One Of 72! 1965 Ashley Sportiva

I have never heard of an Ashley Sportiva or its parent company, Ashley Laminates. That’s nothing new of course, I am discovering all kinds of things automotive that I have never heard of – nothing new there. This 1965 Sportiva coupe is a really interesting discovery, many thanks to Kyle K. for unearthing it! Unusual cars are always worthy of a close look and this Ashley Sportiva is no exception. It is located in Soesterberg, Netherlands and is available, here on Auto Control, for 22.950 Euros or about $27,700 US.

Ashley Laminates was established in Loughton, England, near Epping Forest in 1955 for the purpose of building fiberglass sports car bodies. In addition to bodies, Ashley produced their own chassis too though there is suspicion that an outside contractor performed the actual manufacturing. In 1963, the company changed its name to Ashley Auto Improvements Ltd and continued making hardtops and bonnets (hoods) before closing their doors in 1972. The Sportiva was one of four models produced by Ashley and estimates are that this Sportiva is one of 72 assembled.

This Sportiva, known as ENX 438C, has a long history and you can check it out in detail here. Originally finished off in red, this Sportiva was restored in 2003 and underwent a color change to a “striking yellow” as the seller denotes. I’d say it is certainly an attention-getting with its extensive green stripes, italicized brand name, and billboard model disclosure displayed along the rocker panels. It’s a matter of preference but the older images of the car, pre advertising, IMHO, make for a much more serious looking sports car. And the seller suggests that the green enhancements are “stuck” (stickers?) and perhaps can be easily removed. The styling of the body is reasonably well balanced and flows reasonably, but the tall greenhouse is awkward looking. That said, the body/panels all appear to be well aligned

Power has been provided by Ford in the form of a 3.0-liter V6 engine according to the historical account provided and that engine replaces the original 1725 CC V6 motor. While the seller suggests that this Sportiva is “Definitely a unique car that is extremely suitable for Rallyes, mountain rides or of course regular tour rides…” he gives no indication as to how this car actually performs. Gear changes are handled via a four-speed manual transmission.

As attention-getting as the exterior is, the interior is a bit more subdued, save the exterior matching instrument panel. It appears to be a leather upholstery environment, both front and back, with a rear seat that would accommodate two moderately sized individuals. The documentation does not mention the interior specifically but it is safe to assume that it was redone in 2003 when the exterior was repainted. Every aspect of it is in perfect looking condition and it shows no need for attention.

Regarding this Ashley’s rarity, the seller suggests, “The chance that you will encounter a second one is very small so exclusivity is guaranteed.” Got that right! The only issue is that you would have to have it transported from the Netherlands to your locale. As I stated at the outset, an Ashley and its Sportiva model is a new one to me, I’m glad that I had this brief encounter. Show of hands, is anyone familiar with this low volume, specialty British brand, and is there anything else that you can add to the Ashley story?

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Comments

  1. Mike

    The paint job is a little over the top and we really don’t need the SPORTIVA V6 on the side. Hard to see its lines over the paint job.

    Like 5
  2. Howard A Member

    go packers!!!

    Like 6
  3. banjo

    You could sneak it into a row of John Deere tractors at a farm show.
    Other than the tragic paint job/ livery this is a very cool vehicle. I see Triumph spitfire, TVR and Aston Martin all represented in there somewhere. I like it a lot! I consider myself a bit of a LBC (Little British Car) buff, but I had never heard of an Ashley! Cool!

    Like 5
    • Little_Cars

      My eyes saw ARKLEY and I was going to immediately ask why you’d never heard of one. Arkley of course was the company that made fiberglass conversion kits for the MG Midget/Austin Sprite bodies to make them look like they had old-timey fenders front and rear.

      Like 3
    • stu

      banjo,
      Funny, if I’m not mistaken this car is the offspring of a John Deer tractor and Sears riding lawn mower after mating…..

      Like 2
  4. Lou Tripper

    72 too many as far as I can tell.

    Like 3
  5. Gerard Frederick

    Nice car, horrendous paint scheme.

    Like 5
  6. Martin Horrocks

    Ashley is not really a marque like TVR, Lotus, Marcos, Ginetta etc. which built complete factory cars and also new cars knocked down in component form for the owner to assemble (tax dodge until 1972 in UK).

    Ashley belongs to an earlier era of suppliers to the “specials” boom of the 1950s. This allowed people to collect second hand components (Austin 7 or Ford 1172) and build the car of their dreams with a basic fibreglass bodyshell (as Glasspar in 50´s USA). Ashley was a specialist body supplier (the recent Israeli Sabra was I think based on an Ashley design) and also chassis if required, but not complete cars. The Sportiva was one of the last and more sophisticated bodyshells available from Ashley, which is generally better known for their fibreglass aftermarket fastback hard tops for Spridgets, MGB and Spitfires.

    This car was finished in 1965, hence the registration number. Most would be earlier. I can´t think of any V6 engine of 1725 cc available in the UK at that time, Rootes had a 4 cylinder of that capacity but most specials ran Ford engine and box.. The 3.0 Essex Ford V6 is a later conversion.

    I would personally keep away from this. It certainly is unusual but you could expect to be a laughing stock if you enter in any serious historic rallies. It just wouldn´t last the distance.

    Like 4
  7. Little_Cars

    That rear suspension looks like it’s doing the Corvair/Porsche/VW dance. Wheel seems tucked under.

    Like 1
  8. Tennis Tim

    Karmann ghia rear view, don’t you think?

    Like 1
  9. SDJames

    Sportiva sounds like one of those drugs for Boomers that are advertised during daytime TV…

  10. chrlsful

    w/the essex & 2 weber DCOE (if it can take side drafts), holley 4v, or 6 Keihins it would B a drug I’d take

  11. Ivor

    As I built an Ashley Sportiva in the 1960’s I would love this car now but being a lot over priced and 12,000 miles away from me it’s a bit out of my reach.
    See my Ashley Sportiva at:
    http://ashleysportiva.weebly.com/ashley-sportiva—6999-mu.html
    also many more on the website.

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