Author Topic: BEX 437 INFORMATION?  (Read 20617 times)

Laurence Kent

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BEX 437 INFORMATION?
« on: August 31, 2012, 02:43:41 »
Does anyone have any information on BEX 437 beyond the mid-1980s?  I own AEX 443, which received BEX 437's motor (Bristol #804 D-2 tuned and upgraded for racing), its gearbox, as well as its badges, instruments, competition exhaust, and competition clutch.
   
        In 2010 I was able to partially get around some rather strict privacy laws here in British Columbia, Canada, and was able to get copies of the original registrations for both AEX 443 and BEX 437, thus ending years of having had incorrect information about the cars' histories and exactly what I have. I then set about writing the correct history of my Ace as it is, which essentially is "a tale of two Aces".
   
        BEX 437 was imported to Vancouver by the local official AC dealership at the time, British Sportscar Centre. It was put on a rotating pivot during the summer of 1958 so as to attract customers. During the summer a local restauranteur called Bob Constabaris put a deposit on it, and was told he could take delivery on November 1. Constabaris, who had already raced an Austin-Healey locally and was heavily involved with the British Columbia sportscar club, proceeded to race BEX 437 as of the summer of 1959, when the club's official FIA Westwood track was inaugurated. Constabaris proved to be a successful racer, driving BEX 437 to several impressive victories, particularly between 1960-63, sometimes even beating a local short-nose D-Type.
   
        As the 1960s progressed, cars became more powerful and better-handling...which started to slowly diminish Constabaris' class E, D, C, and overall, top 3 finishes, but he racked up an impressive number of points nonetheless. As part of his divorce settlement, BEX 437 was sold off to someone who decided to turn it into some sort of Cobra. The new owner gave it Cobra snake badges and a Chevrolet 327 motor.  AEX 443's CL series AC engine was suffering from internal corrosion, hence its original owner, Hugh A. Mann, took advantage of the availability of BEX 437's discarded, race-prepared Bristol motor and related parts.  Sportscar Club of British Columbia records show that BEX 437 never raced in British Columbia with its new drivetrain, and given how heavy a Chevrolet 327 is, it comes as no surprise. The last information I have is that in 1985 BEX 437 was sitting in a field in Delta, British Columbia, exposed to the elements and in a bad state of disrepair, including structural cracks. In 2010 I was able to learn that it had not been insured in British Columbia for decades. I am wondering whether anyone knows if it was restored, and possibly wound up in another jurisdiction? Or did it just crumble away in the field?  Any information would be greatly appreciated, as it would allow me to finish my car's history. Thank you for your attention.
   
                    Laurence Kent

MkIV Lux

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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2012, 08:11:01 »
a photo of BEX437 can be found here
   http://www.acaceca.de.tl/
   
   also a some pics of Constabaris'car which this site puts in relation with AEX443 [?]

AC Ace Bristol

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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 20:01:08 »
Laurence.
   
   Glad to see you are still pursuing the History of your Ace AEX443.
   
   Please find detailed below copy of response from Vince Howlett reference previous correspondence between You , Vince and myself during tracing History of BEX333.
   
   Bob Constabaris in fact had 2 Ace Bristol cars  and also raced against James (Jim) Parsons  in his Austin Healey in the late 1950 s early 1960s.
   
   Some of the attached including  links might be of further assistance to you and may hopefully generate new information on the Race History of BEX437, [;)] AEX443 [;)] and possibly BEX333.
   
   .
   quote:
   ---------------------------------------------------------------------
   From Vince Howlett via email
   
   Hi Keith and Laurence et al,
   Keith: I will be going to the Seattle Historic races July 4 weekend, so I phoned Joann Parsons. She said she had sent you the photos and plaques, which I then saw confirmed on the forum. She says she won’t be able to come to the races, but said she hoped I have fun. I also see that Tom Johnston sent you contact info for Ed Clements. As for contacting Pete Lovely, he now has Alzheimer’s so I don’t think he will be able to help you. And Tom Carstens passed away a few years ago. In the photos posted October 16, the one labelled “BEX 333 at Westwood, August 16th, 1959” also has Al Doyan in the #129 AC following Parsons. Here are some other friends of Pete Lovely who might help. They should also have known Al Doyan:
   Gary Gove, Tom Meehan, Ralph Orsmbee [email addresses removed]
   
   Laurence: You have the Bob Constabaris A.C. Bristol in Coquitlam? Ed Clements and Gio Coletta are doing a barbeque at the British Columbia Historic Motor Races at Mission July 16-18 weekend. This will be on the Friday night. It will be in the style of the “Mr. Mike’s” barbeques that were held at race meetings at the old Westwood circuit. Mr. Mike’s restaurants were founded by the Constabaris brothers. So if you could bring the A.C. Bristol to the event, especially to the barbeque, that would be very special. We hope to have some Constabaris family members there too. And your AC would be a good candidate for the Westwood50 lapping sessions that weekend! There is a link to info on that below.
   
   Gio: Did you ever drive the Constabaris A.C?
   
   Here is more info on the British Columbia Historic Motor Races:
   
   This year's British Columbia Historic Motor Races take place at Mission on the July 16-18, 2010 weekend and will feature "The Canadian Motorsport Experience." We hope that you can join us for this event. Here is the link to more info:
   
   vrcbc.ca/?page_id=37
   
   Here are further links to the Schedule and Entrant's Package, including the Westwood50 lapping sessions:
   
   BCHMR-Schedule
   
   BCHMR.Entrant-Package
   
   Also, if you CLICK HERE and click on "track facts", you will see a map of the track and directions:
   
   Here are some more details on the Mission event:
   
   1.There will be a barbeque for Westwood veterans hosted by Ed Clements and Gio Coletta at the track at 6 pm on the Friday night. This will be in the style of the old “Mr. Mike’s” barbeques and tickets should be available at the track on the Friday.
   
   2. We are hoping to have a racing simulator at the track from VRX. Here is the link to their website:
   
   vrx.ca
   
   3. Copies of the Westwood50 DVD set will be available, as will Tom Johnston’s Westwood book.
   
   Please let us know if we provide any more help or information. Hope you can join us.
   
   Vince Howlett, Victoria, B.C., Canada
   
   
   Laurence.
   
   Did you take up the special personal Invite By Vince Howlett to take your Ace to the reunion..[?] If so What new information came to light.[?].
   
   Would be of great interest to The Ace Bristol register to locate and establish where a bouts of BEX437, which slipped off the radar some 28/30 years ago.
   
   Lets Hope a AC owner / enthusiast or Historic Racing Buff reading your thread has information to fill in the long lost Period from late 1980's to date of Bob Constabaris Ace ..[;)]
   
   Good Luck with your research..
   
   Keith ..[:)]

Laurence Kent

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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2012, 22:19:11 »
I want to express my gratitude to Keith L. and Mk IV Lux.
   
   Keith: I unfortunately had to inform Vince Howlett that I would be out of town on that particular day of the meet. I had also just obtained, by having hired an aggressive notary, copies of the registrations of AEX 443 and BEX 437, which showed that some of the information I had been given by the seller of my car, had been bogus. I thus also told Vince that it turns out my car had not been Constabaris', but rather, an AC-engined one six spots ahead on the assembly line, which had inherited Constabaris' motor, gearbox, clutch, exhaust, instruments, and badges in 1967. On another front, Keith, you are right that Constabaris owned two Ace-Bristols. However, he never owned them simultaneously. He told me he had bought the second one, a cream-coloured one, during the 1970s, because he had missed his original one so much. He never raced the second one. I used to see him zooming around the streets of Vancouver in it, and sometimes it would be parked outside one of his Mr. Mike's restaurants, not far from my house. He had founded and owned the chain. As for any updates on your car's history (BEX 333), Keith, all I have is one small tidbit, from having gone over my notes of my interviews with Constabaris. He told me that before Westwood track was opened in July of 1959, and he had been racing at the old abandoned RCAF air base in Abbottsford, British Columbia, he had become smitten with three Ace-Bristols that raced there, that while they looked like his Austin-Healey 100-6, "they ran rings around it in the handling department". He asked all three owners to please let him drive them. Parsons was one of the three. He said that once he got a taste of the Ace's handling, he no longer wanted to drive his Healey, and that he didn't take long to visit the Vancouver AC dealership, British Sports Cars Centre, on Granville Street, with a view to purchasing an Ace-Bristol.
   
   Mk IV Lux: Thank you for the pictures. The one of AEX 443 with Constabaris' competition Bristol motor was taken by myself a long time ago, before its restoration. The first two of BEX 437 at Westwood with racing number #50 were supplied by myself. As for the third picture where the Ace is next to a Corvette Sting Ray coupe, it is an ongoing mystery. It may or not be BEX 437.
   
   Thank you so much to both of you for your kind input. Hopefully someone out there can supply some added information so that I can finally conclude my "Tale of two Aces" history/documentation. Unless BEX 437 was whisked out of British Columbia by someone, post-1985, it is increasingly starting to look as though it was eventually removed from the field as scrap metal, because as of 1985 its British Columbia history, sightings, and insurance record, come to a screeching halt.

AC Ace Bristol

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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2012, 01:09:40 »
Laurence.
   
   Thank you for your detailed reply, sorry to learn you have come to a dead end on your search for History on both AEX443  and BEX437.
   
   I have just checked through the 1992 AC Ace/Aceca Register  2nd edition compiled in December 1991 by  R Baselt,  Box 8209, Foster City, CA 94404. USA.
   
   tel:   415-573-6222.............fax   415-573-6698.
   
   AEX443  is recorded as being in Canada with  B. FAZIO
   
   Was B Fazio recorded in any of the documentation recently secured by you.[?]
   
   If not may be  new lead [?].  yes!, I know it is dated December 1991 but each lead followed up eventually creates a picture. or links two pieces of info together. [;)]
   
   Good Luck..
   
   Keith..[:)]

Laurence Kent

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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2012, 02:35:12 »
Thank you for the Bob Fazio lead, Keith. He was the one I bought the car from... He owned it between 1971 and 1985. I bought the car in July of 1985, so the people who in 1991 had him down as the current owner were already six years out of date. Thank you again, as one never knows when a lead can be a gold mine of information. Just out of interest, Fazio only ever drove AEX 443 with its BEX 437 powerplant for four years--up to April of 1975...when he wound up in a certain type of facility in Brazil, at the Brazilian government's expense, for passing through customs with certain substances... He remained their "guest" for ten years and three months. One of the first things he did upon returning here with a very short crew cut, was dispose of the Ace, to pay off the storage and maintenance bill.
   I first saw the car in 1975 when it was in storage, and as a wide-eyed 17 year-old said to the garage owner: "Some day I wish I can own an Ace-Bristol or an early Cobra". His prophetic reply was: "Perhaps one day, if you save your pennies, you can own this one".           Thanks again and bye for now.

AC Bill

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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 19:16:48 »
quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Kent
   
Does anyone have any information on BEX 437 beyond the mid-1980s?
   
     As part of his divorce settlement, BEX 437 was sold off to someone who decided to turn it into some sort of Cobra. The new owner gave it Cobra snake badges and a Chevrolet 327 motor.   Any information would be greatly appreciated, as it would allow me to finish my car's history. Thank you for your attention.
   
                    Laurence Kent
   

   
   Laurence, not sure if you read my post about the red AC Bristol I was familiar with?
   
   http://www.acownersclub.co.uk/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2484
   
   I ask, as I thought it interesting that you mention it was sold as part of the Constabaris divorce settlement..The Bristol I have pictured on that thread, was obtained by Wayne Laker, (in Vancouver), from a lady who had recently divorced. Could it be the same car I wonder?
   
   I believe that Wayne may have actually attached a Cobra badge on the front of the car, soon after he had it repainted. You can see there is no badge on it in the picture. I do know for a fact that he personally never installed a V8 in it while in his possession.
   The fellow who he eventually traded it to, (straight across for a Cosworth powered Lotus 23b, trailer, and tow car) being a racer, may have done the engine swap?
   I was never aware of Wayne's Ace having ever been raced at Westood, prior to his owning it, it looked pretty stock to me. I was just a kid though..so maybe it had been, and didn't know what to look for.
   
   I sure wish I had spotted an Ace, sitting out in a field in Delta! I lived very close to that area, and used to spend many summer evenings cruising the farmlands in my Datsun 1600 roadster.

AC Bill

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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2012, 19:47:03 »
Further to my last post..The last AC Bristol I saw in Vancouver, was one at a shop called XJ Motors on 3rd and Fir street. This would have been around 1995 perhaps? The car needed complete restoration, and was in for an estimate. I found out a few weeks later that the owner decided he couldn't afford the restoration, and sold it for $6000. I sure lost my chance at ever owning one, but never guessed the owner would actually sell it..
   The only other Ace that I saw in Vancouver during the later years I lived there, was one that was in being serviced at a shop on 2nd Ave, between Main and Cambie St. Now it had a small V8 in it, (I'm pretty sure it was a Ford, not a Chevy engine) and the mechanic there told me that it was one of the early Cobra prototypes. I'm not sure if he knew what he was talking about or not? That car was blue from what I recall, and this would have been around 1990-93 perhaps..
   
   I wish I had thought back then to make note of the VIN's

Laurence Kent

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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2012, 01:32:21 »
Thank you AC Bill for wracking your brain to try and help me acquire some more information about my Ace, which is a sort of "amalgamation" of two Aces. The Ace that is red in colour in your upper pictures probably is neither AEX 443 nor BEX 437, as neither of these cars ever sported an after-market Derrington steering wheel, and they always had bumperettes, as far as the evidence seems to show. Around the mid-1960s both cars were also still under the ownership of their two original owners.In case it brings back any other memories, AEX 443 was bought new by a Hugh Alexander Mann, who owned it until the early '70s, and wound up living on a yacht and is now deceased. BEX 437, as you know, was purchased new by Bob Constabaris and used solely as a race car. He also wound up living on a yacht and is also deceased. The apparently very crude and sad "Cobra conversion" BEX 437 underwent over four decades ago, involved a 327 Chevrolet V-8.
   
    As for the "Cobra prototype" you mention, I think I know what that may have been about. In the 70s and 80s (I don't know about the '90s and beyond), there used to be in Vancouver one of those first 70 or so 260-powered Cobras, with its "Shelby AC Cobra" badges and original 5 inch-wide wire wheels.  As most North Americans outside of knowledgeable circles think that "Cobra" just means something with massive wheel arch flares, huge wide wheels and a 427 motor, it's possible that the mechanic you mentioned called the car a "Cobra prototype", because he didn't know that there was such a thing as a 4.2 litre V-8 Cobra. As we know, there was only one Cobra prototype: CSX 2000.
   
   Thanks again, AC Bill
   
                         Laurence Kent

AC Bill

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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2012, 16:20:54 »
Lawrence, I know that steering wheel pictured, was added by Wayne. It may well be that he took it off when he sold the car, and put the original one back on. Times were tight back then, and I imagine that he may have decided to hold on to this investment. As to bumpers, the pictures I posted were just days after he got the car back from the body shop, and he may not have re-installed them yet. I believe it did have bumpers, in other photo's I have of it, either before or after the paint was done. I'll have to do some serious digging for those pic's..lol
   
   Regardless, it would be highly unlikely that it is one of the cars, as you mention that the original owners still had possession of them in the "mid-60's"..
   
   Sounds like living on a yacht could be hazardous to one's health..lol

AC Ace Bristol

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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2012, 12:14:46 »
.
   
   Laurence.
   
   Copied this email over from my thread on Racing History of BEX333,  as Vince makes reference to  Tom Ellsworth ...  possible Custodian of  BEX437.[?]..[;)].
   
   Thought it might be open up new avenue of research..[;)]
   
   
   Latest email received from Vince Howlett, reference BEX333.. James Parsons plus a lead on the Bob Constabaris Ace Bristol BEX437,
   ( which will be of interest to Kent Laurence )

   
   .
   
   Hi Keith
   
   
   Sorry if I didn't respond to this, over a year ago !
   
   As for Barbara Lovely-Doyon's email address, I believe what I sent you was what she told me. It might be better to phone her, if you haven't already.
   
   I have attached a photo, in three versions. It is from the program for the Pacific International Road Races, sponsored by the Puget Sounds Sports Car Club, and sanctioned by the International Conference of Northwest Sports Car Clubs, at Pacific Raceways, Kent, Washington, September 18, 1960. This photo is from a couple of pages of photos titled ³Scenes from Pacific Raceways Inaugural Race², which took place August 14, 1960. In the first version of the photo, you can see an AC Bristol, the fourth car back. I believe this is Jim Parsons. For the second and third versions, I cropped the photo to only include the AC Bristol. As you can see, they are not clear, but perhaps you can do something with them. Also, the September 18 program, under "Class B Production", lists ³251...Jim Parsons...Seattle, Wash....A-C Bristol"
   
   Also, from the 1960 race programs from the Westwood Racing Circuit, for the Sunday, May 29th Texaco Grand Prix Conference Event, and the June 26th Castrol Trophy Races, each program has two pages, "Behind the Wheel, Conference Drivers and Their Numbers". The listings in both programs are identical, and list "251...James Parsons...PSSCC (Puget Sound Sports Car Club)." This does not necessarily mean that Parson raced at these events.
   
   The program for the October 2nd Westwood Conference races lists "Entries for the Westwood Conference Race", including "251 Jim Parsons A.C. Bristol Seattle." So apparently he was entered for that one.
   
   I have also been in touch with Tom Ellsworth in Massachusetts who apparently has the ex-Bob Constabaris A.C. Bristol. Interesting stuff.
   
   Hope all is well.
   
   Vince Howlett, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, phone/fax
   ....................................
   
   
   Laurence.
   
   Hope this new ..[?] lead, opens new avenues and produces positive results..[;)]
   
   Keith.

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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2012, 12:23:03 »
.
   
   Laurence.
   
   As both our Ace Bristol raced in the same region of USA & Canada  (Vancouver & British Columbia) during the same period ... 1957 through 1964.
   It is  therefor not surprising that Jim Parsons name and Bob Constabaris name should appear in print, Race Programms and Result sheets together..[;)]
   
   Please find  below, copy of recent email confirming racing results of both our AC Ace Bristol's.
   
   
   
   Hi again Keith
   
   Further info on the October 2nd, 1960 Westwood races:
   
   "RESULTS OF B.M.C. TOURIST TROPHY RACE ­ WESTWOOD"

   
   October 2, 1960.
   
   Race III ­ A, B, C & D Production
   
   Class B
   
   Bob Yeakel.. .. .. . SCCA.. .. .. Porsche ...(#)41.
   Jim Parsons.. .. .. PSSCC.. .. AC Bristol ...(#)251.
   Bob Constabaris.. .. B.C. .. .. AC Bristol ...(#)50.
   
   
   I went through the other results for Westwood from 1960, and the October 2nd race is the only one in which "Jim Parsons" name appears. His name does not appear at all in any of the 1961 or 1962 Westwood results.
   
   I'll let you know if I find anything else.
   
   Vince Howlett.
   
   Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
.
   .
   ....................................................................................
   
   Laurence
   
   Should additional data surface on BEX437  or  AEX443 whilst researching History of BEX333, I wll furnish you with copy.
   In the meantime good luck with your research..[;)]
   .
   Keith..[:)]
   
   .

Laurence Kent

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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2012, 16:09:23 »
Thank you for everything, Keith. I wrote to Vince about that fellow in the U.S.A. who might be the current owner of BEX 437. So far I haven't heard anything, but if I do I will post it right away.
   Thanks again.
   
                  Laurence

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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2013, 22:35:30 »
News Flash
   
   BEX 437 is found and is residing in West Vancouver after being barn stored since 1972. It has  been owned since then by Lyle Johanson who I met yesterday at the All British Field Meet yesterday in Vancouver. He advises that he drove the car for 2 years after puchase and then retired BEX 437 to a barn at his vineyard in the Okanagan Valley. He has changed  nothing with since his purchase and it still has the Chev 327 engine that he presumes Bob Constabaris installed for racing at Westwood etc. The second owner prior to Lyle Hanson was the installer of the flares and other mods.
   
   Lyle has kindly invited me to come and see BEX 437 plus some early racing pictures while owned by Bob Constabaris. I will do so shortly.
   
   With best wishes to all
   
   Jonathan Parker

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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2013, 22:36:39 »
News Flash
   
   BEX 437 is found and is residing in West Vancouver after being barn stored since 1972. It has  been owned since then by Lyle Johanson who I met yesterday at the All British Field Meet yesterday in Vancouver. He advises that he drove the car for 2 years after puchase and then retired BEX 437 to a barn at his vineyard in the Okanagan Valley. He has changed  nothing with since his purchase and it still has the Chev 327 engine that he presumes Bob Constabaris installed for racing at Westwood etc. The second owner prior to Lyle Hanson was the installer of the flares and other mods.
   
   Lyle has kindly invited me to come and see BEX 437 plus some early racing pictures while owned by Bob Constabaris. I will do so shortly.
   
   With best wishes to all
   
   Jonathan Parker