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Homepage. This page: Memories of a deal involving a smokey old Model Y Ford woodie, and a Royal Enfield.

Story about a Model Y "Woodie".

Robert very kindly sent over this Ford Model Y story, first of many hopefully, so thanks to him for putting finger to keyboard and sending it over for inclusion in the motoring memories section of this site.

Swapping a Model Y for a Royal Enfield - "A Lesson Learned"

In about 1957 I was then 17yrs old and riding a motorcycle to work, and living with my parents. One weekend a distant relative turned up out of the blue. He was a young lad, a bit older than me, and he was driving an old Ford Y model Woodie which was painted a light blue and smoked quite badly, but what didn't in those days!?
After a cup of tea the conversation turned to the fact he was looking for a motorcycle and wanted to exchange this old Ford car for one. Now at this my ears pricked up because a couple of months earlier I had purchased another motorcycle of the same make as mine - an old Royal Enfield Ex-WD - from a London firm, I think it may have been Claude-Rye, for the princely sum of 10 delivered. This was purchased for spares but I got it going and used it for a week while I did repairs to my previous one. I spoke to my father out of earshot of this relative, and asked him what he thought about this exchange, and we both agreed that it sounded good so a deal was done, and the relative rode off into the sunset.
Ford Model Y woodie
A Ford Model Y with woodie coachwork, similar to that once owned by Robert. Full size photo on this page of the vintage gallery.
We made the front gateway wider and put the car along the edge of the garden. Looking in the car I noticed a pair of large chrome oblong spotlights, these I removed to the shed. The next day we decided to remove the engine, and after stripping it down we purchased a set of Cord rings. If anyone remembers these they could be fitted to a worn engine without the need and expense of having a re-bore, and did a very good job of it. They came with four very strong open-ended clips. Wondering what these were for, we found they had to be fitted to the bottom of the split skirt pistons, the intention was to open up the split and thereby make the pistons bigger! The engine was re-built and put back in and run up, it was very tight to start but apparently this was normal after fitting Cord rings so we felt quite pleased with ourselves.
After about another week a gentleman turned up at the door in a raincoat and hat looking very formal, and asked about this car, "is it yours?" he asked me. "Yes" I replied, and asked "why?". To this he asked "where did you get it?". I told him how I had exchanged the Model Y Ford for a motorcycle and then he said "did you know it had been stolen from a car site by a Mr L----Y who worked there?", "of course not" I replied, also asking him "what about the fact we have just done the engine and what about my motorcycle?". "Sorry but I doubt if you will get anything back at all" he replied, and of course he was right.
Remember my wages were only about 3 a week then, so it was a hard and expensive lesson learned. Luckily I had forgotten to mention the spotlights, and sold them for a few quid and so got back something but it took a few more years before I shared another car with my father! I might add we have never seen this relative since.
Thanks again for the story Robert, much appreciated. Robert's next car would be a three-wheeled Morgan J.A.P..
Visit the motoring memories pages at oldclassiccar for more stories like this.

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