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BUCKLERS LEAD -- OTHERS FOLLOW

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Chris Pritchard has been in touch. He owned a Buckler/Mistral for many years with an interesting registration 1172FD. Surprisingly, powered by an 1172 !
Chris competed at Loton park on the same day as GHT866 c1967/8 Where is she now???... more to follow.

Dear Simon,
I have just stumbled upon your site, and would like to add a bit of my experience with Bucklers. During about 1967 I was trundling along the road from Cannock towards Shrewsbury (where I lived at the time) in a 1934 MG PA. A most interesting red vehicle was sat on someone's driveway, and I left a note at the house asking if it may be for sale. I had no idea what it was , but a few weeks later the owner telephoned me and said I could purchase for the grand sum of (I think) 55. It looked like a mini E type, but the engine was tiny with a flat head and two SU carbs similar to the MG. I had no knowledge of E93a or side valves, nor any such stuff, being a kid biker with AJS and Matchless motor cycles prior to the MG.
Anyhow I bought the car, and duly headed for Shrewsbury. Boy, after the MG it was so fast! It would actually climb the steep hill before Wellington in top gear. The fact that it only had three probably helped. But it did everything so well. Light steering (skinny crossplies), fabulous sound (had a bit of alloy TV aerial piping for an exhaust) and oooh so sexy (didnt have any doors)
But the best was to come. Shortly after someone advised me that the registration was worth more than the car. It was actually 1172 FD, which was probably the most common engine in England at the time. This was before the days of personalised plates. Today every third car seems to have a p / plate. I often wondered how it could have been blessed with such a grand registration. The previous owner was a policeman, so may have had influence in obtaining it. I have seen similar registrations and they are usually 1959 vintage and Trade Plates.
I still had no idea what the car was, and didn't for many a year. Anyhow the third week of ownership resulted in the engine blowing up. But I was in love with it, and
duly rolled it down the hill in to Shrewsbury to Greens Garage in Frankwell, a friend of my fathers. In less than a week, they had fitted it out with a new engine, and relieved me of considerably more cash than the car had cost. I was so excited when it was ready, and had to "cruise" around Shrewsbury town centre with the hood off. What a fool! It promptly boiled outside Wildings/ Marks and Spencer because the engine was so tight (and didn't have a fan). I quickly popped the hood up to hide my embarrassment.
It was full of Aquaplane stuff. A flywheel which weighed practically nothing. The engine would rev instantly and stall as quickly. A close ratio three speeder. First would reach fifty, and reverse would do fifty as well (amazing!) It always seemed to be at its best just before the engine was reaching boiling point. My head was always rubbing on the hood when up, and so a friends dad designed a new floor plan, which dropped the seats to within a couple of inches from the floor. Oh so cool. I could now look through the Brooklands steering wheel.
One day I was at Loton Park (the local hill climb park) and there was an identical car competing on the course. However the owner of this car had fitted it out with a Jaguar XK engine and running gear to compliment the power. I was so jealous with my humble side valve. However he informed me that the vehicles were Buckler specials with Mistral bodies. Now I knew!
Many fond memories followed. I can remember arranging a date with a local girl. Having sped up to the pre arranged meeting point, she looked at this contraption and said " Im not getting in that" and promptly left. At that point I decided I must cut in some doors. I kept the car for a few years, and foolishly let it go to a chap from Worcester, as I was heavily involved in restoring a 1937 MG VA at the time. I had always dreamed of building a crossflow with Lotus ancillaries to the car, and converting the rod brakes to hydraulic and such stuff. There followed two Lotus Sevens, and a 3.8 E Type, but they were never as special as the Buckler. I tried to track it down with the help of the policeman at Nesscliffe via DVLA, but to no avail. I fear it may have been scrapped. Unless your Register knows better.
With kind regards......................Chris Pritchard

 

 

 

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