Martlet 4ce – AC Ace replica
For many years, the AC Ace has captured the hearts and minds of many a young boy, myself included. This elegant sports car was the foundation of the world-famous cobra but stands as a historically significant car in its own right.
I spotted the opportunity to create a recreation of the AC Ace utilising the underpinnings of an easily accessible period sports car, and the Martlet 4ce was born.
The original starting point for the project was a flash mould taken from an original Ace in the 1970s that we imported from Switzerland. With the values of these beautiful cars averaging around £300,000, no-one in their right mind would allow a fibreglass mould to be taken from their original car today.
I investigated the best foundations for the body to sit on, and opted for un-modified pre ‘65 Triumph Vitesse chassis, using all Triumph running gear; upgrading the suspension and chassis rails as we went. The key here is that should you so wish, you could bolt a Vitesse body straight back on to the chassis. By taking this route the car is classed simply as a re-body by the DVLA and we could stick much closer to the original Ace design than would be possible taking the IVA route. E.g. No side repeaters, separate indicators, dial locations etc.
The beautiful car you see here for sale today was the buck used to make a production mould for our replica AC Ace business that was subsequently adjusted to a finished body.
6 years on, many hours of work, a lost finger, a divorce, a sum of money I dare think about and I’ve have come to the hard realisation that I’m not ever going to find the time to take this project any further and wanted to give someone else the chance to see it through to completion.
The main thing that stands out with the project is the exceptional level of finish achieved with the body, I had to remove any imperfections to avoid these being replicated in the mould. This alone has taken months of work and the quality of the finish needs to be seen to be fully appreciated. I have hidden the inch difference in wheelbase and the smaller 15” wheels by modifying the wheel arches to accommodate whilst not losing the shape and the lines. The aim was to create a car, that would cause reason to question whether it was an original car, and as you will see in the list of parts I went to the finest levels of detail without budget restraints.
Brasscraft Windscreen with glass wind wings
Brasscraft hood mechanism and frame
P700 replica headlights with sidelights to enable indicators to be side lamps
Original Ace Lucas L539 side lamps / indicators
Austin Healey wire wheels (15”) with very low mileage Firestone F560 tyres with Official AC spinners
Custom replica Ace Dash
Original Ace Smiths Fuel & Oil gauges
Original Ace Lucas Ammeter
Original Ace Lucas P switch
Original Ace Lucas Headlight/Ignition switch
Period Smiths Jaguar Rev-Counter and Speedo
Period 3 prong wooden steering wheel with central bacolite horn boss
Period central mounted rear-view mirror
Period reconditioned handbrake from an e-type
Original Silent Travel Ace Door lock and mechanisms
Period Fuel Filler Cap
Original Lucas L542 rear lights
Period seats and runners fitted
Correct period number plate lights and boot handle
Replica pedal box (supplied by Hawk)
Un-modified 1964 Triumph Vitesse Chassis
Engine. 2.0L Triumph unit with twin stromberg carbs, (had planned to fit triple webbers’ to this at a later date).
Triumph Spitfire prop shaft
Front – Spax ride and height adjustable suspension
Rear – Lowering block fitted to upgraded triumph rear suspension
Front disk brakes with goodridge braided hoses
Rear drum brakes
Custom gear linkage to accommodate driving position
Custom metal gearbox tunnel & handbrake mechanism
Rebel wiring loom – enabling indicator to be part of the rear light (allowed on a pre-1965 vehicle).
Custom build hinges for doors, bonnet and boot (all locks working)
Custom lowered floorpans
Cobra fibreglass boot lining
Alloy petrol tank (requires some fettling prior to fitting)
Folder of engineers drawings for any custom brackets/fabrications.
I have no doubt we will have forgotten some things but have tried to provide as much detail as possible. With a few weekends work you would be able to get this project finished.
The jobs left to do (that I can remember)
Wiring loom fitting requires completion
Engine ancillaries need re-fitting
Exhaust rear-box needs sourcing and fitting
Fuel tank needs fettling and installing
Brakes and clutch need plumbing to master cylinders (lines are run along the chassis already)
Handbrake mechanism needs a wire to connect to rear-drums and brake handle
Carpet set required
You may wish to fit a tonneau cover or roof (original spec hood frame included in sale)
I’m also including the production mould with the car and with the moulds you could have the option to further productise this. The original plan was to build a space frame chassis that would bolt straight onto the Vitesse chassis and then bolt the bodywork straight to the spaceframe, making a high quality recreation at a fraction of the cost of an original car.
Images of the production moulds can be seen here
Clicking on any of the pictures will enlarge them, clicking again will fullscreen the image.
If you do have any questions please call Ollie on 07815 563167 or Stu on 07917 877595.