[ 1959 AC
ACE BRISTOL Sports ] ::
FROM HELP PAGE 132:
Three bit grainy photos sent to us by
Simon Barnard (UK)
taken c1959. Driver is his father Joseph Barnard and passenger is uncle
John Bray. Puzzling logo on the side of the car. --
Registration is Surrey; the car is cca
1959 AC Ace Bristol Sports. AC latterly
famous for the AC Cobra, introduced the Ace in 1953. In 1956
introduced option of Bristol Cars' two-litre 120 bhp straight-six, 116
mph with 0–60 mph in 9 secs. Further mods made in 1961 to the Bristol
engine by Ken Rudd, a racer of ACs.
Enquiry details August 2018: Please could
you identify this car. It was taken c. 1959, the driver is my father
Joseph Barnard and the passenger my uncle John Bray. There is a logo on
the side of the car but I have not been able to identify it.
Thank-you. Simon Barnard
Hi, Thanks your Email and the interesting
attachments. We would be very interested to learn your father's
connection with this car. The car is obviously an AC and from the badge
it seems to be a Bristol. It has a radiator mask so is likely a later
Ace. The registration is Surrey County Council of October 1959. We do
not have any in-depth knowledge of AC cars or of their competition
history. However, a bit of web research suggests this car 27 MPD may
have connections with a Bill McCowen who is linked with competing with
this car and the car having been upgraded via Don Moore to a Rudd
specification. As this was happening in the UK and abroad in 1960/1, it
would have been happening at the very time the photos were taken. Do you
have any additional info on the photos ?
Dear Bozi, Thank-you so much for your very prompt and
informative reply. I believe my father owned the car, (unfortunately he
died eight years ago so I have no further details and my mother, who is
still alive, has no recollection of it). However I can say the photo was
taken near Northallerton, N.Yorks, where my
mother still lives, and can be dated to 1959/60 because he was
renovating the house at that time, as can be seen by the building works.
He didn't have the car for very long because by the time my brother and
I came along in April 1960 he had exchanged it for a big 1958 Austin A95
Countryman - my mother tells me he wanted to ditch his playboy image! He
talked of many of his cars, a Singer, an XK 120, an Aston DB 2/4 but
never this one as far as I am aware. I'm a little confused, I thought
AC, Ace and Bristol were all separate makes of car, could you explain?
Do you know what the logo on the side of the car represents? Apologies
but I don't have any more information. Thank-you so much for your help
again. Regards Simon
We can recapitulate as follows. The
registration is Surrey County Council which was issued in early October
of 1959. It has a radiator mask which ties in with the dating of
it being a later 1959 Ace. The badge on the bonnet has two parts, the
circular AC badge and a rectangular small Bristol badge below it, confirming
it is an AC Bristol. The car is of age/model to indicate it was new at
the time of registration. You believe your father owned it from new and
sold it by April 1960, so he owned it for only for six months.
The car is an "AC" manufactured in West Norwood by company
which was formally known as Autocars & Accessories, and who started
by making the 'Auto Carrier' three wheel deliver vehicles, one wheel at
the back and box at the front. This was followed in 1907 by the 'AC
Sociable', a three wheeler again similar configuration with
driver/passenger in front with tiller steering. In 1913 they produced in
Thames Ditton a four wheel two seater sports car, which got interrupted
by WW1. Following the war they started making a sports cars which proved
successful in competitions but had a checkered history financially undergoing
a number of owners and name changes. After WW2 as 'AC Cars' they
received a large government order for 'Invacar' the ubiquitous blue
invalid carriages which carried on to 1976. Car production restarted
1947 with the 2 litre, and in 1953 they introduced the 'AC Ace Sporstcar'
with lightweight body and 2 litre engine. In 1956 the AC Ace became
available fitted with the pre-war BMW-designed, but Bristol-produced,
Bristol Cars two-litre 120 bhp straight-six engine, 116 mph with 0–60
mph in 9 secs. A further modification was made in 1961 to the Bristol
engine by Ken Rudd but Bristol then ceased production of this engine.
Carroll Shelby suggested to AC Cars to use the Ford V 8 instead, and
production of the 'AC Cobra' began in 1962, when production of the Ace
ended. At the time, the AC Cobra 427 was the fastest
"production" car in the world.
We understand that you are not aware of who he sold 27 MPD to. We do not
have any in-depth knowledge of AC cars or ability to trace ownership.
This may be available from the AC Owner Club. We have noted however from
our searches on the internet that by 1960 a racing driver William (Bill)
McCowen was linked with competing in this car still carrying the
numberplate 26 MPD. Bill McCowen is mentioned as being the driver of an
AC Ace Bristol 26 MPD 25 MPDat a number of important meetings in UK and abroad for
the next couple of years and is linked with Ken Rudd who was also racing
his own very hot AC Ace Bristol.
As far as we have been able to ascertain, the car does not seem to have
survived under that registration number as it does not show up on the
DVLA website. One possibility is that the car may have moved to the USA.
We have noted the badge on the side of 25 MPD which appears to be a lion
rampant with writing above and below. That shape of lion rampant is
quite common to many badges (Peugeot logo for instance) and without a
higher definition photo of the badge we can not identify it any further.
As the badge was on the car when owned by your father, it is probably
something to do with him; school/club/association. A thought which may
have no connection, but Bill McCowen is mentioned in a number of places
as being a member of the Scuderia Light Blue racing team.
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