Practical Classics (UK)


Historical­ly significan­t AC is the first of the breed


Remember the AC Ace from the Nineties? If you don’t, we’re here to enlighten you. AC had been bought by Ford and Autokraft in 1986, as part of the former firm’s march towards owning everything sporty and British. A plan was hatched to rekindle some of the old Cobra’s magic, so a new Ace prototype – called the Ace of Spades – appeared on the Ford stand at that year’s Birmingham Intermotor Show.

The response was uniformly positive, leading AC to green-light the AC Brooklands Ace for production. A bigger, less extreme machine than the Cobra, it was envisioned as a midlevel GT to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-benz SL and Jaguar XJ-S. Two prototypes powered by Ford V6s were produced, one with permanent four-wheel drive. Neither proved too impressive in the performanc­e stakes, so the same 5.0-litre V8 that’d served the Mustang and Cobra was fitted instead.

By the time AC’S laborious, expensive developmen­t process was near completion, the world had changed significan­tly. The days of excess in the late Eighties had given way to a global recession.

Neverthele­ss, AC forged ahead with the now V8-powered Brooklands Ace and officially launched the car in 1993.

Its 5.0-litre engine made 225bhp (further power hikes were available), which was enough to get the Brooklands Ace to 60mph in just

5.9 seconds and top 140mph. A handbuilt aluminium body sat atop a bespoke stainlesss­teel chassis, with four-speed auto or five-speed manual transmissi­ons –

‘This car is the very first production model’

both sending power to the rear axle through a Salisbury limited-slip differenti­al.

This car, currently offered for sale by Historics, isn’t just one of the 46 made, it’s the very first production model. First registered in August 1994, it was retained by the Brooklands-based

(at the time) firm for promotiona­l use. So it’s an incredibly rare version of an already rare automotive curiosity. More than enough to keep an eye on it come sale time…

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 ?? ?? Ally body with a stainless chassis.
Ally body with a stainless chassis.
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 ?? ?? Five-litre Ford V8 also served in the Cobra.
Five-litre Ford V8 also served in the Cobra.

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