Just read this lot re. this car .
About six years ago a member posted this photo. Despite the picture being discussed on numerous forums and magazines worldwide nobody has managed to ID the car, until today. This is from the Pistonheads Forum. https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&f=140...
I know of this car, dating back to when it was first built and I knew the person who built it, so hopefully I can help to fill in a few gaps. Unfortunately, it was a very long time ago, so some details may be a little hazy, but I will endeavour to do my best. I haven’t read all the pages, just had a quick look through the first page and the last one, so I don’t know too much about what is known and what isn’t. I’ve just heard that it was effectively unidentified.
The car was built between 1961 and 1962. I was built very quickly I hasten to add, by a guy called Clive Bowers. He would have been 25/26 at the time and I was 19/20. He and his dad were both massively into aeroplanes and the RAF. They had both worked has aeroplane body builders, hence the ability to build this car. He was highly skilled at quite a young age as he had been in and around doing this from a child really.
The story of the car’s origin stems from their obsession with the RAF. In those days you couldn’t just buy a private registration number off the internet, so when Clive’s dad saw a virtually worthless old car for sale with the registration number RAF 33, he bought it. It was a decrepit Ford 7Y, which was subsequently parked up somewhere at the family home, which was a smallholding, hence no shortage of space and pretty much forgotten about.
Clive used to look at this vehicle with disdain and wondered why they kept it. I was a youth with a major thing about cars, but in those days I wouldn’t have known how or even if you could transfer a registration number, so I assume that it was just fixed to the car it was on back then, so Clive asked his dad if he could take the car and make something special out of it, so that was that.
The body was stripped off the chassis and scrapped. What was left of the car was subjected to a nut and bolt strip down and rebuilt, so it was like new and then Clive built the body which you can see in the photo. It was made from aluminium, it had small gullwing doors and the windscreen was the rear screen from a Nash Metropolitan. I can’t remember exactly why, but apparently there was a building at RAF Mildenhall which was full of Nash Metropolitan parts and he thought it made a good feature for the car, which he wanted to incorporate certain touches from the aerospace world.
He took me out in it on a couple of occasions, but that was only because I was a car mad youth and used to approach him about it. He wasn’t into showing it off or going to shows, rallies or anything like that. I wouldn’t say he was a reclusive type as he was quite sociable, but generally aside from that he kept himself to himself. I’m surprised that no one else appears to have recognised the car, but not surprised that only very few people might have done.
I know the engine was tuned to some degree and the suspension and brakes had been altered, but I can’t remember any details beyond that. The only other thing that stands out in memory was that there wasn’t any interior at all to speak of. The seats were home made and looked unfinished and nothing else had been trimmed out. It was very much unfinished on the inside, but on the outside it was pristine. The paint colour was Cambridge Blue, which was taken from his dad’s MKVIII Jaguar.
As for Clive, I lost touch with him around 1964 and only got back in touch with him in 1993 when having other dealings with a member of his family, which lasted until 1999. I hadn’t seen or heard any of them since then. I remember talking about the car in around 1995 and was told that it was still around and was kept in one of the outbuildings at a property their family owned somewhere just outside Bournemouth. All that was said was that it had been off the road since 1977, he had only ever done a couple of thousand miles in it, but he had swapped out the engine for a more powerful Ford engine he had built. Can’t remember what he said spec-wise, but that it was still in virtually pristine condition at that point, but had still never built any kind of interior for it.
I believe Clive passed away around 5 or 6 years ago now, but not entirely sure. He had no children, so not sure what would have happened to the car if it was still around. He had a couple of sisters who all had children, but didn’t know anything else about them really.
Hopefully that is something to go on anyway. Not sure if you will trace Clive as I believe that it wasn’t actually his real name, think it was a nickname something to do with Clive of India, but only what I was told and that was the name that everyone knew him as, even his parents called it him and his surname was definitely Bowers."
A bigger help may be the registration number of the car, which was definitely RAF 33 and would have shown up as a Ford.