31 October 2012

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Lot 139

1954 AC Ace

  • Chassis no. AE 68

Sold for £128,800

173 hp, 2,553 cc Rudd-Ford six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear independent suspension with double wishbones and transverse rear leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 90 in.

• Fully-sorted and fitted with a 2.6-litre Rudd-Ford speed engine

• Known ownership and racing history from new

• Mechanical and cosmetic restoration in 2004

• Eligible for vintage racing events throughout the world

Auto Carriers began life as a builder of little three-wheeled commercial vehicles prior to the First World War. The factory was located in Thames Ditton, outside London in Surrey. The company introduced its first car, the A.C. Six, in 1919, equipped with a two-litre wet liner overhead cam engine. The name was changed to A.C. Cars Ltd. in 1921; all the while, the firm developing its racing successes.

AC surprised the motoring world in 1953 by announcing its new Ace sports car. Although the car retained the company’s Bristol-BMW-derived 1,991-cubic centimetre engine, the motor was now tuned to 85 horsepower. The chassis and coachwork were startlingly modern with styling and design by John Tejeiro; his inspiration, no doubt, coming from the contemporary Ferrari Barchetta. This was a classic post-war English roadster: all-independent suspension, a spartan leather upholstered cockpit, full instrumentation, four-speed gearbox, and in English tradition, minimal weather protection. The Ace offered excellent performance: 160-plus km/h and a 0–97 km/h time of 11.5 seconds.

This Ace was first registered on 7th April 1955, having been sold to Jane Waugh. She was so impressed that she ordered the car at the Motor Show in light metallic blue with a black interior after meeting the chassis designer. She was an enthusiastic race driver who was quite active with the AC team. She competed in numerous rallies, including the 1955 London Rally. Mrs Waugh sold the Ace in 1955 to a garage named Rootes Limited, replacing it with another Ace later driven by Ted Whiteway and John Turner to 7th place at Le Mans in 1959. Rootes Limited, of Maidstone, Kent, sold the car to Gordon Webb, also living in Kent. He did some repairs to the car, selling it for £230. It was sold again in 1972 to Roger Keith Wright, who purchased the car on 25th June 1972 for £120. Although the name on the title changed, the Ace remained in the same family for the last thirty years, where it has been used and raced extensively.

In 2004, the Ace was subjected to a sympathetic mechanical and cosmetic restoration. One year ago, the body was taken down to the bare metal and re-sprayed the light blue colour as delivered. The mechanicals have been completely overhauled, and the 2.6-litre Rudd-Ford speed engine was installed in late-2008. It has been rebuilt, blueprinted, and subsequently used on race tracks, where it was found to be an outstanding performer. Furthermore, a new clutch was installed in 2011, resulting in what the owner describes as “an amazing car” that is possibly the best possible specification AC, with the current Rudd speed engine having been made available from the factory in the Ace in 1961.

This car comes complete with its original instruction manual, as well as an impressive history file starting with the first owner. This is an incredible opportunity to acquire a well-sorted right-hand drive Ace that is eligible for vintage racing events the world over, including the Mille Miglia, if fitted with a two-litre AC engine.


Please note the estimate for this lot should read £125,000 to £150,000.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more