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Homepage. This page: Fun with a custom Anglia powered by a Riley 1.5 engine!
Uncle Joe's stories about cars and motoring

How not to sell an XJ!

"Uncle Joe", a name used to protect the innocent (and not-so-innocent,) has kindly volunteered his own motorcar and motorcycle memories. A series of stories will be featured here at oldclassiccar, all of which are true, based on the vehicles that Joe has owned, driven, or worked on, over the years.

Tuned Ford 105E in the 1960s.

If you have similar stories that you'd be willing to share with the world, I'd be happy to feature them here too, using an alias if you'd prefer!!

I've always enjoyed reading people's firsthand recollections of cars, and their foibles, in years gone by. Stories similar to this can be found on the main Motoring Memories Project page, which can be found here.

No-one at oldclassiccar necessarily agrees with, or condones, the events in these stories, and opinions given are not those of the site editor, but of the contributor!

Out with the Riley & Wolseley 1500s, in with a hot rod Anglia

Ford 105E Anglia from the 1960s

Introduction to the Riley One-Point-Five

The approach of my seventeenth birthday turned my thoughts towards buying my first car. This turned out to be an old Riley 1.5, which I started to fix up for the day that I passed my Driving Test. By the week of my test, it was ready. I´d done my first ever custom paint on this car, and it looked a treat. The whole car had been sprayed with a gold pearl base, and then the top half covered with red candyapple. Also, I had replaced the 1500cc twin carburettor engine with a 1622cc one. Very nice, I thought. My test day, which was a Thursday, arrived, and just after 11am, I had a full car licence.

The following Saturday afternoon, one my friends asked me if I could drive him into Southport to collect an engine for his Reliant. Whilst driving there, in the pouring rain, the left rear tyre blew out on a right hand bend, and I spun the Riley into a stone wall, which, along with the Riley, was wrecked!

Next, a Wolseley 1500 ...

Sunday arrived, and I was back on a motorcycle again. However, the day was saved when my brother turned up an told me that he had found another Riley that might be for sale. No sooner said than done, we drove the short distance to the Riley, which in fact turned out to be a Wolseley 1500. This mistake was easy to make, as basically, it was only the grille that differed between these cars. The owner wanted the princely sum of £5 for it, but we knocked him down to £3, and towed it away. Getting it home, we found a working foot pump in the boot, which soon got sold. Using parts from the Riley, this car was fixed up super fast, then taxed and M-o-T´d, and by the end of the week, I was on the road again.

And then a custom 105E Anglia ...

Saturday arrived, one week after my accident, and we went out to a local garage for petrol. Whilst on the garage, we struck up a conversation with a middle aged couple. They admired my little Wolseley, and happened to mention that they would prefer something like that to their Ford Anglia 105E. When my brother and I saw the Anglia, we could understand why. Bright orange paint, with matt black bonnet and boot, and 5 1/2” wheels were not something for them. But for me, yes. So, a deal was struck. A straight swap!

A month or so later, driving up the M6 to Preston, I blew up the engine. So, for the third time in 2 months, one of my cars was again towed back home. The car that did all this towing incidentally, was the pre-war Austin that I had restored for my brother some years previously. Another engine was acquired, (guess who found it?) and I was back on the road again. But not for long. Driving back from Liverpool one night, the engine blew again, and the Austin got used as a tow truck again.

By this time, I was totally fed up with Ford engines. Due to them, I was spending more time in the garage than in the car. So I started to look for another solution. A trip to Belle Vue stadium in Manchester gave the answer. Whilst watching the racing, we noticed that there were a number of 105E Hot Rods racing with MG `B´ series engines fitted. I still had the Riley, with such an engine! The day after, the conversion began. I drew up the parts, and my brother got them made up. Soon, the “Hot Rod Anglia” was ready. It wasn´t fast, maybe 80 or 85 mph with the standard Anglia back axle, but it would accelerate like the proverbial bat, and would leave most things that were on the road at that time!

In spite of the abuse it got, the engine was totally reliable, and the whole car was a lot of fun. However, I did make one mistake that I lived to regret. I didn´t upgrade the brakes! One day, whilst blasting down a country lane with my girlfriend, I saw a lorry parked on my side of the road. As there was oncoming traffic, I had to stop. The trouble is, when I tried to slow down, I had no brakes. Presumably, the abuse had caused them to fade. I managed to lose a little speed, but not enough. So the inevitable happened, and I ended up getting the Anglia firmly jammed between the lorry and a Hillman Imp van!

Before I had time to extract the 105E, the Police arrived. Traffic had now built up, as the road was blocked, so they told me to move my car. I had no choice but to do so, so I started the engine, put it in reverse, and released the clutch. All that happened was the back wheels spun, filling the air with rubber smoke. What I didn´t know at this time was that the left front wheel had turned at almost right angles to the right, and it was this as much as anything that stopped me from moving backwards. I still remember the constables words.

With the wheels spinning, he asked, “Is that an original engine, sir?”

“Of course it is!” I replied. Well, of course it was, in an MG!

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