Back in 2003 I was looking for a project. It had to be a Ford. It had to be rear wheel drive. And it had to be 1960s.
Scouring eBay, I saw a 1960 107e Prefect that looked interesting. According to the vendor, it had had been rescued from the leaky garage where it had not moved from, since 1976. It only had 42,000 miles, and aside from looking a bit worse for wear, looked very solid. The only problem was it was in Maidstone, Kent. I am in Bradford, West Yorkshire. That’s a 460 mile round trip.
That weekend, I was due to travel to my brother in laws in Bishops Stortford. That’s only a 120 mile round trip, so contacted the vendor to arrange to see the car, secretly hoping it would be a wreck.
I was watching the auction all week. The starting price was £400. No bids.
At Bishops Stortford on the Friday night, my brother in law decided to come along for the trip. We checked the auction. It was ending in a couple of hours, and just one bid. We turned up at the guys house, and he showed the car to us.
The paint was flat, the wings weren’t fitted properly, the front panel was dented, the rear window was missing, lights were missing and the rear quarters were covered in rust from where the garage leaked. On the plus side, it was solid, and it started first time and actually drove. The only rust I could find was round the boot drain hole. I offered him £425 cash, which he accepted. While he was talking to us, he’d had a couple of bids and the price was £450, but the deal was done and he cancelled the auction.
After getting it home, I enlisted the help of a paint spraying friend, and got it painted up in its original maroon. We decided not to bother fixing the minor car park dings it had picked up over the years, and wanted it to look like a ‘survivor’ car. Unrestored and as original as possible.
Over the following months, I’d got the car back together and almost ready for an MOT, when a friend decided to sell his Anglia Van. I needed to sell Prefect to buy the Van, so back on ebay it went. I sold it to a guy who lived around the corner from where I’d bought it from. He said he’d bought it because the registration 33KKR was a Maidstone number, and he had another car with a similar number.
I noticed it popped up on ebay a couple more times over the next couple of years, coming back up north to Manchester, and then over to Wales. That final appearance on ebay it sold for quite a lot more than what I paid!
A few months later on the Old Skool Ford forum, someone posted some pictures of a Prefect that race legends Alan Mann were building. I asked for more info as it looked like 33KKR, but couldn’t tell. I didn’t get any replies, so I didn’t know for sure.
The next year I was watching the Goodwood Revival on TV, and there on the grid of the St Marys Trophy race was ‘my’ Prefect! I was so excited, texting everyone I knew. Alan Mann had indeed turned ‘my’ Prefect into a race car. I recorded the two races and must have watched them over and over. Part of the coverage focussed on the Prefect battling it out with a Mk VII Jaguar.
Fast forward to 4:44 to see Henry Mann giving the Prefect some stick.
After a couple of years, the Prefect passed into the ownership of chef James Martin. I don’t have any videos of him racing it, although at the 2014 Goodwood Revival Jason Plato drove her.
All I’m hoping now is that when James Martin gets bored and wants to sell, I can purchase her back for the £425 I paid originally.