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Wosp Performance

£ 179,995

1956 AC Aceca 'Bristol Prototype' - SOLD

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  • Bristol engine fitted by Ken Rudd before the first factory Aceca Bristol

  • Works entrant to the Tulip Rally in 1956 (3rd in Class) and 1957 (2nd in Class)

  • Period circuit racing history (Silverstone,Brands Hatch,Crystal Palace)

  • Fully restored by AC Heritage Works to FIA Specification.

  • Eligible to all the major sporting events including Mille Miglia, Goodwood Revival

We are delighted to present to market one of our personal AC Heritage collection motorcars.

This AC Aceca ‘AE550’ was ordered by E.J Patten of London and it was specified in Metalline Blue with Grey Leather interior, The AC engine ‘CL227’ was fitted.

The Thames Ditton factory completed it on the 7th of April 1956 and was delivered to Ken Rudd’s of Worthing, to be prepared as one of three works Aceca for the Tulip Rally in Class L: Grand Touring 1600-2000cc. John Patten was the driver alongside navigator Lt James S Hanson. The Tulip Rally started on the 6th of May 1956. After 1460 miles ending in with the final day at Zandvoort. AE550 placed the highest of all AC works entrants 72nd Overall and 3rd in Class.

After the great success on the continent the car returned to Ken Rudds to be prepared for circuit racing. Rudd was the pioneer for the Bristol conversion in the Ace and saw it fitting to put a Bristol engine in the aceca. This engine change to Bristol Sports 2398 was notified to the London County Council on the 27th of June 1956. The first factory built Aceca Bristol was completed on the 16th of July 1956.

The next outing for the Aceca was at Crystal Palace in South London for the August Trophy Meeting as part of the 7-lap sports Car B race. A wonderful photo can be found of Patten alongside the notable Mille Miglia AC Ace of Bruno Ferrari, whilst it was still under AC engine power. The Bristol engined Aceca proved to be too much for Mr Ferrari. As Patten placed 2nd to Chris Bristows MG special.

The 1957 season was very dramatic for the Heathrow based driver.Patten had re-entered the Tulip rally once again this time alongside navigator M. Carson. The event took place on the 5th-11th of May and into a more competitive class of larger capacity engines. “Group 4 Grand Touring Cars 1601-2600cc” its main opposition was the works TR3’s of Standard Triumph including John Waddington and Paddy Hopkirk

In the rally, Patten found himself at the start of the all-important final round race at the Zandvoort Circuit with a chance of a class win if he beat the works TR3’s. He led for two of the three laps and then thought all he needed was to gain 3rd place in this race for a class win, therefore the overall victory.

Unfortunately, Waddington in the leading TR3 won an appeal against lost points on a previous stage and took the class win.

2nd in Class and 17th overall was the swan song to the car's racing career. The five-day battle by the Aceca against the TR3’s and the final race in Zandvoort was described by John Gott in Autosport as the highlight of the 1957 European rally season. At the end of 1957, it was sold and used solely for road use by Mr D. Pickering of Oxshott Surrey until 1960. Changing hands to some short-term owners. When it passed onto Mrs Victoria Webb of Portobello Road, London in 1964 and her family would be a long time owners of the car until the late 1980’s when Colin Mitchell of Redditch purchased the car, it would then be restored by Colin and his son Andrew. They would go on to own the car for forty years until we purchased the car in 2016 and carried out a full ground-up restoration to FIA specification.

We media blasted the body chassis unit. It was then fitted to our factory jig brackets we made various repairs with the objective to retain as much of the original panel work, it was at this point we fitted our front and rear anti roll bars and steering upgrades. After 100’s hours of Metalwork, the Aceca's suspension and brakes were fully rebuilt including uprated rear hubs. After the car was made into a roller, We had a FIA-approved Andy Robinson Roll cage fitted. Furthermore, we resprayed the Aceca to the AC Silver with a Vinyl FIA style band and roundels. We decided to retain the original seats and re trim the dash to black alongside the bespoke headlining. The engine was lightly refreshed before fitment. Shortly there after a full rewire with many ancillaries fitted.

A fully comprehensive list of the specification of the car is as follows.

  • Custom Removable FIA Specification Rollcage (Andy Robinson Racecars)

  • Limited Slip Differential

  • 4 speed with overdrive in all gears

  • Uprated heavy duty Rear hubs

  • Front and Rear Anti Roll Bar

  • Full Lifeline Firesystem

  • Internal Battery cut off

  • External battery cut off

  • twin coils

  • lightweight red top battery

  • high power wiper motor

  • electric fan with thermo cut in and manual switch

  • rain light

  • OMP four point harness

  • Floor mounted fire extinguisher

  • twin facet fuel pump

  • Front Disc Brakes

  • Well specified 100D2 engine with high torque starter motor and dynator

  • Oil cooler with bespoke ducting

  • Current FIA papers until 2031

We have had a delightful ownership experience since the restoration was completed in 2019, its first competitive outing was at Crystal Palace at the Motorsport at the Palace event. Most recently we took the Aceca to the Vernasca Silver Flag Hill Climb event in Italy in 2022.

The history file of this Aceca is vast including the all-important letter from the London County Council regarding the Bristol conversion, Tulip Rally Programmes, Rally Notes, Race Programmes/Photos, Press coverage from Autosport. Alongside the contemporary history including the 1980s restoration and our most recent AC heritage restoration.

With an unrepeatable history like this, AE550 is certainly one of the finest AC Aceca’s available, eligible for Goodwood Revival, Mille Miglia and many more.


To find out more about this significant motorcar please contact our sales team for further details, viewing by prior appointment. 


Keyword Search Terms:

Historic AC Cobra shelby ace FIA Goodwood Mille Miglia

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