British racing driver Ken Rudd constructed the very first Ace-Bristol and his hybrid was quickly adopted by the AC factory and replaced AC’s two litre powerplant. First shown in autumn 1956, the AC Ace-Bristol and the companion AC Aceca-Bristol were in production by the spring of 1957. Because it was not only more powerful than AC’s own engine but capable of a lot more power-tuning, the Bristol unit made these cars, especially the Ace, much more suited for competition.
Today, the AC Ace is possibly one of the most quintessential British sports cars. Exuding finesse from every angle, these agile roadsters with racing pedigree are widely regarded as one of the most elegant and characterful British designs of the period. Original examples are now commanding substantial premiums and for this reason, high quality recreations have a dedicated following. Over the past 20 years, British manufacturer ‘Hawk’ have built themselves an international reputation as the best in the business when it comes to AC replicas. Their AC Ace, 289 Cobra and 427 Cobra reproductions have achieved many accolades and to many, are accepted as being the truest to the original form and depending upon detailed specification, also reproduce an authentic and comparable driving experience. Founder Gerry Hawkridge is acknowledged globally as an AC guru, so much so, that when you visit the collection of outbuildings at their premises there is usually a genuine Cobra and/or Ace or two on site for maintenance.
This AC Ace by Hawk was completed by a talented aircraft engineer with over 30 years’ experience restoring a variety of British sports cars to high standards. Finished in British Racing Green and fitted with a totally rebuilt 2.5 litre Triumph TR6 engine mated to a Triumph GT6 manual four-speed gearbox with overdrive (reconditioned by Hardys of Leatherhead) plus new clutch and flywheel, this car’s specification closely matches the higher performance of the late production AC Ace, also generating a very satisfying straight six engine note. The Ace benefits from ‘123’ electronic ignition and triple 40 Weber Carburettors supplied by Webcon, a high pressure fuel pump, also additional fans and an oil cooler. Hydraulic brake and clutch pedals were supplied by Gerry Hawkridge. The Ace is fitted with uprated discs and pads, with the exhaust front end using stainless steel TR6 downpipes mated to bespoke middle and rear sections in stainless steel. The Ace is in virtually ‘as new’ condition, which comes as no surprise bearing in mind it has covered a mere 700 miles since being completed. The Ace is offered with a new MoT certificate, and a history file to support the build.
With genuine AC Aces now finding a new home for a price in the region of £200,000, this virtually ‘as new’ evocation provides all of the looks and driving experience for a fraction of the price.