Auctions and Brokerage
Please note this car is titled 1962. Please note this car is being offered Without Reserve. Please also note this car is titled 1962.
Jim Proffit, California (acquired in March 1983)Dr. Richard Riddell, Laguna Beach, California (acquired from the above in February 1984)
AC stands as one of Britain’s oldest and most storied marques. Owned at one time by motoring pioneer S.F. Edge, AC is known as the maker of fine touring and sports cars. The AC Ace Bristol offered here comes from a respected California collector, and is accompanied by excellent documentation showing consistent use and care over the last 25 years.
The Ace entered production in 1953, with a chassis designed by John Tojeiro and an aluminum body designed and fabricated by Eric George Gray. In 1956, amateur racer Ken Rudd fitted his Ace with a 135 bhp Bristol inline six built under license from BMW, and won nine races in the car. AC took notice and made a deal of its own for a supply of the engines. The enlivened Ace Bristol entered production in 1957, competing at Le Mans in 1957 and 1958, which likely caught Carroll Shelby’s attention when he was putting together his Cobra project. Writing of the AC Ace Bristol in his ABC of British Cars from 1958, John Dudley says, with striking prescience, “The AC is a fine sports car with a growing export market in America.”
Delivered new in October 1959, BEX 1099 was acquired by Dr. Richard Riddell in 1984 and joined his ever-evolving Southern California stable of Type 35 and Type 57 Bugattis. Formerly painted blue, in 1988 the AC was repainted red by Freeway Auto Restoration in San Clemente, California, and documentation from this period speaks to the Ace Bristol being enjoyed from the 1980s well into this century. The service history details ancillary components being replaced or, where possible, repaired. Interestingly, a March 1992 letter from the original British supplier of water pumps relates that the company would dispatch the very last water pump of the correct type it had in stock for fitment to this Ace Bristol.
In 1991, Dr. Riddell and his wife entered the Ace Bristol in the third running of the Colorado Grand rally, and several photos dating from this thrilling event are in the maintenance file. Stored for the past several years, it was road-registered as recently as 2012, according to documentation. Today, the AC has been returned to running order and presents well, retaining its original, matching-numbers block, no. 961, though Dr. Riddell’s notes state that a cylinder head from an Arnolt Bristol, stamped 279, has been fitted.
The simple, timeless design of the AC Ace, showing a near-perfect stance and proportions, is certainly among the greatest of all time. With a file reflecting enthusiast ownership and caring maintenance, this Bristol represents an outstanding opportunity to acquire a well-loved example of a great British sports car.