Cobra Kin: 1958 AC Ace-Bristol Roadster

1957 Ac Bristol Race Car Project

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UPDATE 1/15/12 – Gullwing has pulled it off their site, so we can only assume it’s sold.

All car guys are familiar with the Cobra. You know, the Ferrari beating V8 monster built by Carroll Shelby. What many people don’t know is that the All-American Cobra was actually built on a British chassis. AC provided Carroll with their lightweight Ace which they had started producing all the way back in 1953. The first Aces may have been light, but they were also underpowered. That is, until AC stuck a 135hp Bristol six cylinder under the hood. Then they took them to Le Mans to race in 1957 and 1958. Many of these cars were raced from new and this 1958 AC Bristol Roadster is one of them. It was just discovered in Texas and is offered for sale by Gullwing Motor Cars in New York with an asking price of $89,500.

1957 Ac Bristol Race Car Project Rear

This Ace was SCCA raced  by Bill Love in the fifties and sixties. The last owner purchased it back in 1974 and it has sat in Texas since then. It looks like somewhere along the line one of the owners attempted to start a restoration by stripping off the paint. The car was originally red with a black interior, but you cant tell by looking at it. The sale includes the car’s original California pink slip. There are no photos of the engine, but Gullwing claims that the engine is correct and that it does turn over. It is missing a few pieces, but it looks complete enough to warrant a full restoration.

1957 Ac Bristol Race Car Project Interior

Since it was originally a racer, we would want to do some research and take it back to how it looked when it was being flung around the track. If you can get ahold of some old SCCA magazines, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a few photos. We are sure this would be a welcome addition at just about any vintage racing event. Sure it is not a Cobra, but at least people would not come up to you asking if it is real or not. Fantasy Junction sold a survivor example a while back which could be used as inspiration. A special thanks goes out to Kyle K for sending this one in.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. John Bromer

    Gullwing Motor Cars needs to get their heads out. They keep coming up with vastly overpriced cars. This is the latest example.

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  2. Craig Bolton

    I can’t see a way to ever not be upside down on this car, at this price. Of course, that really isn’t the point to a restoration, is it? There are plenty of ways to spend more money, faster, for less satisfaction.

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  3. Barn Finds

    The price does seem steep for a project AC. Perhaps Gullwing is hoping that the racing history adds value here. If it were a 1957 with race history it would be worth substantially more in my book because it would qualify for a few more events. Still, clean examples of this car have gone for between $140k and $275 when they come to market. It would be a gamble for sure.

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  4. Gary Fogg

    If they had some pictures or race history to go along with it [ although having the original pink slip is cool ] I could see the asking price. But considering the current economy I think they need a little more “wiggle room” in the price.

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  5. Mark

    nutso price for a project. Prospective owners under 5’7″ need only apply.

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  6. Gary Fogg

    Yes ! The one drawback to Cobra’s, Ace-Bristols, MG’s, etc is you have to be SHORT to be COMFORTABLE in them !!! Is every race driver from Great Britain the size of a jockey ?

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  7. Craig Bolton

    Gary, apparently so! My Lotus Europa is so tight, when I decided to go open-wheel racing, I bought a Brabham. Still British, but Aussies Black Jack and Ron Tauranac built cars for full-sized men.

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  8. Gary Fogg

    My 777 MGB is so small for me being 6’1″ that I do not enjoy driving it [ even though I am installing a Buick 215 aluminum V8 in it ]. My friend has built several Cobra “kit cars” for a rich guy and I have had the opportunity to ride in and drive them. They are fun but VERY uncomfortable for me to drive. One draw back to being full sized !

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  9. mikey

    Indeed the room is not there. Even as a teen I remember the comfort issue when these were new. Here is a tip, and I shouldn’t be doing this. But, for you British loving sport cars guys………sit in a ’67 – ’73 Lotus Plus 2.You want comfort and leg room? You will be stunned and amazed……………..At 6’1″……….I have the set pulled up. Sorry, off topic.

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  10. Jerry

    Regarding legroom, this was improved during the production run of the Ace.
    I know from experience when comparing my own Bristol engined example to an earlier AC engined example I sat in. It definitely makes a difference. According to factory data later models were improved upon again regarding footbox space.

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