Friday, 30 January 2015

Any old iron...

Well, actually, no.  This is a very rare fibreglass '50s Special body, an Ashley.
In the 50s and 60s there were many fibreglass bodies made for the impecunious car fan so that he could convert his Austin 7 or (in the case of this one) his Ford Popular into a racy bird-puller.  A kind of parallel development to the American Hot Rod fad, but much lower key.  Ashley, along with Falcon and Rochdale were amongst the most successful. In fact this chap tells me he has 2 Rochdales as well, somewhere amongst his packed buildings.

In front of the Ashley is a pair of moulds.  The front one screams Frogeye Sprite, because of the curved bottom edge, but the back, I really can't decipher.  The owner thinks the front is a Lenham, but I'm not too sure.

And finally, a very odd machine.  This is a dock tractor, used for hauling barges around.
It seems to be mainly aluminium and is fitted with a 1500 cc Ford pre crossflow engine, a la Corsair.
Apparently it has a huge rear axle which contains a worm driven diff section.  One assumes this is to allow the quite small engine to develop some useful torque.  It was normal to see these things doing all of 4-5mph.
Of course, all around, under and on top of these is junk, iron and otherwise.
Fenland is full of such places.  Nobody throws anything away.  You should see inside the big shed they're all piled against!  Not every day that you can just alight upon an unused Eaton supercharger for a Mini Cooper (a proper one, not the BMW travesty)

But for weathering details and junk piles, please regard as simply good reference.  And if you can replicate that slightly translucent, mossy, filthy fibreglass mould look, please tell me how.


  1. You're not going to like this but........

    I think you could get the fibreglass effect with 3D printing! I've started cleaning the FUD prints by soaking in white spirits for a few minutes. This seems to turn the clear(ish) material a whiter colour while still being slightly translucent. A quick bit of dry brushing and some ground up pastel later and I don't think you'd be far off. Of course that's not much help unless you have a model to print.

  2. No I don't like it, but it's a bloody good idea! And wouldn't it work well? BUT, who wants to draw in CAD the moulds for an unknown kit car?? That's the problem.

  3. I told you, you wouldn't like it :)

    I guess you could probably find a 3D model ready to buy for a car body shell but not for a mould. I suppose you could cut up a body shell to get something close, especially if the mould was then half buried in a pile of scrap but it's certainly not ideal.

  4. I could make the Ashley and paint it cream, Mark, but the mysterious (or any other) moulds would have to be drawn up and made by the least resolution as moulds are always a mucky finish of laminate, not well done. The flanges where the moulds are bolted together would be best done in the 3D model too, then trimmed back to look like thin flanges. DAMN, why can't I do this CAD business?!

  5. stuartsutherland@me.com11 July 2016 at 13:34

    would love to know the location of that ashley body. im an owner myself and im always looking for them. any details the register would love to see it servived

  6. Stuart, it's next to a big shed/workshop right by the road in a place called Three Holes, not long before you wind your way into Upwell, Cambs. If you come up the road from Littleport, via Welney, you can't miss it on your left, just before the turn left to March (NOT the cross roads but the one after that). As far as I know it's still all there. The same guy also has Eaton superchargers on a shelf in that shed! Good luck, let me know.

  7. Hi Odds,
    Just wondering if Stuart ever got back to you regards the Ashley bodyshell at Three Holes, I just came across your pictures and as I'm an Ashley car Nut would like to use them on my website, which is linked to and is part of a combination of websites I run.

  8. Hi ikos,
    no Stuart never did contact me again, but if you want to use my pics from here, help yourself. I haven't been down there recently but doubt if anything has moved!,

  9. Hi Martin,
    I have just finished writing up the webpages in which I have used your Ashley photo and notes, thought you might be interested.
    I don't expect to get any response from owners (before or after) but will be sure to let you know if I do.