A part of my life for 10 years, ABF and I said our farewells some 11 years ago – what emotions were awakened reading of her in your November pages. To clarify one or two points: Albert Ford’s premises were cleared in the late 1950s by a couple of VSCC enthusiasts, Metcalfe and Lindsell. This included the two ABFs and a Derby. ABF 2, which resembled a Kingsbury Junior and was known as “The Pup”, was induced to run and visited Bertie Ford before he died in 1962. It had a proprietary horizontally-opposed twin engine. I found and photographed the car around 1980, in Leicestershire, as a rolling chassis. Bertie also built a motorcycle, the AOF, but of its statistics or fate I have no knowledge.
ABF 1, “The Racer”, (he had a sense of humour) was sold on to Tom Potter (seen leaving the premises in your photo with Midgley of Hartley Midgley, Hove) who reassembled her, painting her white. Underneath was the original blue of the 200-mile race Alvis, which I matched during my rebuild.
The chap diving for shelter during Motor 100 was Harry Mundy, from whom I learned the story of the body. He worked with Taylor’s son for Wally Hassan and Coventry-Climax.
The engine photo in fact shows a two-cylinder Dolphin engine, built by Ricardo, and not ABF’s V4. It was one of many photos I collected for ABF’s album, which I felt should stay with her when sold. I certainly drove ABF more than any predecessor; it sounded like a brace of Scott motorcycles and possessed remarkable torque. The weak link was the atmospheric valves, which limited the revs; the tension of the “hair curler” springs was quite critical. With mechanically operated valves it might have been a different story.
Hours of toil, tears and frustration for moments of euphoria! She was as cantankerous as I was told her maker was, but I would have been the poorer had I not been owned by her. Black armbands were worn the day she departed. I wonder who she’s tempting now?
Peter Russell, Thakeham, Sussex.