In 1950 Donald Healey replaced the Healey Westland bodied Drop Head Coupé of which 64 examples had been built over the previous 4 post war years and replaced it with a new Drop Head model with bodywork by E & D Abbot of Farnham.
The first 14 Healey Abbotts were built on an improved BT chassis featuring Girling dampers and drum brakes.
Chassis #BT 2019 was the fifth to be built and was supplied new to Brooklands of Bond Street purveyors of a variety of fine cars including Mercedes Benz and Aston Martin in 1951.
#BT 2019 was registered in the UK on the 1st of January 1952 and is seen in the top photograph sixty years later at Sherborne Castle, having spent half that time in a barn, the current owner bought the car from well known Big Austin Healey racer John Chatham.
Thanks for joining me on this “Fifth Abbott” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Mercedes Monday. Don’t forget to come back now !
In 1953 Ford introduced it’s Ford Anglia 100E and two years later an estate / wagon version known as the Squire with a body modified by Abbott of Farnham was offered that remained in production until 1959.
When I first saw today’s featured car at last year’s Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe I incorrectly identified it as a Squire.
In fact this car is a meticulously restored 1960 fourth generation 4 door Ford Prefect 107E of the type built from 1959 to 1961.
As the alloy wheels suggest this car had a few upgrades during it’s restoration which include replacing the 36 hp 997 cc / 61 cui 4 cylinder side valve motor with a more modern 2 litre / 122 cui Ford Pinto 4 cylinder and replacing the three speed gearbox with a 5 speed.
Additionally the restoration has included converting the 4 door saloon / sedan into an estate / wagon in a way that had me absolutely convinced it was an Abbott of Farnham body, when it is in fact a completely unique as no such body was ever built by Abbott.
When tested the 36hp 107E, sold with the strap line “with a power of difference from Ford”, reached 60mph from rest in 27.2 seconds and had a top speed of 73 mph, optional extras included a heater, windscreen washers, radio and leather upholstery.
Thanks for joining me on this “With A Power Of Difference” edition of “Gettin’ a little psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Windsor. Don’t forget to come back now !
Former Wolseley designer Edward Dixon Abbott turned his attention to coach building after taking over Page and Hunt based in Farnham in 1929. His company Abbott’s of Farnham building bespoke for a range of manufacturers chassis including Bentley, Bristol, Frazer Nash, Healey, Lagonda, Rolls Royce, Sunbeam Talbot and even a one off Ferrari 212 Export, but it is Abbott’s bodies on Ford estate cars, after the ’39-’45 war, which were probably the most accessible.
In 1956 Ford launched the Mk II Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac models which became known as the 3 Graces.
The same year Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II took delivery of today’s featured one off Zephyr 6 wagon, which I believe was converted by Abbott’s.
The vehicle with an extra tall roof unusually seats nine and was primarily used for ferrying guests and their luggage around the Queens holiday residence the Sandringham Estate not far from The Royal Stud.
Notice how the wiper blades are set up to give the passenger the best view of the road ahead in inclement weather, I wondered if that was because HRH preferred to let Prince Philip drive, however it seems this odd feature was carried over from the Mk I Ford Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac models to all of the Mk II Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac variants.
Thanks for joining me on this “Queen’s Abbott” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !
Launched with the strap line “Simple is Efficient” the third generation Ford Escort was code named “Erika” while in development taking the name from Fords Product Planning Dept leader Erick A. Reikert.
The Escort MKIII went head to head in the market place with the popular Volkswagen Golf which had turned VW fortunes around after the demise of the ‘Beetle’.
Like the Golf the 3rd iteration of the Escort employed front wheel drive, unlike the Golf the Escort was a conservative hatchback retaining some vestige of a three box shape bodywork at the rear, although the tailgate included the rear sloping window.
The 132hp RS Turbo version of the Escort was launched in 1984 with the 5 speed transmission driving the front wheels through a viscous coupling differential that was a world first for a front wheel drive car. The RS Turbo proved a strong competitor in production saloon racing where it rendered the hitherto dominant Ford Capri 2.8i obsolete in the space of 12 months.
In the top photo national radio DJ Mike Smith and Lionel Abbot shared the #25 to win the 1986 Willhire 24 hour race at Snetterton at their second attempt becoming the first two driver team to win the race since it’s inception in 1980. The #32 was driven by Karl Jones, Patrick Watts and Chris Creswell in the 1987 Willhire 24 hours qualifying 2nd, to a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, and finishing sixth, third in class after a late driveshaft failure. By 1989 the Escort RS Turbo’s driven by Vaughan Richmond, #44 seen at Brands Hatch and Jonathon Harrison, #60 seen at Silverstone, were overwhelmed in class B by half a dozen faster BMW M3’s.