1948 Anglia Gasser at SEMA 2015
We do not typically cover drag racing history in this blog, but on occasion, a car comes along that just cannot be ignored. In 1948 Ford Motor Company began to import the pre-war styled English-built Anglia and Prefect passenger cars and Thames vans to the United States. In 1948, 12,250 of the economical “English Fords” were shipped to the United States, but records show only 3,223 of the little passenger cars were sold in 1948. It took Ford years to unload all the remaining stock, and as unpopular as the little cars were with the United States buying public, with their light weight they were a big hit with drag racers, particularly in the national Hot Rod Association (NHRA) “Gasser” classes.
In 1968, Jay Lindley an employee at Blair’s Speed Shop in Pasadena California bought an undamaged 1948 Ford Anglia body from a fellow employee and set out to build a gas-class race car. In six months, Lindley built the chassis and installed a 427-cubic inch Chevrolet fitted with Hilborn fuel injection that fed power through a 4-speed Muncie transmission. After a few months, Lindley realized that the ‘big block’ Chevrolet engine was too powerful for the short wheelbase race car and replaced the engine with a small block Chevrolet. Lindley set several NHRA national records in the NHRA B/Gas class before he sold the car in 1972.
The little car spent the many years in bracket racing circles and was purchased by Don Lindfors in 1995. In 2009, Lindfors decided to restore the car back to its original ‘big block’ configuration with Blairs Speed Shop livery. Completed in just 2-1/2 months, the restored car debuted at the 2010 Grand National Roadster Show. The restored Anglia was featured in issue #65 of the Rodder’s Journal magazine and at the 2015 SEMA show in Las Vegas, it was center stage in the Petronix Performance Products booth, where the author photographed it.