Page 5. 1954 Ford Sidevalve MARTIN Sports Special. SOLD

1954 Ford Sidevalve MARTIN Sports Special on 1946 Fordson chassis

Update 18th March 2009 NEW PHOTOS + VIDEO now added – Please see below:

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After WW2, with massive war debts to repay to the USA, Great Britain’s vehicle industry focussed only on exports to bring in much-needed foreign exchange. As a result, folks in GB were starved of new cars and motorcycles. This situation continued well into the 1950’s (along with rationing).

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We had plenty of motor shows, and a Festival of Britain too, in 1951, but, as a result of no home sales these became showcases for industry. The man in the street had to make do with secondhand motors, which were at a premium.

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It was in this climate that the postwar cyclemotor boom took place, being engines you could attach to your bicycle to create a motorcycle. I have a keen interest in this period of history (it was when I was born), which is why you’ll see so many cyclemotors in these pages. Visit the Online Cyclemaster Museum – http://Cyclemaster.co.uk to find out more about this forgotten era.

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But I digress. Secondhand motors is the theme of this introduction to the Martin Sports Ford Special. Because although part of this car was brand new in 1954, the other part was a 1946 Ford commercial – what we later nicknamed a ‘Porkpie van.’

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Just look at the ad below, from 1950 Autocar to see what I mean about exports.

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“An instantaneous success overseas” and “available for exports less engine.” Poor British chaps. The Paramount, below, was a well-designed postwar Ford special with aluminium body.

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It was against this background that cars did eventually start to appear on the home market. But, just as cyclemotors were sold separately to make your own motorized machine, some cars were also marketed in kit form (They were cheaper because they did not attract sales tax).

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MARTIN PLASTICS (MAIDSTONE) Ltd

later MARTIN COACHWORKS (MAIDSTONE) Ltd

89 Bearsted Rd, Maidstone, Kent

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Martin was one of the first companies to make fibreglass special bodies for cars in the fifties, designed to fit the Ford Anglia chassis.

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Frederick E. Martin started out as a panel beater, and established Martin Plastics in 1953. The prototype was produced in the same year (TKK 86), and exhibited on the Bakelite Stand at the British Plastics Exhibition. It received an award for good design.

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Only five are still known to exist: one is in Germany undergoing a long restoration. I think this is the best remaining example.

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It is body number 4.
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The Martin has a Ford 8hp sidevalve engine. It’s very clean.

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Parts were easily and cheaply obtainable at the time for the Ford donor cars used in these specials, and they still are. By the sixties there were many companies making special fibreglass bodies for the Ford chassis.

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The Martin sold for £100. You can see in this dealer’s advert a price of £245 for a fully fitted example.

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I collected the Martin from storage today, and my mechanic will MOT it shortly.

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The Martin has been rewired, with a new loom and fuses.

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It has a part-boxed chassis, which has been hammerited, but has never needed welding.

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The tonneau fits well and is similar to those in MG’s and Austin Healeys.
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The colour is 2-pack red synthetic, which is very hard paint. It was resprayed three or four years ago.

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The clutch and gearbox are good, and the engine starts (6v starter) and runs well.

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It’s a two-seater, with space between the two seats.

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YOU CAN SEE A SHORT VIDEO OF IT BELOW

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Published on April 17, 2008 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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