1959 Bristol-Powered AC Ace Available on Bring a Trailer

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Just in time for summer cruising.

This 1959 AC Ace, originally delivered in February 1959 in London, represents a timeless classic with a storied history. Initially sold to its first owner in the UK, this vehicle spent much of its life there before residing in a private Japanese museum for two decades. It is now powered by a 2.0-liter Bristol 100D2 inline-six, installed under previous ownership in place of the original AC engine, and paired with a four-speed manual transmission featuring overdrive.

Unique Historical Background

The AC Ace boasts a ladder-style tubular steel chassis, derived from English engineer John Tojeiro’s design, and is adorned with a barchetta-style aluminum body over steel tube framework. The model made its debut at the 1953 London Motor Show, entering production the following year with an AC inline-six engine. By 1956, the Ace offered the option of a more powerful Bristol engine, and the chassis design later served as the foundation for the V8-powered AC Cobra after Bristol ceased production of its six-cylinder engines.

Distinctive Features and Condition

Originally finished in bright blue, this AC Ace was repainted in black under previous ownership. The car features front and rear bumperettes, wind wings, AC Bristol badging, an external fuel filler cap, dual exhaust outlets, and a black convertible top. Silver-painted wire wheels, secured by two-eared knock-offs and wrapped in 165/80R16 Avon TurboSteel tires, enhance its classic appeal. The vehicle’s braking system includes Girling disc brakes up front and finned drums at the rear.

Elegant Interior

The right-hand-drive cockpit is outfitted with fixed-back bucket seats trimmed in pleated red leather, complemented by color-matched door pockets, dash trim, and rear bulkhead trim. Additional features include color-keyed carpeting, black lap belts, a dash-mounted rearview mirror, a lockable glovebox, and a passenger-side grab handle. The black leather-trimmed banjo-spoke steering wheel frames Smiths instrumentation, including a 200-km/h speedometer with an inset clock and a 6k rpm tachometer. Gauges for oil pressure, coolant temperature, fuel level, and amperage are also present. The five-digit odometer shows 46k kilometers (~29k miles), with approximately 25 kilometers added under current ownership.

Performance and Mechanics

The 1,971cc 100D2 inline-six, an evolution of Bristol’s version of the pre-war BMW M328 engine, powers the car. This aluminum cylinder head engine features hemispherical combustion chambers and two rows of inclined valves operated via pushrods driven by a single in-block camshaft, with induction provided by triple Solex carburetors topped by Vokes air cleaners. Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission with electric overdrive. The vehicle’s suspension incorporates transverse leaf springs and tubular shock absorbers at each end, maintaining its classic handling characteristics.


This well-preserved and meticulously maintained 1959 AC Ace is now offered by the selling dealer with transferable New York registration, describing it as a 1957 model, and is a remarkable opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to own a piece of automotive history.

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