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#1 D-Type

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:08

Phil Rainford's pictures from Cholmondeley included this one,which has been identified as an AC-Bristol.
Posted Image

The Classic Cars report includes a picture of the car and says it was built in 1959 from a written off Aceca.

The question "Why?" immediately springs to mind. I can see the sense of making such a single seater in the Cooper-Bristol and 2-litre F2 era, say 1952-55, but by 1959 there would have been little point. It would have been have been out of date compared to the rear-engined Coopers, although admittedly this may not have been apparent at the time. What is more puzzling is where the owner could have used the car. It would only have been eligible for formule libre club racing, or hillclimbs and sprints. Given what it would have cost to build the car, I would have thought a cycle-winged sports car would have been a far more usable proposition.

Does anybody know the story behind the car?

Edited by D-Type, 20 October 2011 - 08:13.


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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 10:08

Each to his own...

If he'd bought the wreck cheaply, and fancied a single-seater for hillclimbing, it wouldn't have been an especially stupid idea. Particularly if he started the project in, say, 1956 or 1957

#3 David Birchall

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 15:26

In Vancouver in the late seventies a friend and I had an Aceca chassis that had only the two parallel tubes plus the comlete front and rear suspension, brakes, wheels etc. The intention was to build a single seater along the lines of the car in the photo but we never started on it. Circumstances changed and the chassis ended up in the eastern US by the early eighties. I wonder if this is the chassis with a story attached?

#4 Ted Walker

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 15:41

I beleive it was constructed from the "remains of a crashed Aceca"

#5 David Birchall

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 17:13

The chassis in Vancouver was from a crashed Aceca-it had then been fitted with a fibreglass coupe' body-Victress I think- and an XK120 engine. These parts we removed and sold off and the bare chassis remained untill sold to a friend in Portland Oregon, who sold it to somebody on the East coast. Might be a totally different car of course but there were not many Acecas built.

#6 Ted Walker

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:22

I think this one came from France.

#7 Peter Morley

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:22

I think this one came from France.


The late Christian Mullaert, from Belgium, owned amongst other things a Tojeiro sportscar and at one time found a Tojeiro type single seater chassis hanging on the wall of a French garage.
He purchased it and later took it to John Tojeiro (not long before John died) and was told that it hadn't been made by Tojeiro.
I don't know what happened after that, the next thing I heard was Christian was ill and then that he had passed away.

Presumably this could be the same car and the basis of the chassis has been found to be AC?

#8 David McKinney

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:13

Surely John Tojeiro would have recognised an AC chassis?

#9 Peter Morley

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 23:58

Surely John Tojeiro would have recognised an AC chassis?


I expect so, the impression I had at the time was that he just didn't want to be helpful (there might have been a financial issue), I think Christian wasn't totally convinced that he hadn't built it - but then he would want to believe that.

#10 cdrewett

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 16:54

Phil Rainford's pictures from Cholmondeley included this one,which has been identified as an AC-Bristol.
Posted Image

The Classic Cars report includes a picture of the car and says it was built in 1959 from a written off Aceca.

The question "Why?" immediately springs to mind. I can see the sense of making such a single seater in the Cooper-Bristol and 2-litre F2 era, say 1952-55, but by 1959 there would have been little point. It would have been have been out of date compared to the rear-engined Coopers, although admittedly this may not have been apparent at the time. What is more puzzling is where the owner could have used the car. It would only have been eligible for formule libre club racing, or hillclimbs and sprints. Given what it would have cost to build the car, I would have thought a cycle-winged sports car would have been a far more usable proposition.

Does anybody know the story behind the car?


It belongs to Nick Upton. He told me that a Frenchman bought a new Aceca and promptly wrote it off. The wreckage was bought and resurrected as a single seater in France, I suppose in the sixties. I can't say why but I suppose it would have been reasonably competitive for clubby racing for a while. It languished until Nick found the remains in France a few years ago, together with some period photos, and has had it immaculately rebuilt by James Harris and his team in Wiltshire.
Chris

#11 D-Type

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 21:16

Thanks for all the information, gents. Is there any information in the Cholmondeley Pageant programme?

So, a French hillclimb and track day car?

#12 cdrewett

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 08:35

Thanks for all the information, gents. Is there any information in the Cholmondeley Pageant programme?


Not really, just in the entry list, but the photo album from last year's press day has a couple of nice pictures. Nick told me that Simon Diffey drove it at the VSCC Goodwood sprint, winning his class and getting 2nd overall.
Chris

#13 cdrewett

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 15:07

Not really, just in the entry list, but the photo album from last year's press day has a couple of nice pictures. Nick told me that Simon Diffey drove it at the VSCC Goodwood sprint, winning his class and getting 2nd overall.
Chris


A bit more information from Nick, and oh dear, another possible two cars one identity situation. The original Aceca was built in 1959 and sold through their Paris agent. Its remains were converted into a single seater, and at some stage the race car got chopped in two. The front end, including chassis plate, stayed in France until apparently resurrected, possibly by Rod Jolley. The chassis from the firewall back may have spent some time in the USA and Canada before returning to France, and that's what Nick got, plus some Aceca bodywork.
Unsurprisingly, the French owner of the front half was less than chuffed when he saw Nick's car at Silverstone Classic, and there will be the usual authenticity dispute if either car comes up for sale.
Meanwhile the British half looks nice and sounds glorious.
Chris

#14 David Birchall

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 15:09

We would like our half back! :)

#15 Alan Cox

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 17:35

To add to the details already posted here by Chris, I have received the following information from James Harris, of Bristol Engineering, who runs the car and regularly drives it for the owner. It confirms what Chris has already posted, but adds some additional detail, and also includes James' view on 'Why?'

We were commissioned to rebuild this car buy the current owner Nick Upton who bought the remains about 10 years ago. It was incomplete and had the beginnings of an AC Cobra body being built on to the chassis but utilising Triumph suspension uprights!!

Nick discovered its heritage from the chassis also confirmed from the remains of the original ACECA it was originally built from which were also with the kit of bits.

On finding out its history he decided to return it to its single seat configuration originally built, as far as I am aware, by Christian Mullaert early on its life.

We at Bristol Engineering rebuilt the car from some photos made available to us using as many of the original components we had with the kit of bits. The main missing component was the original Body.

We know that a sister car has also been rebuilt from the other components that we did not have and re-bodied by Rod Jolley. That car now resides back in France.

It would be sensible to surmise that the original single seater was broken up or at least dismantled at some point and components separated hence the existence of two cars, in my belief both with equal title to the original single seat format, Nick however has the identity of the original ACECA both cars were derived from.

Getting back to the original question "WHY?" i think it is only fair to reply "WHY NOT?". Yes by 1959 the front engined format was on its way out though GP cars such as the P25 BRMs were still running in GP events in 59, though again the little 2 ltr Bristol engine would have been no match for the big over square 2.5 ltr engines produced by the big contenders in 58-59.

I have to say if I had written off my ACECA then, with rebuild costs back to ACECA being far more than buying a new car I would have done the same and would have been more than happy getting fun out of club events, I can only imagine that this is the real reason as to "WHY?".

It is a fantastic car to race even though it is down on power in comparison to its contemporary friends, it is what it is and that is another of histories racing oddities which I hope will continue to add to the entertainment of our Historic Grids.


Many thanks for troubling to respond to my query, James.



#16 D-Type

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 21:07

Many thanks Alan. Please pass my thanks on to James Harris for going to the trouble of answering..

I'm still intrigued with the "Why?". I can understand the case for a single seater in 1959. But I still think that building the car as a cycle-winged "one and a half seater" would have made more sense. Strip off the wings etc and you have a racing car, admittedly with an offset driving position, that would be eligible for the same hillclimbs and club racing as the true single seater and as competitive. In addition, put on the wings and lights and you have a sports car eligible for more hillclimbs and club racing and for the open road on a sunny day.

Edited by D-Type, 25 October 2011 - 21:08.


#17 David McKinney

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 21:44

When I were a lad, racing cars didn't have mudguards or headlights

If I'd been old enough at that time (and rich enough and competent enough) I would certainly have built a single-seater

#18 D-Type

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 21:59

When I were a lad, racing cars didn't have mudguards or headlights

If I'd been old enough at that time (and rich enough and competent enough) I would certainly have built a single-seater

Well, where you were a lad I think you could put number plates on anything and drive it up the road.

(Well, I have definitely seen NZ single seaters with number plates).

#19 David McKinney

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 06:14

Until around 1960 racing cars, including single-seaters, had to display number-plates to show they were registered, as part of which process they had third-party insurance cover. But it was still illegal to drive them on the road unless they had lights, windscreen wipers and "an efficient sounding device"

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#20 David Birchall

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 18:11

A bit more information from Nick, and oh dear, another possible two cars one identity situation. The original Aceca was built in 1959 and sold through their Paris agent. Its remains were converted into a single seater, and at some stage the race car got chopped in two. The front end, including chassis plate, stayed in France until apparently resurrected, possibly by Rod Jolley. The chassis from the firewall back may have spent some time in the USA and Canada before returning to France, and that's what Nick got, plus some Aceca bodywork.
Unsurprisingly, the French owner of the front half was less than chuffed when he saw Nick's car at Silverstone Classic, and there will be the usual authenticity dispute if either car comes up for sale.
Meanwhile the British half looks nice and sounds glorious.
Chris


I don't think this is the same car as another "Aceca" we had in Vancouver. My friend, Peter Price, was a magnet for AC Aces and Acecas and parts. In addition to the Aceca chassis with the Victress body I mentioned earlier there was another that comprised the rear half of an Aceca chassis and the front half of an Ace chassis. Peter fitted an original Ace body and flogged it to a Scotsman in Vancouver who fitted a 289 Ford engine and made the car quite presentable. He sold it in the late eighties I think but I don't know where it went. At this late date I cannot recall where the two chassis ends, or indeed the body, came from but they were original AC parts. Since the Aceca has a different differential mounting than the Ace it should be easy for somebody knowledgeable to spot this car...

#21 Jamesbristolengineering

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 15:17

Until around 1960 racing cars, including single-seaters, had to display number-plates to show they were registered, as part of which process they had third-party insurance cover. But it was still illegal to drive them on the road unless they had lights, windscreen wipers and "an efficient sounding device"


Interestingly enough back in the eighties I remember seeing a lotus 22-24 with cycle wings, lights and plates on the Streets of Sheffield! I think my father knew the owner, I must quiz him on this.


#22 Sharman

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 16:27

Interestingly enough back in the eighties I remember seeing a lotus 22-24 with cycle wings, lights and plates on the Streets of Sheffield! I think my father knew the owner, I must quiz him on this.

Wasn't it an FF (31 I think) this was covered elsewhere but I can't recall the thread title

#23 D-Type

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 16:39

Wasn't it an FF (31 I think) this was covered elsewhere but I can't recall the thread title

it was a Motor Show gimmick and Chapman got his money's worth of publicity.

#24 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 16:52

Wasn't it an FF (31 I think) this was covered elsewhere but I can't recall the thread title

Probably this thread:

Lotus F3 road car?

which does contain a mention of a road-legal Lotus 24 which may be the car referred to by James:

Alan Baillie's Lotus 24 chassis P3 was a road car when he got it - not with the BRM engine however! But with a FF engine and Hewland (it had previously been the prototype Dulon FF).



#25 Sharman

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 19:13

Probably this thread:

Lotus F3 road car?

which does contain a mention of a road-legal Lotus 24 which may be the car referred to by James:

I seem to remember it at a Racing Car Show at the Horticultural Hall, which makes it one of the early shows so 60/62

#26 alansart

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 20:26

Back to the AC-Bristol

Taken a few seconds before Phil's pic. (He was standing about 30ft behind me)

Posted Image
James Harris, AC Monoposto by Alansart, on Flickr

Posted Image
James Harris, AC Monoposto by Alansart, on Flickr

Edited by alansart, 28 October 2011 - 20:27.


#27 David Birchall

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 00:57

The disc brakes don't look right to me-I would prefer drums and they would perform just as well on a car this light.

#28 arttidesco

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 09:25

If I am not mistaken this car or one very similar appeared at race retro at the beginning of the year.

#29 cdrewett

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 10:56

you're not mistaken

#30 Jamesbristolengineering

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:07

The disc brakes don't look right to me-I would prefer drums and they would perform just as well on a car this light.


Unfortunately for the chassis produced between late 1957 to the end of ACE and ACECA production Disc Brakes are what were fitted and as such required for HTP. I have to say even though we are still running a cooking engine in the car, as we develop the full race engine the disc brakes have given me an edge to stay competitive with more powerful cars we get mixed in with. It is always good to know that you all ways have a peddle when you go for it, a bit different when you run drums especially on the faster circuits.


#31 Jamesbristolengineering

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:09

you're not mistaken


Yep, we were at Race Retro.


#32 JBaxter

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 23:06

Not really, just in the entry list, but the photo album from last year's press day has a couple of nice pictures. Nick told me that Simon Diffey drove it at the VSCC Goodwood sprint, winning his class and getting 2nd overall.
Chris


According to my results, this is not quite so. He was 2nd in class and 3rd overall and 9 seconds behind the 1st place car. Don't believe all the commentator tells you.  ;)
Results:- http://www.vscc.co.u...Sprint_2011.pdf

Edited by JBaxter, 17 November 2011 - 11:22.


#33 Allan Lupton

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 23:11

Welcome to this place, James!
It can be quite interesting, not to mention time-consuming. :)

#34 nickupton

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:37

AC Monoposto

The photograph that has appeared and seems to have created some interest is an AC Bristol engined single seater that TT Workshops, now called Bristol Engineering Limited, constructed on a 1959 Tragero chassis which was sent to Paris in 1959 then bodied as an AC Aceca. Our research to date with contact in Paris, from Peter Come, the AC Club in Belgium, indicated that the car in its original form was involved in a crash. The whole of the chassis was then repaired, narrowed and from that was created a single seater.

The AC Belgium contact was not able to provide either photographs of it racing other than indicate its colour. The AC Club of UK had photographs of it in Paris both in its second form after a further crash with an indication that it had come from the States or Canada.

Whilst in France for the major part of its latter career it was owned by the Maitre brothers, the chassis then being again broken up, the front part being sold and developed with ownership in Belgium by Bernard Mullaert.

We were provided with the remaining part of the chassis, AEX 748, in 2001/2002. At that stage very little of its early history, our project then being to construct an AC Ace. However, this was abandoned in 2004/2005. 2006 we undertook the project with TT Workshops and the car emerged for its first sprint meeting at the VSCC Goodwood 2010. Over the subsequent Winter months the car was coloured blue and yellow in the format that you see it now. This Spring and Summer it competed at Silverstone at the VSCC, Silverstone Classic, Mallory Park, Donington and a number of sprints. Excellent reliability and generally mid field results.

Target for 2012 is to take up an invitation with the Historic Grand Prix Club, continue racing in UK together with a couple of events in Europe.

Early clues as to possible racing history in Europe have appeared, indeed only one photograph, undated Chimay.

Names of ownership in France which have been passed to me by Antoine Prunet, Jean Claude Leridon, Beaufish and George and Bernard Maitre.

Incidentally I think our best time at the Silverstone Classic this year was 2.40 with Tony Wood in a Cooper Bristol setting a best of 2.32. Clearly our target for 2012 is to get a little nearer the Cooper Bristols.

So, any help, photographs, history would be much appreciated by us.

Nick Upton


#35 Allan Lupton

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 11:55

What's a Tragero chassis, please?

#36 RogerFrench

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 15:57

Is Tragero meant to be Tojeiro, I wonder?

#37 Allan Lupton

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 18:00

Is Tragero meant to be Tojeiro, I wonder?

I thought it might, but then thought that someone who had prepared such a comprehensive account of what had happened wouldn't get the first bit of all wrong.
That's why I asked.

#38 Simon Thomas

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 13:29

AC Monoposto

The photograph that has appeared and seems to have created some interest is an AC Bristol engined single seater that TT Workshops, now called Bristol Engineering Limited, constructed on a 1959 Tragero chassis which was sent to Paris in 1959 then bodied as an AC Aceca. Our research to date with contact in Paris, from Peter Come, the AC Club in Belgium, indicated that the car in its original form was involved in a crash. The whole of the chassis was then repaired, narrowed and from that was created a single seater.

The AC Belgium contact was not able to provide either photographs of it racing other than indicate its colour. The AC Club of UK had photographs of it in Paris both in its second form after a further crash with an indication that it had come from the States or Canada.

Whilst in France for the major part of its latter career it was owned by the Maitre brothers, the chassis then being again broken up, the front part being sold and developed with ownership in Belgium by Bernard Mullaert.

We were provided with the remaining part of the chassis, AEX 748, in 2001/2002. At that stage very little of its early history, our project then being to construct an AC Ace. However, this was abandoned in 2004/2005. 2006 we undertook the project with TT Workshops and the car emerged for its first sprint meeting at the VSCC Goodwood 2010. Over the subsequent Winter months the car was coloured blue and yellow in the format that you see it now. This Spring and Summer it competed at Silverstone at the VSCC, Silverstone Classic, Mallory Park, Donington and a number of sprints. Excellent reliability and generally mid field results.

Target for 2012 is to take up an invitation with the Historic Grand Prix Club, continue racing in UK together with a couple of events in Europe.

Early clues as to possible racing history in Europe have appeared, indeed only one photograph, undated Chimay.

Names of ownership in France which have been passed to me by Antoine Prunet, Jean Claude Leridon, Beaufish and George and Bernard Maitre.

Incidentally I think our best time at the Silverstone Classic this year was 2.40 with Tony Wood in a Cooper Bristol setting a best of 2.32. Clearly our target for 2012 is to get a little nearer the Cooper Bristols.

So, any help, photographs, history would be much appreciated by us.

Nick Upton


I read over this thread a couple of times and each time have become more confused. What parts of any AC did the "project" begin with other than a bit of a frame? Are there any photographs of these parts? Also I cannot understand what satisfaction can be gained matching the times of a 1952/53 Cooper Bristol at Silverstone in a later special fitted with disc brakes? I do think the car looks very pretty and may well make a good noise but what is it really other than a 5 year old front engined special?
Simon Thomas

#39 RogerFrench

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 15:33

I read over this thread a couple of times and each time have become more confused. What parts of any AC did the "project" begin with other than a bit of a frame? Are there any photographs of these parts? Also I cannot understand what satisfaction can be gained matching the times of a 1952/53 Cooper Bristol at Silverstone in a later special fitted with disc brakes? I do think the car looks very pretty and may well make a good noise but what is it really other than a 5 year old front engined special?
Simon Thomas


Satisfaction may come when it's sold.


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#40 Dutchy

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 12:43

How many Cooper Bristols are there racing in period spec. ?

#41 Peter Morley

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 15:41

How many Cooper Bristols are there racing in period spec. ?


I don't think any of them are running nitro-methane these days!!
But I know what you are saying, another question is how much of them was around in period...

#42 Jamesbristolengineering

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:35

I seem to remember it at a Racing Car Show at the Horticultural Hall, which makes it one of the early shows so 60/62


I think the chap in Sheffield who owned it was called Bill Smith? I think! Father thinks it may not have been a Lotus.



#43 Sharman

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 10:27

Many thanks Alan. Please pass my thanks on to James Harris for going to the trouble of answering..

I'm still intrigued with the "Why?". I can understand the case for a single seater in 1959. But I still think that building the car as a cycle-winged "one and a half seater" would have made more sense. Strip off the wings etc and you have a racing car, admittedly with an offset driving position, that would be eligible for the same hillclimbs and club racing as the true single seater and as competitive. In addition, put on the wings and lights and you have a sports car eligible for more hillclimbs and club racing and for the open road on a sunny day.

Just been thinking about your questions Duncan, yes it might have made more sense to build a sports car but which of us has not yearned to have an open wheel single seater. In all my years in and around the sport I have never been privileged to drive a monoposto at speed, I have pottered to the assembly point, even on public roads, and the handed over to the pilot. The only offer I ever had of a single seater drive was from Frank Harrison who built the FHN (GN with 1172 blown at 24ibs) but he knew he was safe as he was jockey sized and I was tall for my age :lol: so no chance of getting in let alone driving it. So it appears to me that the Aceca Special is in the tradition of the old fashioned special builders, long may idiosyncrasy be with us.

#44 Jamesbristolengineering

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:32

How many Cooper Bristols are there racing in period spec. ?


Interesting question, it could be expanded to how many historic racing cars are still running the same spec as in period? The fact is that be it a Cooper Bristol, Lister Jaguar or Type 35 B Bugatti, If they have been raced continuously through their lives they will have been developed in some shape or form. There is nothing wrong with this in my eyes so long as it is in the spirit of the period.
It is interesting to look at the lap times now, in comparison to period lap times on circuits that have changed little over the years. The trend is that the majority of cars are significantly quicker than the same cars in period.
Some of this can be attributed to more modern set up principles being applied to chassis down to piston crown designs and camshaft grinds that have been better developed over the years. Of course we have to factor in that the circuits them selves are quicker due to better surfaces and run off areas which can build better confidence at the higher terminal speeds. One good circuit to make the comparisons with is of course Goodwood which has changed very little over the years.

Back to the Coopers, these have seen a lot of development over the years, when you take in to account that 140 Bhp was a competitive engine in period the front running cars are now producing 160-170 Bhp, some even claim 180 bhp! I my self am a great believer in the old adage " Torque wins races".

The Monoposto at present has a 120 bhp engine in it and we are by no means the slowest car on the grid in HGPCA events. Cant wait to get the fresh engine in for next season!


#45 bill p

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 16:25

It belongs to Nick Upton. He told me that a Frenchman bought a new Aceca and promptly wrote it off. The wreckage was bought and resurrected as a single seater in France, I suppose in the sixties. I can't say why but I suppose it would have been reasonably competitive for clubby racing for a while. It languished until Nick found the remains in France a few years ago, together with some period photos, and has had it immaculately rebuilt by James Harris and his team in Wiltshire.
Chris


Maybe Nick Upton could make these photographs available ??

Edited by bill p, 10 November 2011 - 16:29.