Cliff Davis’s successful Tojeiro sports racer led AC Cars to launch it as the Ace in 1954. Keeping Davis’s elegant Ferrari 166-inspired barchetta design, John Tojeiro’s twin-tube ladder frame chassis, and Cooper-influenced all-independent suspension, AC incorporated their own 2-litre six-cylinder engine. Originating in 1919, this single-overhead-camshaft engine, producing 80bhp (later 100bhp), provided the Ace with respectable performance.
In 1955, AC introduced a hardtop version, the fastback-styled Aceca. By 1956, both models offered the more powerful (up to 130bhp) Bristol six-cylinder engine, a 1,971cc unit based on the pre-war BMW 328 design by Rudolf Schleicher.
Although pricier at £2,011 in 1957, a 22% increase over the AC-engined version, the Bristol-engined Ace gained popularity. Despite the cost, more than half of the 723 cars produced by the time Ace production ceased in 1963 featured Bristol engines.