By on August 15, 2013

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As much of America redevelops in the direction of increased urbanization and strip-mall suburbia, small downtowns have either dried up or re-purposed themselves as purveyors of quaint fashion and entertainment. Such is the case with Opelika, the sister town to Auburn. Boutiques, restaurants, and antiques places have mostly replaced the hardware stores and other obsolete staples of small-town commerce. I come from a family of enthusiastic collectors of rare junk, but even I can see the occasionally sad irony of a town selling pieces of itself just to get by. A few weeks ago, however, I spotted a prominently displayed chunk of the past that defied my expectations. Instead of distressed Americana on sale, one shop had a very English relic I didn’t expect to see in this part of the country. I returned later to take a closer look.

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    This Ford Anglia was pulled from a field somewhere in East Alabama. The proprietress of the shop knew of the car’s British origins, but didn’t know how it came to rest in a Southeastern cow patch. She received it “from a friend” and converted it into a display piece for her downtown antiques emporium. Lodged in the front window of the shop with a couple of artfully-positioned suitcases, it’s not for sale. Its value as a conversation piece and an attention-getter clearly outweighs whatever sum someone might be tempted to pay for it. Rest assured, Anglia diehards: this isn’t one that you’d want to save. It’s pretty rotten in the floors and the sills, there’s plenty of bullet holes, and a number of hard-to-find bits are missing. Still, I’m glad that it wound up here rather than in a China-bound scrap steel container. It took me a while, but I managed to get some decent shots of the car despite it being surrounded with stuff.

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    Who in Alabama would have bought this car new? I’m guessing it was sold here as a new or nearly-new car because of the chrome trunk tag. Brewbaker Motors is a large multi-franchise family dealership in Montgomery that still operates today. They aren’t a Ford store, though, so they must have acquired it secondhand. I like to think that some expat British professor brought the car with him when he came to teach at Auburn in the 1950’s. He might have traded it in after discovering that English Fords didn’t have much repair or parts support in the Deep South. Or maybe some hardworking Dixie resident snapped the Anglia up as an alternative to the big Fords of the era. In any case, it went the way of all discarded cars in Alabama and became somebody else’s target. Now it serves as a reminder that not everyone wanted a Detroit land yacht in the 50’s.

Thanks to the owner of Resurrect Antiques for her permission to photograph the vehicle.

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26 Comments on “How Did That Get There? An Anglia In East Alabama...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Everybody may not have wanted land yachts, but it seems everybody wanted fins

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    The steering wheel on the left says it was sold new in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Or from the European main? Or maybe Canada? I know Ford Cortinas and GM Envoy Epics, both in LHD were sold there.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        I’m pretty sure the Taunus filled that niche for Ford on the continent, though the market was a lot more fragmented at the time.

        The Anglia was definitely sold in the US, at least in small numbers; I have seen them listed in old classified ads from the late ’50s/early ’60s.

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    Or maybe a wizard did it.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    They were sold in the US. I remember reading the trial decision that let Ford off the hook for a fire related death started by a defect in the gas tank that was mounted in the trunk. Since Ford USA “purhased” these cars from Ford UK to resell here through their dealers, the implied warranties were deemed to have stopped with the original purchaser and the consumer was SOL. Oh, as they sing in Dearborn, ‘Those Were the Days’, when the carmakers got away with murder. As I recall the fire and trial took place not far from there.

  • avatar
    jagerninja

    My grandfather had one of these in Connecticut way back in the day, so I know they weren’t impossible to get in America. Unfortunately, it ended up in a barn. My mom still wishes she had rescued it.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The numbers on the speedo would give it away as well. But they’re not visible.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    My family had two of those when I was growing up in the UK. A white 1960 model replaced with a maroon 64 deluxe.

    That one I believe is an “Anglia Super” with the 1200cc motor and two tone paint.

    Hot-rodders would replace the 1000/ 1200cc motors with a 1500cc out of a Cortina and add a weber.

  • avatar
    econobiker

    Probably brought back by a military person from Europe. When I was at Auburn U. back in the early 1990s another student had a mid- 1960s Saab 2dr (with the V-4 Ford motor- no 2 stroke) that still had U.S. military decals from the 1960s and 1970s West Germany including a “Checkpoint Charlie, West Berlin” decal. AL has Fort Rucker, Gadsden military complex, etc to support GI’s bringing vehicles back.

    A lot of weird cars can be still be found in AL and other parts south because there is space to store the cars, there are no town councils to pass restrictive car storage laws, there was no salted winter roads to rust away the non-corrosion resistant cars of yore, less restrictive titling/registration/insurance laws, and there are no close by foundries that create scrap money incentives. Plus the weird car brands/models would be less likely to be pulled from the field to be renovated/hot rodded due to lacking maintenance/performance parts than a 1950s-1960s standard Ford/Chevy models would be.

    That plus the fact that AL doesn’t require title on cars prior to 1975 makes possession 9/10th of the law for pre-’75 cars in order to get a valid registration and put it back on the road…

    • 0 avatar
      David Hester

      There is definitely a lot of weird old iron parked around the South. Kentucky 92 runs between Pineville, where my parents live, and Williamsburg where my wife is from. When I was in college I would drive back and forth all the time. Up on a ridge, parked next to a single-wide trailer about halfway from Pineville to Williamsburg, a white 50’s era Bentley sat mouldering away. It sat there the whole time I was in college. I haven’t been that way in years. It may still be there for all I know.

  • avatar
    skor

    “As much of America redevelops in the direction of increased urbanization and strip-mall suburbia, small downtowns have either dried up or re-purposed themselves as purveyors of quaint fashion and entertainment.”

    Recent demographic trends documented by the Census Bureau show that young, well educated people are headed back to urban areas, specifically the old coastal cities. The poor are headed for the “slumburbs”.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    It probably flew out of the Forbidden Forest and landed in Alabama.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Our family bought a brand new Anglia in Canada in late 1959. My parents compared it to the Beetle and the Renault Dauphine, which were dropped off at our home and left for appraisal for several days. The Anglia was third in line, a brand new design for 1960 which only became available after Dad had pretty much decided on the Renault.

    I was the twelve year old car nut, and knew about the engine in particular, the first modern short stroke from Ford. It was completely different from the US derived fours and sixes in the English Ford Consul and Zephyr/Zodiac (small versions of 223 six), although it maintained the 1243 firing order so beloved of Henry.

    The Anglia’s 997cc engine had a bore and stroke of 80.96 by 48.41 mm (anchored in the brain cells to this day). That’s a 1.9 inch stroke, and together with an 8.5:1 CR gave it a published 39 bhp @5,000 rpm.

    One short drive, and my parents immediately chose it over the VW and Renault. It wasn’t even close. Not like today’s cars, the difference was obvious. The engine revved to god knows what rpm and the car would sit on 80mph (or more, since the speedo had a peg which prevented it showing more than that, and often took several seconds to get below 80 when tackling a particularly steep hill).

    On a trip back from Ithaca NY to Bar Harbor ME to catch the ferry back to Nova Scotia, fully loaded, we did the 670 miles in 13 or so hours in one day, in October 1960. I remember it hiccuped on Cities Service gas. About 250 of those miles were on two lane highways, because the Interstates were not all finished, yet the car had no trouble maintaining 80 on the Maine Turnpike, and passed every single Saab two-stroke we met, that was sport of the day. Try running a modern engine at over 5,000 rpm for hours on end. They’re not made for it, generally cruising on the highway at 2 to 3 thousand.

    Of course, by October 1960, I was well aware that Cosworth had made the engine into the best Formula Junior motor and doubled the horsepower. This engine, eventually enlarged to 1600cc and given five main bearings, was finally and retroactively called the Kent, for no apparent reason and became the standard Formula Ford engine for decades.

    In 1964, I got my driver’s license in the Anglia, shortly after which my mother traded it in for an Anglia Super, with 48.5 bhp from 1200 cc, the same engine as in the first Cortina, which was only available as 1964 models onward. That would do about 93 mph after a two mile windup, and finally had synchromesh on first gear. Remember, that’s at least as fast as a Falcon/Comet six or Corvair, neither of which I had much trouble with, but I avoided, ahem, challenging Valiants and the Chevy II six. Cars in general were not particularly quick in those days.

    The car shown is an Anglia Super, the colored side-spear gives it away. There are two of these Angleboxes still running round here that I occasionally see. They were pleasant little cars to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      The previous model had a flathead four cylinder and a 3 speed manual transmission.

      These cars sold very well and lasted until 68 when the Escort replaced them in the market.This was much better car than it’s predecessor.

      This car and the Cortina had a lot to with putting Ford in first place in UK sales.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    Looks kinda like an old Rambler.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Over the years I have seen a few of these here in the states. I always thought the rear window needed a breezeway edition like Mercury offered. I think some Ford dealers imported them with LHD spec before the term ‘captive import’ was used in later years for Capri’s, Pantera’s etc. It seems like a fair number of Cortina’s were sold in the states as well.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Nice display .

    In New England in the early 1960’s many Anglias were sold , I remember them both running and in the local junkyard near Newton , Ma.

    -Nate


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