca, debuted the following year. Comfortable and quick as well as beautiful, it was referred to by the motoring press as “the fastest safe car in the world.” ACs of this period came standard with the old AC “Light Six” engine, but the much more desirable option was the 1971 cc Bristol straight-six. Some of the rarest Aces of all were fixed roof Acecas with Bristol power.
Just 169 examples were built and this AC Aceca-Bristol, for sale through RM Auctions, is one of them.
It was owned at one time by Tom Hickey, a sports car and motorcycle racer from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Hickey eventually sent the car to the AC factory in Thames-Ditton for refurbishing, and it remains in that same condition today. Lightly used, it shows some age but is an honest, very presentable example that is highly collectible as well.
Cobras have been commanding sky-high prices for years now, but the Ace, which will probably always live in the Shelby Cobra’s shadow, has taken a bit longer to gain much respect. Now, though, genuine Aces and Acecas are well into six figure territory.
This AC Aceca-Bristol for sale through RM Auctions, will cross the block at RM’s Hershey sale on October 9, 2014. It has a pre-sale estimate of $175,000-$250,000. With Aces going for that kind of money and with good 289 Sunbeam Tigers bringing $100,000 or more, it looks like there’s no such thing anymore as a “poor man’s Cobra.”