Small-Block Powered Gasser! 1948 Ford Anglia

Who would have ever thought that a diminutive, British coupe, built by Ford UK would prove to be such a drag strip terror in the ’60s? This example, known as the “Bobbin Bear” was barn bound for some length of time, but now it’s out in the open and looking for its next adventure. This “Gasser” is located in Dubuque, Iowa and is available here on eBay for a BIN price of $15,495. Thanks to Larry D for this tip!

Approximately 1.5 MM Ford Anglias were produced between 1939 and 1967. There were numerous models offered and this example appears to be an E04A (1939-1948) which was the initial version of the Anglia offered. Ringing up a total assembly count of 55K copies, with no production occurring in 1942-1945, the E04A was built primarily as a U.K. domestic version family car though exports to North America did commence in 1948.

The Anglia was well represented in “Gasser” class drag racing in the ’60s, right along with Willys and the Kaiser Henry J. This steel-bodied example was built in ’69-’70 and raced until 1974. Where an export Anglia would have been powered by a 1.1 liter, in-line four-cylinder engine, a professionally built small-block Chevrolet engine is now in charge of motivation. While listed as a 388 CI version, it could be a 383 “stroker” which is a common small-block displacement. Whatever the case, it is a strong-sounding, 450 claimed HP engine and this video illustrates it doing a pull on a dynamometer. Old school all the way, this Anglia features a T-10, four-speed manual transmission. Behind the transmission is a Mopar 8 3/4″ differential with, what the seller believes, are 5.13 gears.

The Bobbin Bear has a steel body with a fiberglass front end and rear fenders. The seller believes that the paint was applied in the ’70s and it certainly still presents well. It rides on the original Anglia frame and front axles while utilizing a Vega steering box and a Jegs cage. The windshield and all of the glass have been replaced with heavily blue-tinted Lexan or Plexiglass. Fiberglass-enhanced race cars lose a certain amount of their original visual identity, and that’s certainly the case here but there is no mistaking the Anglia lines. If you can find a Hot Rod or Popular Hotrodding magazine from 50+ years ago, you’ll find the “Gas” class Anglia to be well represented.

The interior has styling by your neighborhood big-box retailer, or wherever one buys OSB and plywood these days. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised by that. The remainder is typical race car minimalism all the way. The diamond plate dash/firewall is a nice touch, it well encapsulates the Gasser vibe. The seller mentions that the cage has just been “tacked in” so a new owner can modify it to accommodate their size.

Definitely a curiosity item, but as to racing provenance, there is no documentation to back up this car’s history. It would seem as if it has been recently rebuilt, or is it being built, to reflect a bygone era. Whatever the case, it is certainly representative of the times. I guess that leaves one remaining question, what would you do with it now?


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  1. Sam Shive

    Pull the bowtie, Put A Ford Back In It And Call Me.

    Like 9
  2. jerry z

    I looked at one of these back in the early 80’s. This car is small! A small block powered 4 speed car must be a E-ticket ride! Unfortunately my body can’t contort to fit in this car. Bummer…especially at that price.

    Like 4
  3. Gary Rhodes

    Decent price on a cool ride. Needs a 426 Hemi and a Clutchflite though.

    Like 6
  4. Steve R

    This is nowhere near track ready. Besides, they no longer fit well into any competitive classes. It might be viable to make a few part throttle passes as part of an exhibition at a nostalgia race. Realistically, this will likely wind up living a pampered life going to local shows like “coffee and cars”, where it is guaranteed to draw crowds.

    Steve R

    Like 9
  5. nlpnt

    Too much money asked now, too much money spent then. If it still had all its’ original sheetmetal and exterior hardware (especially the 1948MY US export cars-only 3-slot grille) and some of its’ original interior (especially the Bakelite dash which at least was common to all 1940-53 models) for $5k I’d say throw a Zetec in, throw some Ranger steelies on, replace the fixed fabric roof insert with a ragtop sunroof and go cruisin’.

    Like 4
    • nlpnt

      …but for $15k in a tiny Euro-tinged Ford, an almost-new Fiesta ST makes a better value proposition.

      Like 1
    • Al

      Last time I saw one of these it had a 500ci Cadillac Big Block in it.
      You had to negotiate around the firewall to sit on the backseat to drive it.

      Like 1
  6. Howard A Member

    Gassers are just the coolest dragsters, but like Steve sez, this one is hardly ready. Without “wheelie bars”, this thing will be on it’s roof. Most of these were built by back yard mechanics, and was just for fun. I agree, the small block is fine for the street, but for drag racing, and I hate to say it, more is better.

    Like 3
  7. Ian C

    A few days worth of work and it could be a cool summertime daily driver.

    Like 1
  8. luke arnott Member

    This is a saloon,NOT a coupe.Originally had 3 speed transmission,transverse springs and mechanical brakes – horrible to drive!

    Like 1
    • ChingaTrailer

      This may very well have been a “Pop” but the Popular isn’t familiar to most Americans. Although these are like a 3/4 scale Model A Ford mechanically, I have always enjoyed them and never thought that they drove horrible. I’ve imported a few from UK.

      Like 1
      • luke arnott Member

        The Anglia was basically a reworked pre war Ford 8.Early ones had a different grille to the later cars.The Anglia then morphed into the Popular.

        Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        You know, in all my years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stock one. Matter of fact, trying to just find an image of a stock one was tough.

        Like 2
      • nlpnt

        930cc, 23hp in home-market form. Cars exported new to the US had a 1172cc 30hp engine, a spec that was called “Anglia Ten” in places like Australia that got both and also used the RAC fiscal hp system. Most seem to have been the Wikipedia car’s green, a pale greige or black.

  9. Tort Member

    In the mid to late sixties a guy bought an Anglia similar to this one, steel body, glass front end, plexiglas windows and similar suspension setup and powered by Hilborn injected 427. Two passes and he pulled the 427 and put it in a 56 Chevy. Came close to buying the Anglia for $300 and make it street legal. This one before taking it to the strip or the the road I would definitely go through and update the suspension before I turned wrench on the engine.

    Like 1
  10. BG in AK

    Using OSB for a template? – Okay. For over $15k, put in a aluminum floor. This just presents itself as tacky.

    • Jay Flag

      Man have you seen the price of OSB lately? That’s VALUE!!! LOL

      Like 5
  11. chrlsful

    basically a “wannaB” but that’s OK. Should have gone further (OSB hasa lota glue to feed any fire) I thought it might B all glass when seein 1st pic / the hood. 2nd 2 go is the “st car” altinater, then on & on right upto the edge of “I’d B uncomfortable gettin my groceries in that”. For the 1st few comments – they used these in the day just B cuz they WERE so sm & a gastation mechanic could throw ina motor he wrenched on all wk into one.

  12. John C.

    Yes these cars are really small and rare. in all my years of going to drag races and car shows I only ever saw 1 in person. They are cool though, somebody will grab this one!

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      For many years they would not pass tech due to the short wheelbase. NHRA had a minimum wheelbase, which this car did not meet, they would be instantly failed. The rule was changed a few years ago, mainly so these cars could run nostalgia races. Serious racers moved on from these cars decades ago, they are too short and too narrow, thus they are squirrelly, even under the best conditions. Most racers made the move to more aerodynamic cars over the last 25-30, years which also happen to be longer, lower and wider, this has made cars like the Anglia irrelevant in any competitive class. That’s why they are mainly seen at nostalgia races.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  13. Troy s

    Most people, including myself, under the age of 60 are aware of the Anglia only because of its use in drag racing. That goes for the Henry J, Hillman, and other weird cars too. Nothing like seeing some stupid little car with big slicks and rattling about through open headers come off the line squirrelly as heck and just scream bloody murder.
    Absolutely nuts.

    Like 1
  14. bog

    In the 60’s these were just as legal as other Gassers and Altereds at AHRA tracks. Saw many of them compete at US 30 Dragstrip in NW Indiana. Pick an engine and someone had that in there…small block Chevy’s to old school Hemis. Absolutely squirrelly unless really dialed in. One of the “prettiest” I’ve ever seen is featured in a Paul McCartney video. Gloss black, with American hot-rod style flames. He’s shown driving it, but I have no idea what engine it has.

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