Cut-price Ford Anglia instilled my love of cars
PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:00 27 April 2018
Alan Burbridge’s first car was a 1967 Ford Anglia Super and fond memories still coming flooding back whenever he sees one at a classic car meet.
I left school in 1974, aged 18, and gained employment in Peterborough – a round trip of 52 miles from my childhood home.
Having my own transport was essential as I also had to attend a local college for a day-release course which finished at 8.45pm.
Initially, my father allowed me to borrow his 1965 Austin Cambridge to drive to work – an honour as he was extremely proud of it – but it was thirsty on petrol and I was only earning £28 per week.
After scanning the used car listings for several weeks, our eye was caught by a private advert for a 1967 Ford Anglia Super (1200 cc) selling for £125.
When we went to view it, the car was in good condition but, on the test drive, all was not well. The steering had to be worked hard to keep the car in a straight line and the engine did not run smoothly so my heart sank. My father looked at me, winked and said not to worry as we can sort all these issues out. When we returned to the seller my father listed all the faults and said we could not possibly meet the selling price but, after a little haggling, got the price down to £90.
The car was taken to our local garage mechanic for repair and luck was on our side as he had just taken in another Ford Anglia which had been written off. The steering rack was swapped and I only had to pay for the labour to remove it from the donor car, no charge was made for the part.
My father tuned the engine and carburettor and, when finished, it felt like a totally different car. The sense of freedom was fantastic. I kept the car for 18 months and learned so much about repairs, maintenance and servicing that it instilled my love of cars.
I still fondly remember the car, even though it had a peculiar trait of the starter motor very occasionally jamming in situ so it had to be unbolted. Other than that, it proved to be a very reliable car. If I see another Anglia at a classic car meet, it brings all the memories flooding back.
I sold it for £100 but, sadly, it got written off shortly after by the new owner. I wince whenever a Ford Anglia comes up for auction and makes thousands!
My next car was a 1972 Austin 1300 – a low-mileage, one-lady owner car which was known to me since new but that’s another story. Happy days!
Tell us about your first set of wheels – email your memories with a picture to email@example.com or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.