1959 AC Ace-Bristol
1959 AC Ace-Bristol
- Wonderful period race provenance including Goodwood, Silverstone and Mallory Park
- Original, matching numbers Bristol engined example
- Stunning history file with period photos and race programmes
- Invoices, letters and ownership history back to new
AC has a long motoring history from its inception in 1903 right through to the present day. AC created many fine cars through the pre-war years but it is the post-war masterpiece, the Ace, that really stands out from the crowd and launched AC to the world stage of sports car manufacturers. Its origin can be traced back to a one off sports car built by John Tojeiro for Cliff Davis in 1952, whose style and success prompted AC to acquire the rights to its design, which was then put into production in 1954 as the Ace. The design was not changed in any great way from the Tojeiro prototype and it retained the pretty Ferrari 166 Barchetta inspired bodywork, twin tubular ladder chassis and Cooper influenced all independent suspension. Power came from AC’s own 2.0 litre, long stroke, 6 cylinder engine. This overhead camshaft engine was originally designed in 1919 but, despite its age, had a respectable output of 80bhp (later 100bhp) and AC had great racing success with it in the first few years of production.
In 1956, Ace owners were heaping praise on every aspect of the car’s ability but wanted a little more magic under the bonnet. The solution was the option to have Bristol’s 2 Litre unit installed from new. This 1971cc, straight 6, was based on the BMW 328 engine that Rudolf Schleicher designed with hemispherical combustion chambers, inclined valves and triple carburetors and its ‘tunability’ made it a popular choice for British racers through the 1950s. This engine when fitted to the Ace gave up to 130bhp (nearer 150bhp in race spec) which when put through the 4 speed gearbox gave a top speed of 116mph and a 0-60 time in 9 seconds.
The genius of the Ace though is not a list of its components, nice as they are, because the car is so much more than a sum of its parts. The combination of the direct handling chassis, light-weight body and intuitive power delivery have rightly given them a reputation as one of the best sports cars of all time as well as an enviable racing record including a class win at Le Mans in 1959.
When Bristol ceased production of their 2.0 litre engine in 1961, Carroll Shelby approached AC’s owner, Charles Hurlock, with an idea of putting a Ford V8 engine in the Ace chassis producing the AC Cobra in 1962. AC ceased production of the Ace later that year.
YEW 475 / Chassis BE 1038 was first registered on the 15th of April 1959 to its first owner John Fellows Lord de Ramsey of Huntingdon, having been supplied by Herbert Robinson Ltd of Cambridge. It is an original Bristol engined, right hand drive car and retains its original 100D2 engine (number 100D2 840). It is also one of the rare cars fitted with a curved windscreen from new.
Four years later the car was bought by Farnham based Neil McNab, and actively campaigned by his team Farnborough Racing Enterprises with his racing partner John Nicholson. YEW 475 was enthusiastically run throughout the 1963 and ‘64 seasons and a number of photographs exist in the extensive history file of the car being raced at Goodwood, Silverstone, Crystal Palace, Snetterton and Mallory Park now finished in white livery.
The original green logbook shows ownership changes in ‘64 and ‘66 before acquisition in October 1973 by Peter Mann who had the car painted red and returned with it to the track in 1974 and enjoyed a number of seasons racing ‘YEW’.
For the ten years the car was in the ownership of highly respected car enthusiast and racing driver Neil Corner in whose ownership the guards red livery was re-painted and leading Bristol engine specialist Ian Nuttal was employed to completely rebuild the original engine. In September 2017 the car went respected specialists Stanton Motorsport where it had a full service, carburetors stripped, cleaned and set up, fuel tank flushed, rear brakes rebuilt, steering idler rebuilt and a new battery was fitted.
The car has more recently been in a private collection and is now ready to be raced, rallied, toured and enjoyed by the next lucky owner. The car comes with a fabulous history file including many wonderful photographs and programs from its racing time in the 1960s, previous ownership letters, an old style logbook, the original 1959 tax disc and owners instruction book, FIA papers, numerous invoices and MOT’s and further tax discs dating back over 30 years.