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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This story was inspired by a previous post entitled 'Chopped A55, is it dead?'. My old chopped A55 is mentioned in this post by 'Madron' as a favourite car. Thanks for that! So here is it's history.

I bought the car, a 1958 Austin A55 Cambridge, 579AKC, from a work colleague sometime in 1978 for £50! My intention was to build a traditional old style Custom, and a roof chop was essential. After making several enquiries the car was driven down to 'Street Rod Engineering' in Bishops Stortford for the chop, which was to retain the four door configuration. ( I don't like two door conversions of four door cars, they just look disproportionate to my critical eye! ). SRE also permanently lowered the suspension with cut front coils and fabricated rear blocks. Four rows of louvres were punched into the bonnet, with a small row of louvres in the boot lid. They also sourced and cut down a laminated A60 Van/Pickup windscreen and fabricated the rear perspex screen.

After several months the car was ready for collection. I drove it back to Manchester on a bitterly cold winter day, with snow on the ground and no side windows! Talk about frozen to death!

Some days later my good friends 'Chicago John' O'Flaherty, his brother Kevin and Colin Blood, who took the b+w photos, came over to see the chop job. One of Colin's photos was later published in 'Street Rodder', with Kevin pointing out the roof chop. We discussed further bodywork and paint.

After removing the bumpers and the rest of the unwanted trim I drove the car over to 'Chevell Motors' in Salford. This was the bodyshop where John worked, and more importantly kept his chopped, flathead powered '32 Ford 5 window coupe. A great place for Hot Rodders to hang out! John did the remaining bodywork on the car, filling all the trim holes, replacing a rusty door bottom and lead loading the grille opening where it had rusted behind the trims. Yes,this was a Sled with Real Lead in it! I used to visit on my days off from work and help prep the body for paint. Ford Signal Yellow was my chosen colour.

The car was then left to allow the paint to harden for several weeks back in my garage, before I flatted and polished it. Meanwhile I removed and painted the wheels with red engine enamel, and sorted out fixed side window glass. The final touches were the dummy teardrop spotlights, which had taken ages to source, and an original 'British Hot Rod Association' triangular water slide decal in the windscreen. This was kindly sent to me anonymously following a wanted ad in 'Drag Racing News'. Thanks!

I enjoyed the car for several years, taking it up to York Raceway regularly, as pictured. In those days you could get a free season's pass in exchange for displaying your custom car in the pits and driving up and down the strip a few times during the lunch break. Happy Days!

I finally parted with the car early in 1982, p/xed against a '68 Plymouth Satellite, and have stayed with American cars ever since. I have sourced some subsequent photos from the web, so if they are yours thanks very much! The last photo I have is a 'for sale' ad from 'Street Machine' showing the car two doored, re registered and seemingly having 'glass front wings.

I was sad to learn, via this website, that the A55 eventually got scrapped. Shame! Now that Rat Rods and traditional Kustoms are very much 'en vogue' I think it would have fitted in rather well! Some things are just before their time, eh?



Here's a link to view the photos: Chopped Austin A55 Custom Photos by MrMotormind | Photobucket

Thanks for taking the time to read all this. Phil Waters.
 

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Kool story, kool kar thanks for sharing, I love these little Austins as you may have guessed
 

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The pic at York is next to Cliff Moore's T Bone Special. He was a member of the Lone Wolfs Custom Club that we were in at the time, I remember that car. Nice Chop.
 

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I owned it for a while It was pink when I got it (off a number plate dealer) and I did it green then sold it to Clingo from Cleethorpes who two doored it
 

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Myself and Kev 'Digger' Lees bought the car from Manchester way, god years ago now, we were driving it home when we spotted a white '59 Vauxhall hi-rider which Digger then decided he wanted that, we took the car home, introduced Ron 'Madron' Shentall to it who bought it immediately, we then went back to Manchester and bought the Vauxhall as well. Ron run it for a good while, always reliable and turned heads everywhere. We were all in the 'Lonewolfs' car club at the time which me and Digger started, we ended up with the Lowrider and the Hi-rider in the same club, looked awesome parked side by side.

Cheers,
Micky T.
 

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as Micky T says i had it for awhile did a few mods like removed door handles for smooth look and fitted a moggy minor rear screen and steel frame as rear perspex used to "pop out" when you hit a bump added smooth full size hubcaps fitted an mg magnette engine but couldnt get twin carbs on as no room fibreglassed over inside of boot as louvres used to pull water into boot and rechromed appleton spotlights as pitted loved it till i spotted a ford classic with a daimler v8 and biggest mistake was swapping as wife wouldnt speak to me for over 3 months
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Hi there 'Madron', thanks for posting this.

I'm pleased that you had so much fun with the ol' A55, and wondered what the replacement rear screen was. I have lots of great memories of the car too, and have sometimes wished I'd never sold it. But then...in my first post on here I stated that I p/x'd it against a '68 Plymouth Satellite, and when I later sold the Satellite, in Nov '82, the buyers were a lovely girl called Karen and her then boyfriend.

Over the years I would always run into Karen at various car shows and would have a chat for a few minutes. She always had some guy in tow. Finally in 2011, at the Stars & Stripes show at Tatton Park, she found me sitting next to my old Dodge Challenger, and announced that she'd recently split from her partner of 12 years. Alarm bells immediately started ringing in my head! Anyway, the following Feb we were married in Vegas, and just had our 2nd anniversary last week.

So I guess if I'd never sold the A55 none of this would have ever happened! Moral of the story? Some things in life are worth waiting for, even if it takes 30 years!
 

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ye rear screen was the rear out of a split screen moggy that was half rotted away so wasnt ripping apart a good one and ye had some great times in her couple of stories for you took cliff moores wife angie (rip babe) in it at knebworth went over railway tracks and she hit her head on roof so hard thought i had killed her but was ok thank god another day was going to scunthorpe taking a couple of mates to look at a rod and one said this wheel arch is warm couple of miles later he sez this arch is red hot so stopped and wheel had come off and just rolling round under arch with being so low saved us that car had so many stories and fancy meeting the love of your life because of the car i did try finding it a couple of times but alas didnt o well onwards an upwards got jam roller now to rebuild you take care
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Flippin' heck, you got Jam Roller? I remember that car from the old days at the Leeds cruise, it was one of my all time favourite Rods, such perfect proportions! Good luck with the rebuild.
 

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This is the car when I got it, green & white. I decided to make it into a 2-door, also removing the air intake from the bonnet. I made a frame up to get the shape using welding wire, then skinned it by making six shaped pieces of steel,the result made the effort worth while. I ran it in primer to start with, then painted it in the purple with green scallops. I sold it to my mate who kept it in a garage that was shorter than the car, so the boot area was exposed to the elements. It let rainwater in, which rotted all of the boot floor out, which led to it`s scrapping. I met the guy who had the car built originally, at the old Notts Americana show. He said that he recognised the car because of the louvred boot, which he had to seal up,as the louvres let in water






 
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