1958 AC ACE BRISTOL ROADSTER
Chassis No. BEX 409
Engine No. 100D 766
Yellow with tan leather interior
Engine: six-cylinder in-line, 1,971cc, est. 155bhp at 6,000rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: independent with transverse leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: four wheel drum; Left hand drive.
By the early 1950s the long established firm of AC cars by Thames Ditton Surrey were in decline, producing invalid cars including a three-wheeler and a pre-war style 2-litre saloon and convertible. Meanwhile, in Cambridge John Tojeiro was building competition ladder framed chassis for which the customer specified his own engine and bodywork. One such customer, Cliff Davis, installed a 2-liter Bristol engine and had a sporting two seater alloy body based on the Ferrari 166 Barchetta. The result was an attractive, practical sports car which registered LOY 500, became the most successful 2-liter sports car in British club racing during 1953 and 1954. The Hurlock family, owners of AC Cars, were introduced to John Tojeiro and his LOY 500. They were so impressed they decided to put the car in production utilising their well known AC six-cylinder 1,991cc engine. The prototype was launched at the 1953 London Motor Show where it was enthusiastically received and after a certain amount of restyling by AC's own Alan turner the car went into production in 1954. Under its curvaceous hood was the evergreen overhead camshaft AC engine designed back in 1919 by AC Cars' founder, John Weller, and mated to a four-speed Moss gearbox, providing 100mph performance. In 1956 a 2-litre Bristol engine was offered as an alternative and most buyers took the option, the D-type specification engine providing a 120mph performance.
The AC Bristol became a very successful club racing sports car, particularly in America where it won its class for five consecutive years in the S.C.C.A. Championship and was class winner at the 12-hour Sebring in 1958 and 1959. Ken Rudd, a well known AC exponent, won many races in England and came second in its class to a Ferrari at the 1957 Le Mans. That result was further improved in 1959 by finishing seventh overall and winning the class. 1961 saw the final car being built when Bristol ceased production of their engine, but in 1962 the ACE saw a rebirth in the hands of Caroll Shelby as the AC Cobra.
BEX 409 was purchased in 1977 by AC enthusiast John Lewis from its the original owner who was the shop foreman for the AC dealer in San Carlos, California. Mr. Lewis successfully campaigned the car in nearly 100 races or rally's during his ownership. Mr. Lewis also fitted a speaial six port cylinder head and Weber carburetors. In this tuned state, the engine produced as much as 180hp at 7,000rpm on a dynometer, but settled on a lower tuning with 155hp and better torque in the lower rpm range. This highly powerful AC Bristol was purchased by the current owner a few years ago and is said to be in fine working condition. These great 1950s sports cars are attractive, fun to drive, and eligible for many of the long distance touring events such as the Colorado Grand and California Mille.