Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Family History: Ford Anglia

In November 2002, our family ventured out to watch the recently-released movie, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."  The kids loved seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione on the big screen.  For John, though, the most thrilling part of the show was the realization that he had owned a flying car.  


John got a job at age 14, working construction.  He saved his money for the major purchase on every teenage boy's mind--his first car.  When he was 15, he saw an ad in the local newspaper:  "TONKA TOY, '62 Ford Anglia, $150."  John had no idea what a Ford Anglia looked like, but the price was right.  He answered the ad, and found the emerald car hidden in tall grass in the backyard of the seller's houseThe seller took one look at John's eager expression, and promptly dropped the asking price to $50. 

John's dad drove the car home.  It spewed thick black smoke, but it made it.  John and his dad spent countless hours restoring the cute little car.  It came with the original 980 cc. engine, but John replaced it for one with a little more umph--a Ford Pinto 1.6 liter engine.  He cut apart an old car fender to weld on patches to the Anglia's fender.  He re-painted the exterior (coincidentally choosing the same color as the car that appeared in Harry Potter.)



When he purchased the car, the odometer read 34,253.  Though he drove it all through high school and college, he never put a mile on it.  Neither the odometer, nor the speedometer, nor the gas gauge worked.  (Remember that fact--it will factor into our story later.) Despite all of John's hard work, he still managed to have (in his words) "lots of mechanical adventures."  The radiator went out once.  The clutch went out twice.  The alternator fell out.  The headlights went out while John was driving in the mountain canyon, so he drove home by the light of his turn signal.  The heater did not work.  Neither did the shock absorbers. The car had no seat belts, and (by design) the front seats entirely folded forward, basically becoming a catapult in the event of a crash.  Oh, and let's not forget the time that the steering wheel came off while John was driving!  (Fortunately, he was in the driveway when that happened.)  The starter motor (which, according to John, was actually two motors spliced together with JB weld--whatever that means) worked only sometimes.  (That terribly fractured sentence also foreshadows the story to come.)

Yesterday, I stated in my random fact #4 that I had pushed a Ford Anglia uphill on the side of the freeway.  Here's what happened:

It was an exciting, mid-April day in 1987.  John and I had just finished our finals at BYU.  John was just days away from graduation, and a week after that we were getting married.  We were moving our things from our separate apartments to his parents' house, where we would be living after our wedding until John got a job.  John was driving the Anglia, and I was driving the "new" car--a puke-green Dodge Colt, that took a quart of oil with every fill-up.  (It did, however, have seatbelts and a heater, my two requests.) As we approached "Point of the Mountain", John pulled over to the side of the road.  He had misjudged how much fuel was left in the tank, and had run out of gas.  I drove John to the gas station, he purchased gasoline and a gas can, and I drove him back to the Anglia.  After adding gas to the tank, though, we still had a problem:  how to get the car started.  Remember, the starter motor didn't work reliably.  John usually parked on a down slope, so he could easily push-start the car.  However, the car had run out of gas while climbing the mountain.  Though I was experienced in driving a stick-shift, I was not skilled in popping the clutch.  So, John needed to be the one inside the car, and I got to be the one to push the car.  There I was, single-handedly (well, I did use both hands) pushing John's car uphill, trying to work up enough speed so John could pop the clutch and start the engine.  Meanwhile, John yelled out the window, "Faster, Kristi, faster!" I don't know how we did it, but we got the car started.  



If I had known then that the car could actually fly, it would have been so much easier--as long as we avoided the Whomping Willow when we landed!


What are your memorable car stories?

Thanks for little challenges that make such good memories!



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11 comments:

  1. Oh that is too funny! What a great looking car, do you still have it? I don't recall any car stories here....at least not that good! Have a great day!

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    1. I wish we still had it! When John got a job, we ended up moving out of Utah, and he didn't think the car would be able to make the drive. He ended up selling it. One of my dreams is to be able to surprise him with another little Ford Anglia someday.

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  2. Great Story Kristi....thanks for following me I hope you enjoy my posts as well! A recent car story for us about 2 years ago was when we sold our 1997 Nissan Sentry that was sitting in our driveway for many months/year...well this particular weekend was one of those light weekend when none us was getting paid. I was feeling really bummed my daughter was invited to two birthday parties and I had no idea how I could buy a $ 10-$15.00 gift for each child.. so I prayed to Mother Mary and soon after that a landscaping company pulled by the house and asked about the car ...we sold it for 250.00 !:)

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  3. Great memories! This post is going to be cherished by your children.

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  4. Aww, love it! Keep the dream alive!! :-)

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  5. Oh my goodness!!! I love these real life stories!!! Just dropping in to return your sweet visit and to follow (via GFC):))

    Hugs

    PS I would love to invite you to join Lets Get Social Sunday to link up your blog and your social sites (pinterest etc) to meet new friends and gain more followers!! (goes live every Sunday at 6am est) So hope to see you there!!

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  6. I helped my then-boyfriend, later-husband, pick out his first car, a VW bug, the Spring before he graduated from college. Six months later, when he was drafted, I dropped him off for his physical, then had to push the car uphill to get it out of its parking space to go pick him up, because I couldn't put it in reverse.

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  7. How fun. My first car also cost $150. I was a junior in high school and bought my uncle's old 57 Chevy (that was in 1968). Would love to take that car for a spin now : )

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  8. This was a wonderful story! I loved it! My first car purchase of my very own was a 1962 Austin Healey Sprite that I had saved and saved for! It, too did not have a working gas gauge AND it only had a seven gallon gas tank. I got some really threatening letters from AAA for running out of gas to many times. Once in the exact same spot on the Hollywood freeway going home from work exactly 24 hours after the last time I ran out of gas! Same tow truck driver and everything!

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  9. Wow what a story! I remember fun adventures with cars back when and I am so glad I don't have those anymore! This week when my car broke down I called a tow truck - so much easier though it doesn't make for a fun story later! Thanks for linking with me at GSIS!

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!