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Converted to Ruddspeed specification by Ken Rudd in February 1963
Registered : May 25th 1955
Chassis Number : AE78
Engine Number : 5278023E
UK Registration : 352 ACE
AE78 was supplied by the legendary AC dealer Ken Rudd to Mr. C. T. Atkins in Surrey, England, and first registered on May 25th 1955.
Registered originally as ‘XPD 674’ the car has since benefitted from securing the valuable personal number ‘352 ACE’. Being manufactured in 1955, the car is eligible for a number of the most important race and touring events, including the Mille Miglia (see the section ‘Spares’ below and the AC engine).
In 1961, with the continuing supply of the Bristol engine under threat, and the evolution to the Cobra still in the near future, AC turned to the legendary English tuner Ken Rudd to supply and fit a tuned version of the 2.6 litre straight six Ford Zephyr engine. Thirty seven such cars were produced by AC Cars before the launch of the Cobra, Towards the end of production the Ace was also made available with the 2.6-litre overhead-valve Ford Zephyr engine installed. The first cars were converted by Ken Rudd of Ruddspeed before the factory took over.
Not only is our lovely AC Ace a great joy to drive but AE78 is without the shadow of a doubt one of the very rare examples of AC so accurately documented with numerous invoices and letters signed by Ken Rudd personally. This car is much rarer than the 37 examples of a Ruddspeed Ace manufactured by AC Cars. The number of cars prepared by Ken Rudd is unknown but thought to be only a handful. This car is not only one of those few but a also early enough to be MM eligible,
AE78 is one of these very rare examples, with the History File containing invoices confirming the work together with letters signed by Ken Rudd personally.
Prior to its restoration the car had been stored for several decades, showing just 82,976 miles when the restoration was completed and the car presented for its first MOT test.
The current indicated mileage of 92,922 is supported by the several subsequent MOT inspections and is therefore very likely to be realistic.
During the sixteen years post restoration, the car has been in the ownership of well-known enthusiasts and rallymen John Ruston and Paul Wignall, then it was part of significant private collections.
During the period 1992 to 2005 the car was restored completely from the bare chassis by the leading AC specialists, ‘Classic Autos’ of Kings Langley, England. All the work performed is well-documented within the history file, including copious communication between ‘Classic Autos’ principal, Aubrey Finburgh, and the car’s owner.
3. Specification & Upgrades
- ‘Ruddspeed’ 2.6 Litre straight-six engine, including the original alloy cylinder head and triple SU carburetors
- converted to Rack & Pinion steering
- disc brakes to the front
- driver’s removable roll bar
- tonneau cover accommodating the roll bar
- four speed gearbox and overdrive
- fitted with 16” wire wheels, as original, and Michelin tyres
- set of 15” race wheels (see ‘Spares’ section below)
- 40 Litre petrol tank
- during the engine rebuild, it was converted to use unleaded fuel
- AC straight-six engine ‘RMC 18542-1’
- AC gearbox ‘60348JB’
- Set of four 15”wire wheels with Avon tyres
Though exempt from MOT requirements due to its age, as a matter of good practice the Ace has undergone regular inspections and holds a valid MOT Certificate until June 20th 2019.
6. Servicing & Maintenance:
Post restoration, the car has been professionally serviced and maintained, including a full service in January 2019 by the ‘Project Workshop Ltd’ in Bicester, England, for an total of GBP 4.747 (5.500€).
7. Competitive Use:
The car has been used in sprints and hill climbs, some of which are documented in the history file.
260 000 €