Based on the AC Ace two-seater convertible, the Aceca was a GT built entirely by hand, in the British tradition, from tubular steel and beech wood. A notable feature of the car is the presence of a rear hatch, making it the 2nd car to be equipped with this feature after the 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4.
A total of 151 Acecas, 169 Aceca-Bristols and 8 models with Ford blocks were produced up to 1963.
The main difference between the Aceca and the Aceca-Bristol lies in the engine mount, in both cases an in-line 6-cylinder unit. The Aceca’s block was taken from the AC Ace, a 1,991 cm3 in-house block with overhead camshaft delivering 90 hp, while the Aceca-Bristol was equipped with Bristol Cars blocks, the “D-Type” 2.0L (1,971 cm3 and 125 hp) or the “B-Type” (105 hp). Compared with the basic specification (sold for £1,722 in the UK and $5,400 in the USA), the Bristol specification carried an additional cost of $1,0003.
The front-end styling of the Ace and Aceca can be traced back to a design by Pinin Farina for AC in the late 1940s. The car is quite light, thanks to a tubular chassis, aluminum engine block and aluminum body panels. Large 16-inch spoked road wheels and a weight distribution close to 50/50 ensure exceptional handling on poor road surfaces. Later Acecas feature front-wheel disc brakes (added in 1957), while all share IRS transverse leaf springs, articulated rear axle halves, worm gear steering, optional overdrive on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, a curved windshield and leather-covered bucket seats. Suspension is independent front and rear, thanks to transverse leaf springs.
This 1955 AC Aceca is one of 328 built between 1954 and 1963, and would have been registered in the UK before spending much of its life in Australia. The AE547 chassis was originally fitted with an AC engine, which was replaced in the 1980s, under the ownership of Bristol specialist Geoff Dowdle, by a 2.0-liter Bristol 100B2 in-line six-cylinder that was rebuilt to D2 specifications. The car then spent 26 years under the guardianship of a New South Wales owner, from whom it was purchased in partially refurbished condition by the seller in 2011. The project was completed with a new paint job in red and a refurbishment of the interior in grey leather. Additional equipment includes three Solex carburetors, a four-speed Bristol manual transmission with unsynchronized first gear and overdrive, front disc brakes, independent suspension with transverse leaf springs, and 16-inch painted spoke wheels. This Aceca is now offered with various documents and notes from the previous owner, owner’s manuals and a tool kit.
The body of this example was unpainted when purchased by the seller and was subsequently finished in red. Features include tubular front and rear bumpers with bumpers, hinged front hood with rear louvers, rear spoilers, external fuel filler cap, high-mounted driver’s side mirror and roof-mounted antenna.
The wheels are fitted with Michelin X 5.50R16 tires, plus a matching spare wheel housed in the rear compartment. Disc brakes have been fitted at the front in place of the original drum brakes, while the drums are retained at the rear.
The interior of the right-hand drive was refurbished by the current owner and features fixed-back bucket seats upholstered in grey leather with black piping. Wear is visible on the piping at the outer edge of the driver’s seat. Other features include color-matched door panels, black carpeting, wooden door covers, front and rear quarter windows, lockable glovebox with wooden door, black inertia-reel shoulder belts and AC-branded pedals.
The banjo-spoked steering wheel sits in front of a wooden panel housing Smiths instruments, including a 220 km/h speedometer, 6,000 rpm tachometer and coolant temperature gauge. The five-digit odometer shows 8,000 kilometers (~5,000 miles), of which around 3,000 have been added by the current owner. The actual mileage is unknown. Gauges on the driver’s left monitor fuel level, amperage and oil pressure.
An evolution of the Bristol version of the pre-war BMW M328 engine, the 1,971 cm3 100B2 in-line 6-cylinder was installed in the 1980s in place of the original AC engine and rebuilt to 100D2 specifications. The aluminum cylinder head features hemispherical combustion chambers and two rows of inclined valves operated by tappets driven by a single camshaft in the block, while intake is via three Solex carburetors.
The four-speed Bristol manual gearbox would have been installed at the same time as the engine, and features a non-synchronized first gear and an overdrive. The independent suspension features transverse leaf springs and tubular shock absorbers front and rear.
A complete file and notes from the previous owner are included in the sale, including a list of work carried out by the car’s owner between 1985 and 2011.