William and Thomas Henderson founded the Henderson Motorcycle Company in 1912. In 1927, Henderson was sold to Ignatz Schwinn. William and Thomas Henderson worked for Schwinn for a short time as part of the transaction, but both left the company. Bill Henderson intended on building his own 4-cylinder motorcycle, and in 1919 the Ace Motor Corporation was founded.
The first Ace was modernized significantly compared to the original Henderson. At 75 cubic inches (1200cc), the Ace produced 20 horsepower, had a three-speed transmission, and was built stronger throughout than the Henderson. Its design had no interchangeable parts with the Henderson - its primary competitor.
In 1922, William Henderson was killed at age 39, when he was struck by a car while testing a new Ace model. Ace production bikes were little changed from 1919 to 1924. In 1923, a modified Ace called the XP4 reached a speed of 129.61 mph. The Ace brand was purchased by Indian in 1927 and motorcycles were produced with the name Indian Ace. Once Indian began modifying the design, the Ace was discontinued.