1955 AC Aceca
- Zahl der Sitze2
1955 AC Aceca
s/n AEX502, engine no. UMC2132W
Red with Tan Leather
Among the most iconic and influential sports car companies to arrive on the scene in the 1950s, AC set a standard that not only inspired enthusiasts, it ultimately led to the enormously popular 289 Cobra. The original design, first configured by John Tojeiro as a roadster, was later licensed for exclusive production to AC Cars. Benefiting from a lightweight tubular steel frame and Ashwood construction, and draped in a hand formed aluminum body, the engine sat back in the chassis allowing for a more advantageous weight distribution, resulting in superior handling. Shortly after the release of the AC roadster, the Aceca would arrive as a razor back coupe, offering all-weather protection, conveniently including a rear access hatch and rollup side glass. Ready for street or track performance, the Aceca was both attractive and capable against even higher priced competitors. Outfitted with front and rear independent suspension, transverse leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, the 2,100 lb car achieved a 50/50 weight distribution. Ultimately the formidable Ace and Aceca set the standard for a modern lightweight, agile, and highly capable sportscar that could be used for fun or in competition venues, often with only minor upgrades to tires or mild enhancements to the engine.
This particular left-hand drive AC Aceca was assembled at the Thames Ditton workshop. According to the chassis number, AEX502 is the first export (X) series Aceca, the first left hand drive Aceca, and the second Aceca crafted after the initial prototype #500. As this is such an early car and having been built with left hand drive configuration, there is some conjecture around the idea that AEX502 might have served as a show car. Unlike so many of these cars, this example still retains the original 2.0 liter overhead cam inline six-cylinder AC built engine, paired to a four-speed manual gearbox. The crossflow engine design uses two valves per cylinder, an aluminum crankcase, and triple side draft SU carburetors. 328 Acecas were built in total, with just 151 featuring the AC engine, identified by the unique alloy castings and distinctive mechanical details. According to the current owner, the car had been previously owned for over 30 years before being removed from long-term indoor storage approximately three years ago. During the recommission, the current owner spent more than $16,000.00 in service including a valve job, carburetor service, radiator cleaning, a water pump and brake master cylinder rebuild, new hand brake cable, new horn assembly, new fuel pump, new ignition wires and distributor cap, instruments rebuilt or replaced as needed, and a fresh set of Michelin tires. After the work had been completed, a compression check was performed with the following numbers recorded 140, 140, 130, 140, 130, 140.
Today AEX502 presents as a very attractive and driver level Aceca with cosmetics representative of enjoyable use. The red paint is glossy throughout with good coverage applied to the factory aluminum body, displaying only a few minor blemishes and surface imperfections in the finish, though none of these elements detract from the overall honest driver nature of the car overall. The exterior trim is in very good condition with some of the brightwork showing light pitting, while the windshield and side glass has some light scratches. As this is an early car, Aceca experts will notice the slightly larger windscreen and sharper corners at the cowl line. This earlier windscreen offers a more unified blend into the cowl, a feature that must have been more labor intensive as this type of windscreen was replaced with a different design in later cars. The rear molded plastic hatch window is lightly fogged by age, though still transparent. The lights and lenses are all in very good to excellent condition. The painted wire wheels and recently installed Michelin tires are in very good condition, showing only minor scuff marks on the wheel bead edges and nicely chrome plated knockoffs, bearing the iconic AC logo.
Having been a one of the earliest Acecas built the interior features some unique components including a full wood dashboard, interior door panel scuff trim, and a slightly different seat design. The interior is trimmed in tan leather with matching carpet, both of which offer a settled but handsome patina, without exhibiting excessive use. While many independently manufactured sports cars of this period can often lack quality construction and attention to detail, the Aceca delivers a quaint, yet sophisticated interior with amenities that enhance the driving experience. The dark wood veneered and lacquered dashboard outfitted with Smiths instruments, show a handsome combination of sporting flare and hand crafting. Finishing off the interior, a sporty black steering wheel has been preserved over the years with just the right amount of sheen to the rim and spoked wire elements. The door panels, leather trimmed binnacle, and rear package shelf are all in keeping with the overall look at feel of a car that has been enjoyably used and cared for. The rear hatch opens easily and allows plenty of spare room for small luggage, ideal for weekend adventures or extended tours.
Under the hood, the original engine is in place, exhibiting ample space for easy service and access to the SU carburetors or other components. The engine and engine compartment further reflect years of proper care and attention to originality, with none of the fussiness of a meticulous show car; just an honest representation of an original engine, properly serviced as needed. The quality of the history, integrity of the materials, and honesty of the finishes create a cohesive presentation delivering a delightful car, ready for action. The underside of the car is unrestored but very tidy and correct, presenting largely original components, finishes, and details. There is no visual evidence of structural damage to any of the main frame tubes or floor pan.
The car fires up easily, setting off the potent engine via triple SU carburetors and tuned exhaust. The exhaust note, while subdued, hints at the competition inspired design and engineering developed in these cars. The well-formed driver’s seat feels comfortable, with an expansive front and side view only mildly limited by the rear sail panels. Unlike many other closed cars of this period, rear visibility is quite good. Once behind the wheel and underway, the car delivers strong acceleration as power comes on progressively, particularly in the higher revs. The car tracks evenly under braking and shifts smoothly warm or cold. Handling and ride are surprisingly good given the period, with stability evident even at higher speeds.
With a sporting design and handsome proportions, this 1955 AC Aceca is reflective of long-term ownership and proper recent recommissioning, while offering delightful usability for its next fortunate owner. Mechanically sorted and ready for enjoyable showing, events, and tours, this AC Aceca is sure to deliver many more years of enjoyment just as it has for its fortunate previous owners.