1958 AC AceBristol
Year of manufacture1958
Car typeConvertible / Roadster
Chassis numberBEX 481
Engine number100 D2 831 Bristol
Number of doors3
Number of seats2
Belgian registration title
5 owners: the 1st from 1958 to 1964, the 2nd from 1964 to 1973, the 3rd from 1973 to 2016, the 4th from 2016 to 2019.
Genuine "Time Capsule" never restored and showing 27,899 original miles on the odometer.
Exceptional history, accompanied by all its original documents
Sold with an important historical file retracing its entire history
Sold with its original windscreen, bumpers, soft top, sides creens and tonneau cover
Exceptional in many ways, the AC Bristol we present today is without a doubt one of the most authentic roadsters of the brand. For many collectors, the history is of major interest, for others the aesthetics will be privileged, for some the authenticity will take the upper hand while others will be attached to racing history, whatever it may be. BEX 481 is one of those cars that can fulfil all these expectations with a little something extra... a hint of exoticism on its aluminium dress, on its patinated leathers and in its original definition wanted by its first owner Robert alias "Bob" Gubbins who saw in it, on the other side of the Atlantic, the promise of victories in competition. Perfect? One would be tempted to say so...
Chassis BEX 481 left the Thames Ditton factory for the short journey to the London docks on 16 July 1958, where it was loaded for shipment to the Foreign Cars Associates facility in Detroit, Michigan. Ordered from the factory in Oxford Blue with blue leather seats, disc brakes and, more surprisingly, a roll bar never seen on European orders but "mandatory for American racing". If it can make you smile today... It marks the first vocation of this AC Bristol which never stopped racing during the first 13 years of its life...
Six months later, on 11 January 1959, Gubbins registered the car at his name and had it repainted as a Dunstan Blue Cadillac with two wide white stripes running from the front bonnet to the boot lid. From then on, the car never stopped racing on the racetrack. The latter was a distinguished private driver who did a lot of work for the development of racing in the United States and in particular for the Waterford Hills circuit in Michigan. BEX 481 raced for four years in the hands of Gubbins, going all the way to the Canadian border. The documentation in our possession is colossal: period photos, race programmes, press articles, invoices, correspondence, certificates and even "driver" or "crew" passes complete a historical file retracing all the stages in the life of BEX 481.
On 15 February 1963, Gubbins ordered a second AC Bristol (BEX 1212) from the factory, which he also had repainted in his favourite colour, and in March 1964 sold BEX 481 to a member of his staff, Edwin W. Fischer. A close friend of Gubbins, Ed Fischer became his second owner and raced BEX 481 for nearly nine years with some good results in the 2000cc class. Living in Chicago, he sometimes drove his AC to work in the early 1970s. It was on this occasion, December 26, 1973, that BEX 481 began its third life in the hands of a young retiree from the US Marine Corps, Paul Nawrocki.
According to the correspondence we have found and which will be attached to the file, Paul Nawrocki fell in love with the lines of our car and kept it preciously for 42 years, taking great care to maintain its mechanics. Used but not abused, it has accumulated a beautiful patina and a few wrinkles worthy of a thoroughbred in its sixtieth year. In fact, due to a lack of funds or a well-informed amateur, the bodywork and upholstery of BEX 481 were never restored so that today, the ravages of time are the witnesses of its history. The aluminium visible in places and the patina of the leather in this incredible lagoon blue give it an inimitable look.
Spotted in an advert in the AC Owners 'Club (ACtion) newsletter. BEX 481 found British soil in early 2016. Her then fourth owner managed to make contact with Bob Gubbins' daughter to trace her history. The exchange of correspondence across the Atlantic brought to light additional photos, moments of life or understanding that Gubbins, Fisher and Nawrocki knew each other and had close ties around BEX 481.
On its arrival in London, 57 years after leaving British land, BEX 481 was displayed in the Main Court of the Royal Automobile Club still with the original Dunstan Blue Cadillac so dear to Bob Gubbins. Since then, exhibited in 2019 on the lawns of Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille during the 2019 edition of the state competition organised by Peter Auto, it won the class of post-war cars in original condition and joined the collection of Hervé Charbonneaux on this occasion.
In order to be able to run it without any afterthoughts, Koni shock absorbers made to original specifications were fitted to the front and rear, the fuel system hoses were changed as well as the complete exhaust system. Disassembly of the rear axle for replacement of the universal joints, removal of the spring leaves and fuel tank were carried out in July 2000 and most recently a mechanical check and laboratory analysis of the engine oil was ordered to ensure full mechanical health.
Sold with its original removable windscreen, bumpers, soft top, side screens, original tonneau cover and miscellaneous parts lot, the future owner will of course be given the full history of this unusual AC Ace Bristol. To acquire an AC roadster in its strict original condition, with all its matching parts and numbers, with a clear competition record and history... Yes, we would be tempted to say that BEX 481 is flawless
This car will be sold by auction by AGUTTES Auction House, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, on June the 20th, 2021.
The digital catalog is available by the following link
Please contact us for any further details.
+33 147 459 301
+ 33 668 362 622