Unlucky ‘brake’ on MOT resulted in Ford Prefect being scrapped

Carol Bailey and her future husband giving her 1947 Ford Prefect some weekly maintenance. Picture: s

Carol Bailey and her future husband giving her 1947 Ford Prefect some weekly maintenance. Picture: supplied - Credit: supplied

Carol Baiey's first car, a Ford Prefect, was full of character and fun but all good things come to an end... in this case the MOT test.

In June 1967, at the age of 18, after taking driving lessons with a very patient instructor for several months, I passed my test at the second attempt and began to look for a cheap second-hand car.

As luck would have it, a neighbour had a beige 1947 Ford Prefect to sell, and for £5 I had my wheels.

With a sloping back and headlights mounted on the front mudguards, I thought she was perfect, and full of character, although not built for speed and the engine needed some attention.

My dad and a friend stripped the engine down and replaced two pistons and, for several months during that summer, I chugged happily back and forth to my job in Southwold, with the odd jaunt to the beach with the one or two family members who could be squeezed into the back seats.


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At weekends, my boyfriend – later my husband – and I would give her a wash and brush-up in the back garden, topping up the water and checking the oil, the photograph was a typical Saturday scene.

Another time, with L plates on, I accompanied a young relative on her first outing but we didn't get very far as, coming to the first corner on our estate, the steering wheel didn't turn and we sailed slowly and sedately into a neighbour's back garden. Luckily there was no damage either to the wooden fence or the car.

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But all good things come to an end and the MOT test proved her undoing. We took her to the local garage on the Bungay Straight and to test the brakes, as the mechanic always did, he mechanic backed her out of the garage with the brake meter on the floor and drove her back in at speed. So far, so good, but when he hit the brakes, the front axle folded up and the car ended up under the workbench.

Unsurprisingly, she failed the MOT test and, as I couldn't afford the repairs, she had to be scrapped.

No other car I have ever owned since has been such fun.

Tell us about your first car – email your motoring memories with a picture of the car to motoring@archant.co.uk or post it to Andy Russell, Archant motoring editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE

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