Despite being one of Britain’s oldest car manufacturers, AC made its best impression with the Ace as debuted at the 1953 London Motor Show. It was one of England’s first post-war sports cars, featuring an attractive body and a simple, yet sporting, chassis. In later years, the design was used by Carol Shelby to create the more blatant Shelby Cobra.
Brothers Charles and Derek Hurlock bought AC during and managed it during this transitional period. They partnered with John Tojeiro and bought the production rights for his upcoming sports car. The Ace essentially became a production version of his 1952 Tojeiro Bristol Special. Like that car, the Ace had four wheel independent suspension and a simple frame consisting of two three-inch diameter tubes. These chassis appealed to the Hurlocks because of it’s easy design.
On top of this sporting chassis sat a striking body that mimicked traits of Italian sports cars. It was built using methods similar to Touring’s superleggera design which used a tube framework to support a welded aluminum skin. An open and spartan roadster body was standard until 1954, when the Aceca Coupe was added with a curved windshield and hinged rear door.
This is an original Factory RHD AC Aceca, a car first registered in 1955.
Occasionally a car comes to the market with truly unique provenance, this is just such a car. Importantly as the quest for cars likely to find favour with Mille Miglia organisers continues to be an ever intense part of the Classic Car buying cycle, such a car as this has very strong appeal & rarely comes to the market.
The first owner of this wonderful AC Aceca YPJ 111 was Francis Richard Henry Penn Curzon, styled as Viscount Curzon. He was involved in Parliament, whilst in Parliament he took up motor racing, winning the 1931 – 24 hour Le Mans race. He ascended to the Peerage in 1929, succeeding his father as the 5th Earl Howe. Earl Howe was Co founder of the British Racing Drivers Club with Dudley Benjafield in 1928 and served as its President until his death in 1964.
Francis Curzon made his race debut at the comparatively old age of 44 in the 1928 Irish TT with a Bugatti type 43.
He entered Le Mans six times between 1929 & 1935. Only missing the 1933 event. For the first year, he was entered as part of the Bentley factory Team. He was one of the original “Bentley Boys”. However, it was in his own car, an Alfa Romeo 8C that he won the race in 1931 driving with Henry Birkin.
Earl Howe had an illustrious motor racing career, he was one of only two men to compete in every running of the RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards.
In 1937 Howe was seriously injured in an accident, challenging Prince Bira for the lead, whilst racing in his personal racing colours of blue & silver at Brooklands in the Campbell Trophy.
Aside from assuming the Presidency of the BRDC, Earl Howe also served as Vice President of the FIA’s Commission Sportive a International, the governing body of International Motor Sport at this time.
Post – War Career.
The Second World War effectively ended Earl Howes front line career in motor racing. After the war he moved into race organising although he continued to prepare and enter cars for other drivers including Tazio Nuvolari. As president of the BRDC & Patron of the newly formed 500 club, he was instrumental in bringing political pressure, so as to resume motor racing with airfields to be used. He can be credited with Silverstone being the host of the British Grand Prix & in turn gaining full Formula One world championship status. He also instituted the annual BRDC Trophy meeting at the same circuit. Under Earl Howes 35 year stewardship, the BRDC went from private dining club to the high-profile motorsport association it has become today.
AC Aceca YPJ 111
This car is currently listed with the AC owners club and correctly listed in their records.
The original colour being the bright blue metaline, the car retains today the original Ex works AC Factory interior colour / beige with blue piping & blue carpet.
The handling of the car is fabulous, the light Aluminium body and Chassis construction ahead of its time, the net result a fabulous drivers car, arguably a super car of the 50s and quite understandably the choice of Earl Howe.
The history file for the car is extensive, with many receipts and invoices charting the car life over the last 60 years of which this car has spent some time in Ireland. Where the upgrade for fast club motorsport use to Ford Zephyr power was done.
We welcome viewings at our premises here in Suffolk at anytime, via an appointment, so please do not hesitate to contact us.
Overseas visitors are most welcome and can be collected from all London airports with accommodation arranged.
Shipping and Delivery
Worldwide delivery of the car can be facilitated with ease. If in mainland Europe, Phil as always will be delighted to deliver the car personally via covered trailer. Beyond Europe international shipping is easily arranged too.