Films: 1962 AC Bristol: The Grasshopper
5
UP NEXT
Made To Drive | S13 E1
1996 Volvo 850 R: Sleeper Estate
Become a Member,
Watch the Full Episode

Become a Petrolicious Member to access exclusive content, our new printed magazine - Drive Tastefully Quarterly, member pricing in the P Shop, access to events and more.

Learn more
Made To Drive | S13 E07

1962 AC Bristol: The Grasshopper

An ex-SCCA race car makes for a perfect southern California runabout.
20
View Comments
Up Next
Made To Drive
VIEW ALL

20
Leave a Reply

13 Comment threads
7 Thread replies
12 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
Robert in LAAlan Robsonrobin@carsusa.comBohemianracerP-Nut Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Alan Robson
Alan Robson

“When you get in a car, you become it” is now, by far and above, my new favorite automotive quote. Epic video, car, story and person.

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

That is quite an LA point of view. The prevailing view here tends to be that a car is a bit like a suit of clothes. A garaged and lightly driven car lasts and holds its appearance for decades. Because cars last so long in this weather, people may have two or more for different occasions. With a car like an AC Bristol, well, that is quite a statement, anywhere, but especially here in LA.

robin@carsusa.com
robin@carsusa.com

Hi All,
Thanks so very much for all your wonderful comments, information and support. I really love this world :-). Hope to see all of you at a car event soon.

With sincere regards,
Robin

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

Thanks so much for showing us your car. Your AC Bristol is so significant as a transitional design, much of which was used without alteration by Shelby, for his Cobra. That car, by the way, Cobra #1 is going on display at the Peterson Museum, opening February 22. The suspension with transverse leaf springs, and the innovative subframe tying engine and differential into one piece, were so effective, that initially Shelby did not make any changes to the configuration. The 260ci V8 was installed in an engineless AC Ace, and the car was tested on the track.

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

Here is some background material on the car. Apparently this is an “AC Ace” in “Bristol Specification” with Bristol being the engine builder. Apparently 686 such cars were built. From the attached article: “In 1956, the highly regarded 1,971-cc Bristol six became available, upgrading the standard Ace to Ace-Bristol specification. This high-revving, state-of-the-art power unit initially produced 125 bhp at 5,750 rpm, which rose to 128 hp in its ultimate D2 specification, care of increased compression from 8.5:1 to 9:1. The engine could trace its origins back to BMW’s advanced pre-war 328 design, which helped make it successful in racing… Read more »

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

Apparently the body is made from a light alloy, and not fiberglass. From some of the compound curves below the front headlights, which are easy to execute in glass, and difficult to do on an English wheel, you might think glass, but it is an aluminum alloy. Comparisons are often made between this chassis and that of a Ferrari barchetta of the time.

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

Apparently the Bristol 100D2 engine, in this car, a 2 liter inline six, was developed by Bristol from the BMW M328 engine that Bristol produced in England under license from BMW during the 50s. Both Bristol D2 and BMW M328’s are push rod engines w/ aluminum blocks & heads, a cross flow configuration, and hemispherical combustion chambers. Valves are overhead. https://wikivisually.com/wiki/BMW_M328.

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

I found an image that shows a few of the exhaust valve transverse rods. There are two rocker covers at a wide angle. This looks like a double overhead cam engine, and is not. There are two rocker shafts; one on each side. The intake shaft has rockers to drive the intake valves AND it has intermediate rockers that drive six transverse push rods, across the top of the engine block, that in turn drive rockers, on a second rocker shaft above the exhaust valves. One cam in the block. Two rocker shafts. comment image

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

The 1952 Siata 300BC Barchetta also uses the same kind of front suspension as this AC Bristol, with a transverse leaf spring being used as the upper front control arm. This provided exceedingly low unsprung weight. The AC Ace and AC Ace – Bristol use the transverse leaf spring front and back, for fully independent suspension. A layered, leaf spring is a sharply progressive rate spring. Progressive rate springs provide a great deal of chassis roll control. So sway-bars are not so necessary in these cars. These AC roadsters and the Italian barchettas of the time were on parallel development… Read more »

Bohemianracer
Bohemianracer

Very cool story, beautiful car. This fine lady is on the right track.

P-Nut
P-Nut

Great story. The owner is an inspiration for women to become leaders in technical areas. Happy to share this with my daughter.

Dwight Watts
Dwight Watts

Thanks for the great video. I enjoyed listening to your story… I hope your company prospers, so you can do more videos. Good luck Robin

Barrett Benton

Fabulous car, but even more fabulous owner with a hell of a story of her own. Petrolicious hits yet another homer.

Bruce Brawn
Bruce Brawn

Hands down my favorite car of all time. I doubt i will ever own one because the values have gotten crazy. Lots of them were converted to V8’s because of the Cobra connection.
If memory serves the Bristol engine was BMW derived. So, maybe a Cobra kit car with a BMW engine? That would be close.

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

I would stay with a small straight six or four if you can. From a Hemming’s article about the Bristol and the Cobra: “The straight-six AC Ace-Bristol is Dave Brubeck: airy, light, jazzy, satisfying. The V-8 AC Cobra is the Rolling Stones: faster, harder, slightly indelicate, and letting you feel just a little bit dirty for having been involved.” I saw the first ‘production’ Cobra, not the prototype, but the 289 production version, this weekend at the Petersen Museum. And it is not my car. There is no way to open that thing up off a closed course. https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hsx/2014/03/Easy-as-ABC—Ace-Bristol-Cobra/3735601.html

jeff2
jeff2

Great stuff!

ALF22
ALF22

I really hope one day such a nice car will find ME! 😉

Robert in LA
Robert in LA

Lovely video. Great car. Fun owner, who shows every sign of knowing everything there is to know about moving cars across oceans.

Jim Graham
Jim Graham

Fantastic feature. Beautiful car.

Dennis White
Dennis White

Thank God, I thought I was going to miss my weekly fix. Halfway through detox but can now rest!