The Ford V8

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Sir,

Your “Ford at Brooklands” article, and especially the reference to V8 coupés being used for trials and rallies, reminded me of the car which my brother and I bought on January 3rd, 1939 from Dennis Poore, then a salesman at Atalanta Cars at Staines but ten years later British Hill Climb Champion, for £20 10s.

Our car was a 1933 Ford V8 drophead coupe complete with dickey seat where the passengers were permanently in the open air. Originally owned by Eric Fernihough, of motorcycle fame, it was fitted with André Telecontrols which allowed shock-absorber adjustment all round from the driver’s seat. The engine had also had some attention and we fitted 6.00 x 18 rebuilt tyres of some knobbliness to the rear and 5.25 x 1 retreads to the front. Hub caps, bumpers, ashtrays, carpets and every removable part were discarded including the V8 badge on the headlamp crossbar which was the only external feature to distinguish it from the four-cylinder models. Parts of the front and rear mudwings were sheared off and the running boards removed.

We now had a car which resembled one of the successful Jabberwock team and, on January 9th, we started on the MCC Exeter Trial. Some 450 miles and 21 hours later, we were home again, having collected a Premier Award and a special Simms Hill medal.

In March, we tried the Wye Cup Trial but were baffled, then the Ford Enthusiasts Club Croydon Driving Tests, before embarking on the Land’s End Trial April, where we collected another “Premier”.

Finally, before being called up for service, brother Ray took the car to Brooklands Ford Motor Gymkhana in June where he came second to Ken Hutchinson in the “Driving-Skill” contest. The authorities were nor very pleased because both the winning cars looked so scruffy!

After the war, it started first press of the button and we swapped it for two bottles of Scotch.

Eric Thompson

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