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Homepage. This page: A very rare car, the dhc version of Ford's E93A Prefect built in 1939.

Ford Prefect drop-head coupe.

Pre-war Ford E93A Prefects aren't all that numerous today, and the factory drop-head coupe versions - which were a rare sight even when they were current - are all but extinct, except for a handful or so survivors that are dotted around the globe. The E93A was only produced for two seasons prior to the outbreak of the war, and re-introduced for a short time after hostilities had ended, prior to the launch of the revised E493A. According to Bill Ballard's book on sidevalve Fords, just 667 examples of the drop-head coupe were built between 1938 and 1939, the model not re-entering production with the saloon in 1945. This photograph dates to 1939.
This very sad, almost new at the time, drop-head coupe was photographed after having had an accident. It is seen here once its remains had been towed back to Welland's Garage in Burnham-on-Sea. The first picture shows the Prefect to the right of shot, close to a Mobiloil sign. In the foreground, perhaps being topped up with a drop of Shell-Mex spirit, is an Austin 10/4 Lichfield, its bonnet raised exposing the four-cylinder sidevalve engine that lurked within the recesses of its engine bay. Shown facing out of the workshop is a mid-1930s Vauxhall, on trade plates.
(Please click the thumbnails to view the full-size Ford images.)
Prefect drop-head coupe outside a garage
The second of the two photographs I have is a much clearer look at the sadly mangled Ford. The towing dolly can be seen beneath the front end of the car. The glistening paint and matching tyres point to the car being very young at the time of its crash. Ordinarily it would have a fixed windscreen surround, painted in the body colour, but this has been ripped off, as has much of the hood, damaging the pram-type hood bows. The remains of one shattered (framed) sidescreen can be seen, sat on the passenger seat.
Quite what happened isn't clear - the front end and indeed most of the body panels do not appear to be damaged, yet the screen and hood are in a bad way. Even the mascot on the top of the rear-hinged bonnet has survived intact. It could have rolled over I suppose - the nearside front wheel is at an odd angle so perhaps it caught a kerb and flipped over - or else maybe the rear of a flatbed lorry backed into it, crushing the upper body but leaving the remainder undamaged? Perhaps a shot of the offside bodywork might have offered firmer clues as to what went on. Was it rebuilt I wonder? The registration isn't in shot, but if anyone has such a tourer today, that was originally black, from the Somerset area, possibly with a bent front axle, then this could explain a few things.
Ford E93A Prefect after a crash
In addition to saloon and drop-head coupe versions of the Prefect, Ford offered a "sports tourer", also a two-door soft-top but with cutaway top edges to the doors, a chrome windscreen surround, and sidescreens rather than the framed wind-up windows found in the car shown above. The tourer only had a simple folding hood, whereas the drop-head coupe had a smart three-position roof, similar to that on the Austin 10/4 Cabriolet. Buyers in Australia had their own version of the tourer.
Return to Page 17 in the vintage gallery.

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