The AC Cars’ name became commonplace with their successful AC Ace sports car introduced in 1953. Intending to build upon this success, AC released the Aceca starting in 1954. Based heavily upon the two-seat, open cockpit Ace, the Aceca was essentially a hand-built, enclosed, grand touring version of the popular Ace. Its hatchback design was quite unique for the time and added excellent usability to the small grand tourer. Early cars were fitted with a 2.0 liter inline six-cylinder engine built by AC mated to a 4-speed manual transmission but production switched to a similar power plant from Bristol in 1956 with these cars being names Aceca-Bristols. The Aceca came in at a scant 2120 lbs thanks in large part to its tubular frame, aluminum engine block, and aluminum body panels. Featuring nearly perfect 50/50 weight distribution, the Aceca proved to be an exceptionally well handling car. Production of the Aceca ran from 1954 through 1963 with 151 AC engined Acecas produced, 169 Bristol engined Aceca-Bristols produced, as well as 8 examples produced utilizing a 2.6 liter tuned Ford Zephyr engine.
The example on offer here, chassis AEX 556 and engine number CL2250, is a 1956 AC Aceca, one of only 328 examples produced by the company. It is a matching numbers example finished in silver exterior with black leather interior and red carpeting. According to the included history file, the car spent a good portion of its life, up to until around 1990 in Northern California where it changed hands approximately 2 times. It appears when the 3rd owner purchased the car it had been sitting for an extended period of time and the owner took it upon himself to recommission the car and get it back on the road before selling it to the 4th owner around 1990. In 1991, the 4th owner who was located in New York state decided to undergo a sympathetic restoration of the car completed by Waren L. Riter and Sons Inc. of Plainfield, NY. From the included receipts, it appears that the car was stripped down to bare metal and repainted in the silver color it still currently wears. Along with the repaint, it appears that a majority of the cosmetic nature of the car was either refurbished or replaced. From here, the 4th owner enjoyed the car regularly while thoroughly maintaining it, backed by the service receipts which are still included with the car. In 2012, the engine was pulled from the car, packaged up, and sent to the UK were it as refreshed and rebuilt by AC specialist, Rod Briggs. Work completed by Mr. Briggs included installing custom JP pistons, increasing the compression from 6.5:1 to 7.5:1, new cylinder liners, and the addition of a single-piece rear main seal conversion. The factory white metal connecting rods were reconditioned and reused. During this time the SU carburetors were also reconditioned by Burlen Ltd. The seats were also reupholstered in leather around 2017. The 4’th owner enjoyed and continued to maintain this Aceca regularly until late 2018 when it was sold to the current owner/consignor/collector who also resided in New York state. The current owner and consignor has put minimal miles on the car since acquisition but has maintained and stored this Aceca in a proper manner. As it sits today, this 1956 AC Aceca remains in great driver quality condition. It is mechanically strong thanks to its fairly recent mechanical overhaul and proper servicing over the past 30 years.
Included with the sale of this car are the factory spare, tools, jack, and service records dating back to 1991.
Body And Paint
The exterior of the car remains in good condition and presents in line with being a good driver quality example. The silver paint is consistent and smooth all around the car with only a few paint chips from normal use presenting themselves in high wear areas. There is a section of significant cracking (2 inches) in the paint as well as some metal distortion on the driver side door where it appears the door may have flexed due to opening too far. Other than the driver side door, the body remains straight and solid with respectable gaps and well-fitting body panels.
Glass And Trim
The chrome trim remains serviceable, with decent shine but showing a bit of its age in the form of light pitting and scratching. Exterior rubber trim pieces remain in good shape, with some cracking forming on some pieces but retaining good structure and suppleness overall. The glass throughout the car is clear and fairly clean but does show some light scratching and pitting in areas, especially on the rear hatch which shows a good bit of swirling and light scratching.
The spoked wire wheels show nicely and remain clean and tidy with only some very minor stone chips to speak of. The spokes themselves are in excellent condition and the AC branded knockoff spinners are bright and clean.
This car would best be deemed as a good driver quality example and as such contains minor imperfections that come with the territory. There are some minor stone chips in the paint as well as a crack in the paint on the driver's side door. The driver's side door also shows a bit of deformation in the metal on the leading edge where it appears to have been flexed. There is some minor cracking of rubber trim and some of the glass contains light pitting and scratching.
Seats And Surfaces
The seats were recovered with leather in 2017 and remain in great condition with good fill and solid bolsters. The carpet was redone in 1991 during the cosmetic restoration but shows fraying around the edges and a good bit of wear in high traffic areas with the worst section being in the driver's side footwell. The leather on the driver's side door card shows some minor scratching from normal use. The steering wheel contains some patina as well as some cracking where the spokes meet the rim, but is structurally solid. The dash face, including the wood trim, is clean and tidy with issues to note.
Functionality And Accessories
The doors open and close with ease and the windows roll up and down without issue. The gauges are bright, clear, and easily legible however there is some dirt and dust that has accumulated behind the glass on some of them. The AC branded pedals appear to be original and show a nice patina to them. There is a wonderful period-correct Telefunken radio incorporated to the right side of the dash. The wood trim throughout the car remains in good condition with excellent grain, color, and finish. The headliner shows some minor staining as well as one or two small holes but remains tight and well-fitting.
There is some wear to the red carpets in high traffic areas, especially in the driver's side footwell. There is also some minor staining and a few small holes in the headliner.
ENGINE BAY AND TRUNK
The engine bay of the car shows as one would expect from a well cared for driver quality car. Despite the presence of some minor dirt and grime that comes with normal use, the engine bay appears very correct and well looked after. Hoses and clamps are of a newer variety in a few places but remain in great condition. The carburetors show no signs of leaking or overflow and wiring all appears to be in good cosmetic and mechanical order.
The trunk area is trimmed in the same red carpeting found in the cabin. It remains well-fitting with excellent color and showing minimal wear. There is signs of some rough metal underneath the paint in the jams of the rear boot lid but nothing that appears to necessitate worry. The spare wheel is tucked away neatly with the factory toolkit nestled neatly in the center. The metal on the floor of the trunk appears solid with no issues to note.
The underside of the car has held up well from its restoration in the early 90’s but does show signs of normal use. All metal surfaces underneath the car retain good black paint with some minor chipping present, and appear to be structurally sound with no underlying issues. There is some failing paint on the rear valence above the exhaust, likely caused by the heat emanating from the exhaust tips. Suspension and brakes appear well looked after and show no outward signs of mechanical issues.
This AC Aceca received a full engine rebuild in 2012 and it shows in the strong running and driving nature of the car. The engine fires to life with ease and once up to temperature settles into a smooth idle while revving freely. On the road, it makes good linear power with no flat spots or stumbles to speak of. As of late, it has been sitting so we suggest a baseline service.
From our brief testing, it appears the transmission is in good order, shifting easily between gears at speed. Some of the lower gears are hard to engage at slow speeds, but this is a common problem with older transmissions. The clutch seems to hold power well and has proper pickup and good feedback.
Brakes And Suspension
The brakes bring the car to a controlled stop however if we are being critical they do make a bit of noise underuse, feel a bit soft, and pull to the left slightly. It is possible they could need a bit of attention before any serious driving is undertaken. The suspension feels proper, with no odd road manners or noises to speak of.
The car currently wears period looking Excelsior tube-type tires on all four corners. They appear newer, with solid sidewalls and plenty of tread life left in them.
With the introduction of the Aceca, AC attempted to build on the success of their ACE sports car while giving the driver a bit more comfort and protection of the elements. After a short drive in this splendid little grand tourer, it is very clear that they hit their intended goal with ease. The Aceca feels very light and nimble on the road, providing a supremely visceral driving experience. The addition of a roof over your head allows less worry of getting stuck in the elements, while the hatchback design provides for excellent usability and trunk space. The practicality that it offers, combined with its excellent service history means this 1956 AC Aceca is the perfect car for touring and rallies and even casual weekend errands done in style.
- Exterior Colour Silver
- Interior Colour Black
- Drive LHD
- MoT Expiry: Month / Year 0
- Chassis Number AEX 556