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02 April 2017

10 April 2017

24 April 2017

Ace Cafe Ace Cafe Ace Cafe Ace Cafe Ace Cafe Ace Cafe Ace Cafe Ace Cafe Ace Cafe Ace Cafe
 
 

Cars

We are thrilled to introduce this new and long overdue section and trust that your input will help it to grow

The Ace’s motoring heritage dates back to November 1938, when it was built as a roadside cafe to cater for the hauliers and motorists using the then new North Circular Road. Once established, the owner’s thoughts turned to the motor trade and, in August 1939, he opened a service station with a battery of 10 pumps on adjoining land, with a spacious washing bay, showroom and repair shops. A fortnight later war was declared and petrol rationing was introduced. Things looked bleak and in November 1940 the cafe received a direct hit from a bomb and was completely destroyed. A temporary building was quickly erected so that business could continue, albeit on a limited scale.

Urged by patriotic motives, the owner soon turned his attention to war work and by 1943 new buildings had been erected with machine tools installed, with 120 people employed as direct contractors to the M.A.P., specialising in the machining of high tensile steel components for aircraft. By 1944 the Ace Service Station was operating engineering shops reputed to be the finest of their size in the country.  During the war period the petrol station was kept open and was one of the very few that gave an all-night service.

After the war the machine shop closed and once again the dynamic founder of the business had the showrooms redesigned with new plant equipment; he made representations to leading car manufacturers which led to him becoming a stockist for Austin, Standard, Triumph, Daimler and Lanchester, in addition to being appointed distributor for Citroen cars. The showroom, which could accommodate 25 vehicles, was believed to be the biggest in London, with a team of first class mechanics capable of handling any job from engine tuning to complete overhauls.

One employee, John Wyer, went on to manage the Aston Martin, Gulf Ford GT40 and Porsche 917 sports car racing campaigns, and Charlie Gee was a Bugatti expert.  Racing driver Earl Howe was a regular at the Ace, along with many motoring journalists and photographers, even Malcolm Campbell spent the night at the Ace, albeit sadly in a hearse on the way to his own funeral.

After such a romance with the motor, it was a forgone conclusion that the cafe today would include them, and indeed the first meet took place in 1998 prior to the Grand Reopening in 2001, establishing Hot Rod Night on the 1st Wednesday of each month as the longest running car meet at the cafe today.