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  Having sold the design of my Harley powered ACE to the Morgan Motor Company, and prohibited by the contract from building anything resembling the M3W, I decided to gather myself for an encore and put out a fresh design, drawing from all I had learned from both the ACE and Morgan. I wanted more power, smoother running, stiffer chassis and an overall new, but still vintage, look. I chose an engine/driveline package first and it had to be the Honda GL1800: flat six, liquid cooled, plenty of grunt (little did I know how much!) Anyway, the package needed to be mid-engined and the challenge, after pulling the mechanicals together with a tidy chassis and tasty suspension, would be to make it look like something (but something vintage and classic of course). For inspiration I looked to some of the first mid-engined racers: Auto-Union, an obscure Alfa and Cooper Formula 3 cars (which were very popular as entry race cars back in the day: Moss drove one as a lad). I poked at a 1/12 scale model to try to get some sort of gesture for the piece. I was using plasticine and I joked that I was "styling with a butter knife"...

  Parallel with the styling was the development of, first, a full size, sit-in mockup and then drafted chassis and suspension drawings. My drafted prints were redrawn in CAD to be ready for Laser cutting and CAM forming. After previously hand building plugs for composite molds, I was ready to finally adopt 3d CAD modeling for the body molds of the new ACE. After a false start on this, I had phenomenal meeting-of -the-minds with 3d CAD modeling professional and auto enthusiast, Pascal, who worked tirelessly on a collaboration to bring my crude model to an improved and fully detailed form for full size CAM routing. We used Rhino 3d, a surface modeling software that is highly accurate for mold making and especially conducive to producing organic shapes, to develop the body panels.

The New ACE


Pete Larsen
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