More and more we are covering Forgotten Fiberglass stories from lands far, far away. Today I have the honor of introducing you to our newest friend from New Zealand – Brian Ford. Welcome aboard Brian!
In the last several months, Brian and I have corresponded via e-mail and have also talked by phone. My “late at night” is his late afternoon – about 18 hours difference as I recall – but we have a great time talking up the cars.
And as with our friends in the UK, the Winston Churchill quote applies to our new friends in New Zealand:
“Two Nations Divided by a Common Language”
Some of the words and phrases we toss about don’t always translate – but that makes it all the more fun (and challenging!) (Note: For those English language scholars out there, the quote above has been also attributed to Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw – but it still applies here nicely *grin*)
Meeting Brian Ford:
When we first started talking, Brian shared with me some fantastic work that he completed in creating a sports car based on a modified Mistral body – a car he calls the “Briford.” More about those in future stories here. But the source of today’s story has to do with his most recent find and acquisition.
Let’s turn it over to Brian and see what he has to say
My latest acquisition believed to be one of 3 only cars made by Sonata Laboratories here in Christchurch, New Zealand. It has Ford 10 E93A running gear and a homemade ladder frame. If you look in the background you’ll see the Briford Sports and the sprint car I’ve been building.
I asked Brian for a bit more information, and he sent the following along:
I’ll just tell you what I know and leave it up to you to use what you want. I got hold of Kelvin Brown, he wrote a book on NZ (New Zealand) Ford 10 specials and owns a Buckler. He thought the car could be a SPF10 – 1 of 4 built (article to follow.)
I’ve discounted this as the body has a different grill/front and the tail/rear fenders are the wrong shape. Kelvin supplied a letter sent to him about the Sonata Laboratories car and from what I can gather this is what the car is. They were never named, only made 3 bodies and ran Ford 10 running gear.
He supplied a couple of photo’s which I’ll email you of the car painted white, red and how I brought it green. It also had the Austin A30 grill which is awful and won’t be used in the restoration. Anyway the spec’s are as I know them.
Built late 50’s, E93A 1172cc Ford 10 motor, 3 speed gearbox, diff, front axle, steering box and wheels. Mechanical brake’s, simple ladder frame using the original Ford front and rear cross members and the gearbox cross member welded to 2 1/2″ exhaust tube runners to form the ladder chassis.
Wheel base 85″, track 47″, 500×16 4 ply conventional tyres, tail shaft shortened about 12″ to bring the motor back in the chassis and improve weight distribution, and of coarse the 1 of 3 fibreglass body’s. Little cars like this weigh in at about 1100lb and with the Aquaplane twin carb inlet, high compression alloy head, and 4 branch exhaust (headers) manifold as they called them, this type of special would be capable of about 90mph.
Hot cam, ported, good valve springs etc. and they would exceed 100mph. Overhead inlet valve conversions like Wiliment power master and Elva were also available and 1172cc racing was very popular in Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Aquaplane still produce racing parts for these engine’s to this day. I’ll email you another couple of magazine articles supplied by Kelvin for you.
My intention is to restore the car back to how it was built but add an alloy Hogan head which were made here in NZ and make my own grill to fit the opening far neater.
This sounds like a great project and I look forward to sharing more with all of you as his restoration progresses. We look forward to hearing from you Brian 🙂
So as you can tell, Brian is “all-in” and an enthusiastic supporter and participant of Forgotten Fiberglass. And I’m excited that he will be sending in more stories concerning some of his cars and history that is unique to that wonderful new land of Forgotten Fiberglass that we’ve now discovered – New Zealand.
Be sure to post your comments below and welcome Brian to our group. You’ll be hearing more from him, his cars and his thoughts here at Forgotten Fiberglass.
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…