My First Car: Ford Anglia – tale of sabotage and a broken half shaft

Russell Whipps with his Ford Anglia at Frinton in 1963. Picture: Russell Whipps

Russell Whipps with his Ford Anglia at Frinton in 1963. Picture: Russell Whipps

Russell Whipps

Russell Whipps worked for a Ford dealer when he bought his Anglia which made it handy when it needed repairs.

I bought my first car, an 8hp Ford Anglia, in 1961 when I was working at a main Ford dealer at Woodbridge in Suffolk for £80.

I used it to get to work and also for leisure. My job was working in the parts depot, so I got to learn about all the spares for Ford cars and lorries.

One Saturday night I was out, it was very dark, with not a house for miles, and the car petered out. I had no torch but lifted the bonnet and, by fiddling around, I found the carburetter bowl had been loosened – I had been sabotaged. The bolts that hold it on have also got a slot in them so, luckily, I had a screwdriver to do them up again and I managed to get home.

I thought afterwards that if that bowl had dropped off, further back, I would never have found it.

The other thing that happened was that I broke a half shaft which, on a Ford Anglia, was not a easy thing to repair. It means splitting the rear axle and getting the broken piece of shaft out – on a Ford truck its simple.

Anyway, I phoned up to get the car towed in, not an easy job as the broken shaft keeps coming out of the axle, so you have to stop and push it back in.

My brother and I borrowed the tools, such as a spring-spreader and a hub draw, bought a new half shaft and set to work on the Sunday morning to fix the back axle. It took us all day to finish. The only day we could borrow the tools was a Sunday as the place we borrowed them from did not work that day.

My brother and I also replaced the 8hp engine with a 10hp one from a second-hand Ford Anglia I bought. We lived near a wood at the time and used a branch in one of the trees to lift the old one out and the new one in.

Tell us about your first set of wheels – email your memories with a picture to or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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