Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 30th July 2018

AC Cars have a history of developing a plethora of stunning motors, particularly pre-WW2. But one of the company’s finest works was developed in the period following WW2. The AC Ace is remembered as an automotive masterpiece because of its design, performance and appearance. It was so impressive that it caught the attention of Carroll Shelby. We’re looking into the history of the Ace.


The origin of the Ace goes back to a man named John Tojeiro, who created a prototype that was possibly inspired by the Ferrari Barchetta in 1952. AC acquired the rights to it and they didn’t change much about the design. The Ace retained the Ferrari Barchetta style and ladder chassis, while AC provided a 2-litre long-stroke 6-cylinder engine.

Road tests were carried out and according to Motor magazine the Ace could reach a top speed of 103 mph. The Ace was introduced in 1953 and helped to establish AC as a world renowned manufacturer of sports cars. Its speed and performance made it a popular racing vehicle.

The Ace was raced at Le Mans in 1957 and 1958. For the 1959 event, an Ace Bristol was driven by Ted Whiteaway and John Turner, with the car claiming top honours in the 2000 cc GT class.

A legacy vehicle

Every aspect of the Ace was praised, as the car was more than just the sum of its parts. Everything came together for a vehicle that had a high level of performance and comfortable driving experience.

The Ace caught the attention of many designers, including Carroll Shelby. After Bristol stopped building their 6-cylinder engine in 1961, Shelby approached AC owner Charles Hurlock. He proposed using a Ford V8 in the Ace chassis. This lead to the creation of the AC Cobra in 1962. The Cobra proved to be a successful racing car, winning the GT class in the 1964 Le Mans. At the time, it was the fastest production car in the world.

Without the Ace, the Cobra would never have been produced. The Ace is an important British classic car that helped to turn AC into an reputable car manufacturer.