1963 AC Ace

Ruddspeed Roadster
$149.3M worth of cars at RM Sotheby's Monterey
Thursday, 12 August - Saturday, 14 August 2021
Sale Price
$300,000 - $375,000
Est. Range
14 August 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Older restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis no. RS5030. Red over black. 2.6-liter Ford Zephyr six with triple SU carbs and Ruddspeed Stage 4 tune to 170hp, 4-speed, painted wire wheels, Avon tires, woodrim steering wheel.

Evaluation: From the Feldman collection. The 30th of just 36 or 37 Aces built with the 2.6-liter Ford engine. Restored and used at the California Mille, Copperstate 1000, and Colorado Grand. Paint condition and chrome are in good condition. Interior seats look well used. Fading on the weather stripping. A fair amount of oxidation on the undercarriage and exhaust. A used but sold and proven car, and arguably the most desirable car out of Feldman’s collection of seven rare ACs.

Bottom Line: Most car enthusiasts know the basic story of how the AC Ace morphed into the Shelby Cobra, with Carroll Shelby swooping in with his good connections and Ford V-8 power just as AC’s supply of Bristol engines was dwindling. But there was a short period when AC used Ford Zephyr sixes, offered in various tunes by Ruddspeed with up to 170 hp available. It “snarls with fierce relish,” said Car and Driver. The Zephyr engine was shorter than the tall Bristol six, allowing AC to restyle the Ace’s nose with the shape eventually used on the Cobra.

With just three-dozen built before the Cobra showed the way of the future, Ruddspeed Aces are a seriously unusual sight, especially in the U.S. This one’s price beat expectations, but bidders recognized both the rarity and usability of this nimble roadster, which is still about half the price of a 289 Cobra but certainly not half the car.

by Andrew Newton
30 August 2021
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.