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Chassis No. BEX389

Engine No. 100D 738

The lithe Ace-Bristol is the automobile that bridged the gap between its sweet, fun little basis, the AC Ace, and its snarling, brutal successor, the Shelby Cobra. It retained the original Ace's slender-figured John Tojeiro-designed bodywork and subtle nature, but was equipped with the sophisticated overhead-valve hemi-head six-cylinder engine of the Bristol, a hand-built British grand tourer. The Ace-Bristol could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in only 9 seconds, and reach a top speed of 116 mph, swift indeed for a relatively low-cost European roadster of its era. It was a marvelous machine and the 463 examples produced over four years were much-loved by their caretakers; many continue to be enjoyed today, frequently, as here, in partnership with a Shelby Cobra or two for comparison.

According to information in the file, the Taylor Collection's Ace-Bristol was originally dispatched from AC Cars Group Ltd., finished in black over red interior, on December 20, 1957. First sold by AC Imports of Arlington, Virginia, it remained in the Washington, D.C., area for much of its life. In 1968 it was purchased by Gerald F. Curtin, Jr., of Wilmington, Delaware, a Yale graduate then in the midst of 42 years of distinguished service as vice-president of the Petrochemicals Division of Du Pont. Sometime during 1969, perhaps with Mr. Curtin's business and family endeavors taking precedence. It was put away in his garage and there it remained with only 33,532 miles recorded until his passing in 2010, after which it was sold and passed into the Taylor Collection.

After his acquisition, Mr. Taylor set about awakening his new prize for the road. It received the same loving treatment as the collection's 289 Cobra, with the engine rebuilt by the Florida-based British sports car specialist, Paul Tsikiris, and Joe Rainalli rebuilding the brakes and fuel system. All mechanical components were sorted to operate as-new, with great care taken not to disturb any of their original patina. The only modification made was to reroute the exhaust by the passenger door, which Donnie Gould, an authority in such matters, gleefully describes as producing 'a note you cannot believe!'

The car retains some of its original paint, with period blow-ins which are now virtually indistinguishable from the remaining factory finish, as well as the original seats, door panels, and even carpeting and dashboard. The original chassis and engine number plates are still present under the hood, along with, of course, the original engine itself, and the AC is still complete with everything Mr. Curtin carefully stored in the trunk for all those years – the original side curtains, jack, tools, grease gun, and spare wheel with knock-off hammer.

Now recording 33,827 miles at the time of cataloging, this is almost certainly one of the finest surviving original examples of the potent Ace-Bristol. It has, to borrow an oft-overused word entirely appropriate word, patina in spades – and it virtually begs to be taken out and run with abandon on its next owner's favorite stretch of country road.