The feature car today is a 1948 Ford Anglia (English Ford, that is). The Anglia was built from 1940 to 1954, with minor changes to the grill being the only body modifications for 14 years. In 1948 Anglias were imported into the United States, but were not well received because of the outdated styling and engineering. In 1948, they still had wooden floors and mechanical brakes. Their main selling feature was small size and fuel economy.
The Anglia featured today, even though it is a 1948, is not a car originally built for sale in the United States. This little touring car is one of the rarest of all Anglias, and only a couple are known to still exist. The Ford chassis were exported from England to Sydney, Australia, to custom coach builders Martin and King, where they were fitted with a handcrafted touring car body using fenders, grills, hood and cowl from Ford. The touring cars were designed and sold only in Australia, and in limited numbers.
The little Anglia has been owned and taken care of for the last three years by John Leahy of Lake of the Pines. The Anglia was restored in 1988 by a body shop in Sydney. (Would you believe in Australia, they call their body shops “Crash Repair and Body Beaters”? I just love that name). After I saw the restoration that they did on the Anglia, I would say those body beaters knew their craft. All of the wood had been replaced, body work was perfectly straight and the interior as original as the day it rolled off the assembly line.
After its restoration, the Anglia was brought to the United States by a man in Oklahoma City, from whom Leahy purchased the car. Leahy said the little 10-horse power engine, with its 3-speed transmission was a fun car to drive around town. However, its top speed of 45 miles an hour and right-hand drive restricted the roads he was comfortable taking it on.
It was a treat for me to be this close to a rare piece of automotive history that I could actually sit in and hear running. So you can put in perspective how very small this car is, I have included a photo of myself standing beside it with my arm on the top. And since I’m not exactly a massive man, you get the picture of how small this car is.
Another feature that struck me was the 16-inch wheels and hubcaps. They look exactly like a mid-30s full-size Ford wheel and cap to me. What do you think?Leahy, who also enjoys street rods, muscle cars and almost any antique car, has been into cars all of his life. One of his earliest recollections is when he was three years old and lying under a car, working on it with his dad. Leahy also has another interesting hobby-he collects miner’s lamps and loves roaming the backroads of the Gold Country searching them out. And no, he doesn’t take the Anglia on his never-ending search for the miner’s lamps.
Still in Vegas at the NASCAR test. Kurt Busch had the fastest time followed closely by Carl Edwards, Mark Martin and Joe Nemechek.
I’m sorry the pictures of Wayne Davis’ ’53 Chevy Belair weren’t in color last week. I apologize-it was an oversight. It is a beautiful car, and I hope you all get to see it at a car show this summer.
I spent a little time at “The Strip” last Saturday-not the one where they take your money-the drag strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NHRA is also testing in preparation for Pomona this weekend. There were lots of Pro Stock cars-looks like it may be tougher than ever to make the Pro Stock field this year. Heard a rumor at the track that Brutun Smith wants to buy NHRA…I didn’t even know it was for sale??
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