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Lot 22

2019   |   Amelia Island 2019

1957 AC Ace Bristol

Estimate

$300,000 - $350,000

Chassis

BEX 274

Engine

10 0D 603

Car Highlights

One of Only 466 Ace Bristols Built; the Definitive AC Sports Car
Raced in Regional SCCA Events at Thompson and Lime Rock in 1957
Retains Matching-Numbers 100D Engine per Factory Records
Versatile Model Eligible for the Most Desirable Concours and Tours
Largely Original Example, Never Before Exhibited or Offered for Public Sale

Technical Specs

1,971 CC OHV Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Three Solex Carburetors
125 BHP at 5,500 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Finned-Aluminum Drum Brakes
4-Wheel Independent Suspension with Transverse Leaf Springs, Lower Wishbones, and Shock Absorbers
Register to Bid

Gerald Henry Lehrer, Baltimore, Maryland (acquired new via AC Imports Ltd. in 1957)Elmer Wilcox, Buffalo, New York (acquired in 1974)Current Owner (acquired from the above)

SCCA Regional Thompson, 1957, Lehrer, No. 111SCCA Regional Lime Rock, 1957, Lehrer, No. 111SCCA Regional Lime Rock, 1957, Lehrer, No. 111 (12th Overall)

One of the finest all-around sports cars of the 1950s was the AC Ace Bristol – a lightweight British roadster that combined quality construction, timeless beauty, and giant-killing performance in one effective package. Although AC Cars Ltd. produced a mere 466 Bristol-powered Aces between 1956 and 1963, these hand-built, aluminum-bodied cars dominated the two-liter category in international racing, earning class wins in English sports car events, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and in the American SCCA championship.

According to accompanying AC factory records, this Ace Bristol, chassis BEX 274, is an original left-hand-drive export model, completed on April 17, 1957. Originally finished in silver with red leather upholstery and equipped with the 100D engine (numbered 603), this car was shipped to the US and sold new through Hap Dressel’s AC Imports in Arlington, Virginia.

The first private owner of BEX 274 was Gerald Henry Lehrer, a resident of Baltimore. Lehrer, who had previously raced a Jaguar XK120, campaigned the new Bristol at regional SCCA events at Thompson and Lime Rock during the summer of 1957. Wearing race no. 111, Lehrer’s only known result was a 12th Overall finish in the D- and E-Production race at Lime Rock on July 28. When Lehrer relocated to Southern California in the late 1950s, his AC was sold and remained on the East Coast. In 1974, Elmer Wilcox of Buffalo purchased BEX 274 from a local dealership and repainted it white to match an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider he had owned years earlier. Early in his ownership, Mr. Wilcox would join his friend – who had a Shelby Cobra – on weekend drives throughout Upstate New York. When not in use, he stored the AC in a single-car garage that he had built in his backyard and affectionately called “the Bristol Shed.”

Recently discovered after two decades of static storage, this Ace Bristol presents in well-kept and largely original order. Not only does the car still retain its matching-numbers engine and factory data tag, its beautifully patinated red leather interior and carpeting remain intact. The chassis and bodywork appear to be well preserved and quite presentable, and although the car has not been run and will require mechanical recommissioning, it could certainly be maintained and enjoyed in its charming, as-found condition.

Not only are Aces among the most beautiful sports cars of their time, they are especially endearing to drive. A Bristol is an ideal companion on tours such as the California Mille or the Colorado Grand, and in historic racing they are always competitive, sought-after entries. This particular example, with its period-competition pedigree and long-term ownership, is all the more appealing.

A wonderfully versatile and enticing 1950s sports car, this Ace Bristol ought to provide its new owner many years of enjoyment.