Pick of the day: 1956 AC Aceca Coupe

A coupe version of the Shelby Cobra’s granddad

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Several years before Carroll Shelby suggested replacing the Bristol engine in the AC Ace with a Ford V8, England’s AC was producing quality sports cars. They had put themselves on the map with the Ace, a sporty, tube frame, two-seater drop top with a 2.0-liter inline-6.

With the success of the Ace, AC decided to produce a grand touring coupe. In 1954, the first Acecas began appearing on English roads, and even a few in America.

The Pick of the Day is a restored, numbers-matching 1956 AC Aceca advertised by a dealer in Philadelphia on ClassicCars.com. The dealer says it is well-documented with original factory tools and records that tell 30 of the 65-year history of the car.

“Early cars were fitted with a 2.0 liter inline six-cylinder engine built by AC mated to a 4-speed manual transmission, but production switched to a similar power plant from Bristol in 1956 with these cars being named Aceca-Bristols,” according to the dealer. “The Aceca came in at a scant 2,120 lbs thanks in large part to its tubular frame, aluminum engine block, and aluminum body panels.”

With a nearly perfect 50/50 weight distribution, the Aceca handled exceptionally well and became a popular race car for club racers all the way up to professional endurance teams. Just 328 examples were produced, and this example is chassis number AEX 556 with engine number CL2250, finished in silver with a black-leather interior and red carpeting.  

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During the 2012 restoration, which included stripping the car to bare metal and repainting, the dealer says, “The engine was pulled from the car, packaged up, and sent to the UK were it was refreshed and rebuilt by AC specialist, Rod Briggs. Work completed by Mr. Briggs included installing custom JP pistons, increasing the compression from 6.5:1 to 7.5:1, new cylinder liners, and the addition of a single-piece rear-main-seal conversion. The factory white metal connecting rods were reconditioned and reused. During this time the SU carburetors were also reconditioned by Burlen Ltd.”

In the ad, the dealer explained the AC’s history of four owners.

“The car spent a good portion of its life, up to until around 1990, in Northern California where it changed hands approximately 2 times,” the ad says. “It appears when the 3rd owner purchased the car it had been sitting for an extended period of time and the owner took it upon himself to recommission the car and get it back on the road before selling it to the 4th owner around 1990.

“In 1991, the 4th owner who was located in New York state decided to undergo a sympathetic restoration of the car completed by Warren L. Riter and Sons Inc. of Plainfield, NY. From the included receipts, it appears that the car was stripped down to bare metal and repainted in the silver color it still currently wears.

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“Along with the repaint, it appears that a majority of the cosmetic nature of the car was either refurbished or replaced. From here, the 4th owner enjoyed the car regularly while thoroughly maintaining it, backed by the service receipts which are still included with the car. “

The Aceca would be a perfect car for road rallies and weekend trips. The asking price is $150,000.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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