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Ashley 1172 Roadster.

Alex stumbled across several mentions of the Ashley 1172 on the site in February 2013, and was kind enough to email over colour photographs of the Ashley (Ford-based) special that he built between 1958 and 1962. The 1172 was produced by Ashley Laminates either as a coupe (I had an 1172cc Coupe some years ago), or as a Roadster, which is the version that Alex opted for, as he now recalls:
"I have just discovered your website and found it most interesting, especially as you have a section about Ford Specials. These pics are of a car I built between '58 and '62 whilst an apprentice at the Sun Printers in Watford. The chassis is Tornado (from just down the road in Rickmansworth) and the body Ashley Laminates. As the two wheelbases were different the rear arches were altered to fit the body. Incidently whilst collecting parts for my car at the Tornado factory, I had turned up in my father's brand new Triumph Herald. The moment I arrived I was requested to open the bonnet so they could investigate the front suspension of this just-announced design. I didn't realise it at the time but what they were interested in was the rack and pinon steering and the front upright, I guess this was with the still-to-be-announced Talisman in mind."
"The fun for me was always in the building rather than the driving. The build took me four years mainly because of lack of money and also because I discovered girls along the way! In fact we drove the car to Zandvoort to watch the Dutch Grand Prix in 1963 on our honeymoon. I have always enjoyed low volume specialist cars and to this end in the '80s rebuilt a Lotus Europa Twin cam onto a new chassis. My current fun car is a TVR Griffith 500 which follows the same route of fibreglass body on a separate chassis... however with slightly more performance than the Ford E93A. I wonder if the car still exists but doubt it."
The first of the images is a front-on view of the near-completed car, note the Lucas P700 Tripod headlamps fitted. The car has yet to receive its stick-on numberplates, although a racey wing-mounted bullet mirror is now in place for the driver.
(Please click the thumbnails to view the full-size Ashley images.)
Front view of the Ashley 1172 car
The second photo shows the Ashley from the rear three-quarter angle (front wheels now in the straight-ahead position). The rear plate has also to be fitted. Note the radio aerial, steering wheel, and the desirable Ballamy 15" steel road wheels. A neighbour's Austin A40 Somerset can be seen in the background, its wheel tracks visible traversing the dusting of snow evident on the pavements.
Ashley Roadster, rear view
The car now sports its registration number - 7460 UR - and a tax disc, plus it has gained a badge above the stick-on plate, and tiny protective bumpers to the rear edges of the doors.
The car registered for use
The car's dashboard is shown next, incorporating a number of 2" diameter auxiliary gauges surrounding the central speedometer. I can't say that I've seen that steering wheel before, reminiscent of the quartic type fitted to the early Austin Allegro in years to come. A remote gearshift has been fitted to the Ashley, while the flashing turn signals are handled via a switch (similar to that found on the Austin A35) mounted on the transmission tunnel.
The car registered for use
Beneath the bonnet lay a much-modified Ford 1172 sidevalve engine. In evidence are two SU carburettors, a tubular exhaust manifold, and a remote canister oil filter. A low slung horizontal radiator has been fitted in the nose of the car, connected to a remote header tank. The coil spring and damper arrangement of the Tornado special chassis can clearly be seen, a great improvement over the standard Ford 10 chassis that supported many Ashley bodyshells.
Tuned Ford 1172 engine
Does anyone know what became of the Ashley? It was sold - via a dealer - to someone that worked at the De Havilland aircraft factory at Hatfield. Is the car still tucked away somewhere? Although there is no current record of a car with this registration being on the road, the car could still exist somewhere. Does anyone recognise it?
My thanks to Alex for allowing me to share these photos on the site.

Another Ford-based Ashley, built in 1960.

I'm grateful to Tony for allowing me to share this photo of his father, and the Ashley 1172 that he built in 1960. Not only does this photo of the car, registration TKU 474, survive, but also a newspaper clipping that explains how his father, Leslie Blomfield, decided to undertake the project in the first place. Most Ashleys were built onto Ford Pop 103E running gear. The spoked wheels, and centre caps bearing the "Ford" legend, point to this car being built around the earlier Ford Model C chassis, of the 1930s. Note the different windscreen assembly, and what appear to be 5" diameter headlamps as opposed to the usual 7" Lucas 700 style. The TKU series hails from Bradford, and was first used in March 1960.
Ashley 1172 from 1960
Newspaper cutting re the Ashley
News of a very similar Ashley 1172 Roadster that now lives in Italy arrived via email a few years ago, the story of that particular car can be found here.

Ashley advertisement.

Below is an original advertisement for both the fixed-head and roadster versions of Ashley Laminates' products, circa 1959.
Ashley Laminates
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