Chassis No. BE 319
Engine No. 100D 656
Registration No. 240 DPE
+44 (0)1869 244 255
John Tojeiro’s Ferrari 166 Barchetta inspired design, penned for the one-off sports-racer built for Cliff Davis in 1952, paved the way for one of the most beautiful sports cars ever created, namely the AC Ace. AC purchased Tojeiro’s design and the Ace went into production in 1954. Initially available with AC’s own 2-Litre six-cylinder engine, it was later offered with Bristol’s more powerful six-cylinder unit and Ford’s 2.6-Litre Overhead Valve Zephyr motor, tuned by Ruddspeed.
Equally at home on the road or track the Ace proved its credentials time and time again both in Europe and the USA. With countless wins and a number of championships gained in production sports car championships at SCCA level in the USA, the Ace’s racing abilities could be no better proved than by its class victory at the Le Mans 24-Hour race of 1959. To this day the Ace must surely be regarded as one of the best designs of its era, offering a well-balanced and sporty driving experience for the gentleman driver whilst being simply beautiful and purposeful from every angle.
Given the AC Ace’s remarkable combination of performance and looks, it is no surprise that AC Ace-Bristol Roadsters, such as the original example offered for sale here, have become increasingly sought after by collectors worldwide. Records contained within the huge history file that accompanies this AC Ace-Bristol, indicate that chassis no. BE 319, left the Thames Ditton factory on the 1stJuly 1957 and was new sold via Ken Rudd (of Ruddspeed fame) to A.N.H. Lodge of Yorkshire and registered 240 DPE. The original engine is noted as 100D 656, the car finished in Mist Green with white leather. Gratifyingly the original buff logbook is contained within the history file for ‘240 DPE’ and this, together with AC-Bristol Register records lists subsequent owners of the car as follows:
D.H. Roberts – London – 4thDecember 1961
J.H. Barrett – London – 1stSeptember 1962
Gold Seal Car Co. – London – 27thApril 1966
R.H. Jones – Gloucestershire – 24thMay 1966
(Re-painted car from dark Metallic Grey to Dark Metallic Blue and restored engine in 1975)
‘240 DPE’ remained in Mr. Jones’ ownership until it was purchased by a certain Mr. J.A. “Tony” Bancroft of Skipton, N. Yorkshire on the 27thMarch 1993. One of the authors of “Ace-Bristol Racing,’ a competition history by John McLellan & Tony Bancroft, ‘DPE 240’ and a keen amateur racer, Tony Bancroft, treated the Ace-Bristol to a body-off restoration. With motorsports and fast road use planned ‘240 DPE’ was fitted with various racing modifications including: a wrap-around screen, smaller wheels, a removable role hoop, a hard top and chassis strengthening. In 2001 the original 100D Bristol engine was restored to fast road-racing specification with high compression pistons and a high-lift camshaft by Nuthall Racing. Bancroft retained ownership of ‘240 DPE’ until 2005 competing in numerous historic events and the car featuring in the following publications:
In 2007 ‘240 DPE’ was purchased by Gavin Henderson, another well-known and popular historic racer who has gone on to race AC Cobras and a GT40. Whilst in Henderson’s ownership the Ace-Bristol was expertly maintained and race-prepared by Blakeney Motorsport in Hertfordshire. The current owner purchased the Ace-Bristol from Henderson, via, the legendary London dealers Hall and Bradfield. He planned to continue racing the car but realised that racing was not for him as rapidly as he realized he was not rapid! With motor racing off the menu, ‘240 DPE’ was returned to standard road-trim and the car has simply been used for fast road trips, but could very quickly be returned to race trim and is supplied with an MSA Historical Technical Passport. Maintenance and servicing has continued with Blakeney Motorsport during his period of ownership.
This original example of the legendary Ace-Bristol has mellowed very nicely since its body off restoration of the 1990s by Tony Bancroft. The two most recent owners have entrusted Blakeney Motorsports, well versed in Bristol-engined sports-racing cars, with its care and thus ‘240 DPE’ remains both rapid and a joy to drive. The history file offered with the car is extensive and includes the original buff log-books, current V5C, MSA Historical Technical Passport, countless photographs and slides documenting Tony Bancroft’s ownership and competition use of the car as well as correspondence between Tony Bancroft and subsequent owners. It is currently in standard road trim, but is supplied with a set of 15-inch racing wheels, a roll hoop and a wrap-around screen. It is also supplied with a hard-top.
Equally suitable for fast road use or to return to the track ‘240 DPE’ is sure to offer its future owner with an enjoyable ownership and driving experience and comes from a number of excellent classic stables.