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Homepage. This page: A rare colour photograph of a home-built car, using Ford 10 1172cc mechanicals and GRP body.

Nickri Alpine - Ford 1172 special.

Chucking away the corroded bodyshell of an old Ford 8 or 10 and replacing it with a low-slung, sporty little number, was a fairly common occurrence in the 1950s and 1960s, and many companies joined in with the supply of suitable bodyshells. Virtually all were produced from GRP, glass-reinforced plastic, or "fibreglass", as was the Nickri Alpine featured below. Bodies of this type were relatively cheap to produce, and their moulds easily-modifiable to update their styling from one year to the next if required. Because of this, numerous companies sprung up to satisfy the demand from keen motorists, all hoping to create their own home-built car using off-the-shelf (or rather bought for a few shillings at the local scrapyard) running gear. These included Ashley, Falcon, Nickri, Tornado and many more.
It's fair to say that the end results weren't always too easy on the eye, or well built, and many projects were either never completed, or in some instances not even started. Those "specials" that did make it to completion offered their owners relatively cheap, entertaining motoring, using parts that were widely available. Given their lightweight construction, even those cars with standard running gear nestling beneath a shiny new shell, would comfortably out-pace the saloons that donated their oily parts.
Frank, a visitor to the site, was kind enough to email over photos of the car he once owned, a Ford 1172-powered Nickri Alpine, a close relative of the Nickri Champion I discovered some years back. Also note the striped Mk1 Zephyr, and a little further away, a Bedford CA.
Click to view:
Nickri Spyder car in the 1960s
Frank recalls of the car he bought in 1965:
All I knew when I bought it was that it was a Ford Special, and that it had Ford Pop underpinnings along with associated running gear. I think I paid 50 GBP for it, which at that time was a lot of money; my apprenticeship was bringing in about 6 GBP a week so I was stretching my bank balance to buy it. I was living in "digs" at the time in Stockport, but working at Manchester Airport. The little car proved much more enjoyable for the daily commute than using the local bus service (nothing new there then, eh?).
I quickly realised that the car's looks really just made it a "sheep in wolf's clothing" .... incidentally the finish you see is a hand-painted job aided by masking tape and a steady hand .... funds certainly wouldn't stretch to a spray job.
No windows were fitted altho' I do remember that I cobbled together some plastic side-screens that could be affixed with press studs, but altogether not very watertight. I carried a small metal box positioned where the main drips came in, and had to "bale" out periodically. Girlfriends were suitably unimpressed I seem to remember!
When my 3 month stint finished in Manchester, I drove the car home to Berkshire where my parents lived. An interesting 200 mile drive as I'd come zooming up behind cars who'd see this racy little red car in their mirror, politely move over to allow me to pass, but then I'd seem to run out of steam as I passed them so slowly, very embarrassing. E93A engine, 3 speed gearbox with no synchro on 1st, X-ply tyres, 6 volt electrics I think?, happy days.
It seems my car was a Nickri Alpine, what do you think? I sold it to a chap in the Navy and it was last seen heading in a Westerly direction to RNAS Brawdy. The chap in the right of the picture, an old schoolfriend, had bought my Ford Zephyr 6 from me and persuaded a colleague to buy the Special unseen .... I never did know what happened to the car in the end...

Three more photos turn up.

After sorting through some old slides, Frank turned up three more photographs of the Nickri, one of which shows the car accompanied by a female acquaintance of the time that worked at Ringway Airport. Note the AA badge fitted to the car's front end. The car would be replaced by a Wolseley 6/80 (photograph no.3 on the linked page).
Front view
Front view, with female companion
Viewed from above

More information on the Nickri Alpine special.

A quick look through a copy of the Super Accessories "Ford Builder's Guide and Price List", reveals a number of specials bodies for sale, including the Nickri Alpine. Interestingly all the Ford special bodies they had listed, had been over-stamped with the word "CANCELLED", so presumably Super Accessories were using up old copies of their guide when this copy was sent out. Other discontinued bodyshells were the aforementioned Champion, the Challenger, the Falcon Caribbean Mk IV, and the Falcon Competition.
Advert for the Nickri Alpine
The Alpine is described as follows, note the reference to the be-finned BMC saloons that were becoming very popular at the end of the 1950s:
This 4-seater bodyshell is, we believe, the only body on the market made specifically to fit the 7' 10" Ford 10 chassis, of 1938 on.
It incorporates all that is new in glass-fibre car bodies - the latest technologies in glass-fibre laminations - the latest advances in body design, showing the Farina trend, with its suggestions of slight tail fins.
The body can be supplied in a range of colours, has a high gloss surface finish, and is flanged and returned on all the edges for extra strength. Moulded-in drip channels are provided to the engine compartment opening, and double returns to take the large separately moulded, double skinned, boxed doors which include map pockets as standard equipment. The doors are hung with extra large chromium exterior hinges, and adjustable locks which are fitted and adjusted before leaving the factory.
The separately moulded, double-skinned engine compartment panel is of really sensible size, allowing maximum accessibility to the engine, and is fitted with large chromium hinges and lock.
The body is complete with built-in dashboard, and is fitted with rad grill and badge bar.
A tubular steel mounting frame is bonded in during manufacture to give 10 mounting points, including a particularly sturdy front end mounting.
The listed colours are red, blue, green and cream. The overall length is given as 13' 11", and width 4' 10". The bodyshell was listed at 89 GBP, although bonded-in arches, bulkhead, battery box and header tank platform would add another tenner to the price. Extra too was the curved windscreen (16:10s:0d). An additional extra (31 GBP) was the useful hardtop, which is described as follows:
Styled to blend with the superb lines of the NICKRI "ALPINE", the hardtop is complete with large curved front and rear laminated safety glass screens, and bolting down flange around the base for attachment to the body.
A special feature of this hardtop are the drip channels over the doors incorporated in the design, eliminating the necessity of attaching normal aluminium drip moulding. Sliding glass side windows mounted in polished alloy frames are available, making the complete Nickri "Alpine" a superb sports coupe.
Frank's car was registered 301 MHT. Does anyone know what happened to the car after he sold it on? Thanks for sending in the photos!
Return to Page 18 in the photographic archive, or visit the main index here. More Ford-based specials can be seen on this page.

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