AC Aceca (1954 – 1963) Review

AC Aceca (1954 – 1963) At A Glance


+All the good points of the AC Ace

-But without the wind-in-the-hair exhillaration

The front-end styling of the Ace and Aceca reportedly traces back to a design done by Pinin Farina for AC in the late 1940s. 

For those looking for Ace-style thrills without the convertible roof, AC launched the Aceca coupe in 1954 and continued it until 1963. Although the Aceca was closely related to the Ace, and had similar front and rear styling, no body panels were shared between the two. It was billed as a grand tourer, and sold with more luxury features than the roadster. It was hand-built in the British tradition, with ash wood. A notable feature was the hatchback at the rear, making the Aceca only the second car, after the 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 to incorporate a hatchback in a coupe. The car is rather light owing to a tubular frame, aluminium engine block and aluminium body panels. Large 16" spoked road wheels and near 50/50 weight distribution allowed exceptional handling on substandard road surfaces. Later Acecas feature front-wheel disc brakes (added in 1957), while all share transverse leaf spring IRS, articulated rear half-axles, worm-gear steering, an optional overdrive on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, curved windscreen, and leather-covered bucket seats. The suspension is independent at the front and rear using transverse leaf springs.

The chassis was similar to the Ace's, but it had heavier-duty main rails, an extra crossmember and rubber mountings for the differential to reduce the amount of road noise transmitted to the cabin. It was in the interests of sound  insulation that glass fibre front and rear bulkheads were also used. Rather than the tubes of the Ace, doors and tailgate were wood-framed in the traditional manner. Rather like the Ace, the Aceca was transformed when the Bristol-engine was installed in 1956. Alhough it was markedly more expensive than the AC-engined car, the Aceca-Bristol was a commercial success and outsold the lesser car, with 169 leaving the factory (compared with 151 AC-engined cars).

The Aceca originally had an 2.0 litre AC engine but the similar Brtistol-engined Aceca-Bristol was also available alongside the original from 1956 to 1963 when production of the engine ceased.

151 Acecas, 169 Aceca-Bristols and eight 2.6 litre triple carb Ruddspeed Ford-engined models had been built when production halted in 1963.

The main difference between the Aceca and Aceca-Bristol was the engine. Both used a straight six unit, but the Aceca shared its 90 hp (67 kW), 1,991 cc (121.5 cu in) overhead camshaft AC engine with the lighter AC Ace while the Aceca-Bristol used a 125 hp (93 kW) "D-Type" 2.0 L (1971 cc/120 in³) unit sourced from Bristol Cars 

The Aceca-Bristol was also available with a milder "B-Type" Bristol engine of 105 hp (78 kW). The Bristol specification added $1000 to the Aceca's $5,400 price tag in the United States. In the UK, the basic car cost £1722.