Why We Like It

Derived from the swift and popular Ace roadster, the sleek Aceca coupe was shown on the AC stand at the 1954 London Motor Show and proved that fast sports cars need not be uncomfortable. It also confirmed the excellent basic design of the Ace, itself rooted in John Tojeiro’s early and very successful racing specials, culminating in Carroll Shelby’s V8 Cobra derivatives of the 1960s. Little, if any, performance penalty was exacted by the closed Aceca, with its lightweight aluminum body and quality appointments. To drive an Ace or Aceca is a joy, even by today’s standards, with fully-independent suspension and hand built construction. Power sources were sixes across the board, including AC’s venerable OHC unit, Bristol’s BMW 328-derived engine, and the 2.6L Ford. Since AC was not a volume-type manufacturer, production numbers for the Aceca are astonishingly low (328 in total), including just 151 built with AC power from 1954-63. Regardless of engine, all surviving Acecas enjoy a strong following today.

true-to-its-roots-rare-ac-powered-1956-ac-acecas-l1600-17Bearing chassis number AEX556, this all-AC example from 1956 is advertised with matching numbers and features silver paint over black leather accented by red carpeting. According to the Aceca’s file, known history includes some years in Northern California with several owners until around 1990, when it was recommissioned prior to a sale to a new owner in New York, who had the car professionally restored, including a bare-metal strip and repaint in its current silver finish, Since restoration, the Aceca was regularly enjoyed and fastidiously maintained, with receipts to confirm. More recently, the Aceca’s engine was removed and sent to the UK, where it was rebuilt by an AC specialist in 2012, and the seats were reupholstered in leather during 2017. In late 2018, the Aceca was acquired by the current owner, also of New York state, presumably on Bring a Trailer where it sold in November 2018 for $140k. The seller advises the car is in great driver quality condition, thanks to the maintenance and care it has enjoyed over the past three decades.

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Concours cars are nice, but nothing speaks to us like a rare classic sports car that has been cared-for and maintained to be driven and enjoyed. We also appreciate the fact that it remains true to its original roots with its AC engine. Yes, the Bristol has more power and is the engine that propelled the Ace to international wins at Sebring and Le Mans, but the John Weller-designed AC OHC ‘six’ is no slouch, considering the Aceca’s purposeful design and lightweight alloy bodywork. Bristol-powered cars carry a stiff premium for an almost imperceptible power and performance bump. For the AC-powered Aceca, Hagerty’s price guide lists a #4 driver-quality car at $86k and a #1 concours-worthy example at $230k, with a #3 good one valued at $110k and a #2 excellent Aceca pegged at $170k. This one, with its known history for the past 30-plus years and cost-no-object engine rebuild by a UK specialist, plus documented maintenance, makes it a highly desirable example, and in our opinion, worth the premium for such a rare and outstanding postwar British sports/GT car.

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