Spotlight Feature – Built to Drive, An Original AC Ace.
So not a lot has happened around here since my last post, if you’ve noticed I’ve been trying to add a more personal blog format to my posts here to give an insight into how, when and why I go about heading out to events, organising shoots and just generally what I’ve been up to. Unfortunately for me I forgot that Chopped Rod and Custom weekend was this weekend just passed and so I missed that – I’ve been meaning to buy a 2016 calendar all year, I haven’t and so I tend to forget to either write stuff down or just forget when things are, yes I know I could save dates in my phone but I don’t. Another issue is that I currently only have access to Instagram when I have Emily’s phone and that isn’t everyday so I tend to miss event posts – I probably would anyway due to the shitty non-chronological order Instagram now shows in. Anyway, a few upcoming things I won’t be missing is Motorclassica, the Melbourne International Concours D’Elegance which is coming up in a couple of weeks and provides some absolutely stunning cars to shoot and hopefully I can try and organise a few full and spotlight features from that as well. Another event which I was really looking forward to was All Japan Day where I was planning to bring along my Bluebird 910, which is now heading towards a vintage American race car/ Kaido racer mash up of styles – yes, yes updates are coming. I’ve since heard All Japan Day has been unfortunately cancelled due to greed and red tape so with the exception of any in between Eastside JDM Meets, the next Japanese event instalment may not be until Melbourne Datsun Day next month given I can make it.
Whilst on the subject of events, I may be looking into organising a little something but I’ll leave the details of that off here for now until a later date to see whether it goes ahead or not.
The AC Ace was first released in 1953 powered by a 2 litre 1991cc Weller engine – the AC company was initially started by the Weller Brothers in the early 1900’s. The AC was a two-seater aluminium body open top sports car and remained in production as above spec’s until AC was approached by Carroll Shelby in 1962.
Shelby was looking for a car in which to use in competition against Chevrolet’s Corvette in the US Sports Car series. The lightweight AC proved an exceptional chassis in which to use and Carroll approached AC about fitting one with a Ford 289 V8. The newly named AC Cobra, was doing fine against the larger Corvettes but was still being outrun by Ferrari. The AC received a beefed up chassis with 4” rails and the Cobra was fitted with the FE series 390 Ford V8, later versions also came fitted with a 427 NASCAR V8 engine. The AC came in a street version with a milder engine and the competition version which was expected to be purchased by race teams. Seemingly very few racing teams purchased the competition version of the Cobra and the final unsold 31 units were badged as the Cobra 427 S/C and sold to the general public.
The AC Ace you see above is an original pre-Shelby model, I didn’t get a chance to meet the owner and so I’m unsure of what powered it, but it was certainly built to drive. The aluminium nose was peppered with stone chips – something which may turn off the concours purists but for every stone chip there’s a story. The car was also fitted with a woodgrain Nardi steering wheel and matching Nardi gear knob in the otherwise bare essentials interior.
Below: Custom leather covered dashboard was fitted with Smiths gauges derived from an MGB
Below: And at the rear was a dual kicked up exhaust.