It’s a generational thing. The Ford Anglia has always gone hand-in-hand with British hot-rodding culture, but this means different things to different people. Back in the 1970s, the go-to image would have been one of sit-up-and-beg Pops with jacked-up rear ends, porthole windows, Rover V8s and chromed Jaguar diffs. Fast-forward to the 1980s and the picture is replaced by Vyvyan’s 105E in The Young Ones, all flames and mischief. And today? Well, it’s the car you’re looking at right here. The Misfit Anglia. For a generation of modifying enthusiasts and show-goers, this is the car.
It’s been around for a little while, and it keeps evolving; back in 2015 the Misfit was the subject of a feature in Custom Car magazine, detailing its rebirth from rusty and unloved saloon to mould-breaking and scene-stealing hot rod. And every year it’s grown, improved, transmogrified. You’ve probably spotted the generous spread of ‘winner’ stickers gummed to the hand-crafted split windscreen – they’re just the accolades it’s received in 2022. This thing goes to all the shows, and more often than not it runs away with all the silverware.
Why ‘Misfit’? Because that’s precisely what it is. Received wisdom will tell you that there are correct ways to build a hot rod, certain things that you ought to do and certain things that you really shouldn’t do, and any deviation thereof is to be met with derision. But that old-school snobbishness is a load of old cobblers, really. This Anglia was conceived to deliberately step outside the parameters of what ‘should’ be done; to upset apple-carts and have thoughts outside of boxes and all those other clichés, at once screwing their very essence into a tight little ball and trebucheting it over the horizon. What’s the opposite of a cliché? You’re looking at it, really. A car which refuses to be defined.
There’s a lot of BMW in here for starters, which really irritates a lot of people who feel that a V8 of some description, be it Rover or something from Detroit, must be the only way to go. The motor is a four-cylinder M42 pinched from an E30 BMW 318is, generously boosted by an Eaton M45 supercharger. Digging deeper, we also find the E30’s gearbox, clutch, servo, differential, half-shafts, hubs and bearing carriers. The car runs Avo coilovers, with a De Dion 4-linked rear axle with Watt’s linkage. The brakes were sourced from a BMW MINI for the rear and a Ford Sierra at the front, with a modified Hillman Imp steering rack; the front stubs and kingpins are from a Ford Pop. It’s a truly ingenious fusion of disparate parts that all adds up to something wholly unexpected and mightily impressive. The boosted BMW four-pot runs an Emerald K6 ECU, and the performance really is vivid – enough to pin you back in your seat under hearty acceleration, while making some truly magnificent noises from the sneaky tailpipe that exits through the bodywork ahead of the nearside rear wheel. This is a car that’s been engineered as much for road trips as for winning show trophies, and it really is enormous fun to drive; its creator never intended to be trailering this to shows, and it’s travelled the length and breadth of the country with endless style and, impressively, endless reliability too.
We’re not going to pretend it’s comfortable in the traditional sense. Those unique seats have a bit of leather-trimmed padding, but you’re never going to sink into them like a Bentley lounge chair. And with that aggressive roof chop, there’s not a whole lot of headroom if you’re anywhere over six-foot-one. But what’s crucial is that it isn’t uncomfortable: once you’re cocooned inside you’ll find that everything’s within easy reach, and the clever suspension setup ensures that the ride is actually remarkably pleasant – not jarring or crashy, it rides like a sports car rather than a compromised pan-scraper. This is, of course, attributable to the fact that a huge amount of thought and effort has been put into every individual detail throughout the car – and this is particularly evident in the interior. It’s a full custom creation, painstakingly built and beautifully finished; the bomber bucket seats are slender and mounted low, with Willans 4-point harnesses on bespoke mount bars to keep you firmly cuddled in. There’s a custom rollcage behind – in fact, everything is custom, from the doorcards and pedals to the rear-view mirror and the gear shifter with its Ferrari 308 GTS gearknob. The pistol-grip handbrake has a pleasingly light operation, testament to how this car has been engineered to be usable; the screw-top unit on the passenger side dash is actually a cigar lighter, and the cabin features a bank of SoCal dials along with a boost gauge mounted outside on the nose. Every detail is exquisite: the Ford Capri steering column, the orange Perspex sun visor, the vintage polished fire extinguisher that’s been repurposed as a windscreen washer bottle… you can see why this is a multiple show winner. So much thought and care has gone into each aspect, it’s properly mind-blowing.
One particularly intriguing fact about the Misfit is that it came within a gnat’s wing of finding itself in toy-boxes across the globe. Hot Wheels, manufacturer of iconic models from time immemorial, run an annual ‘Legends Tour’, cherry-picking the world’s greatest custom cars with the winner being immortalised in production-run miniature. And while the Misfit didn’t win outright, it won the UK leg in 2022, making it the only European entrant into the final top-10. When you consider how bustling and creative the custom car scene is across the world, that’s a remarkable achievement.
The look of the car is extremely offbeat, which sets it firmly in the Hot Wheels wheelhouse, and the more you look at the body, the more extraordinary details you find: the familiar elements of the Anglia 105E body now sit atop a custom chassis, and the quality and quantity of fabrication work throughout is mightily impressive; the roof has been chopped, with custom windows cut and a unique split-screen front. A mini-bonnet was fabricated, housing the radiator and incorporating original 105E design elements including the headlights, while the rear end has 1959 Cadillac taillights and a cunning third brake light in the roof. The boot is extremely clever – pulling the number plate bracket pops open the bootlid, inside which we find the relocated battery, fuel cell, jack and fire extinguisher. And those controversial split-rim BBS wheels? They were sourced from a Ferrari GT race car, and wear vintage-style tyres with pinstripes to artfully fuse the old and the, er, slightly less old. The Misfit takes cues from traditional hot rod culture, but also elements from the contemporary stance and show scenes, to create a steampunk vision of modern modding. And its most alluring attribute is that it hasn’t just been crafted to be interesting to look at; it’s a proper driver’s car, built by a proper driver, and the more you poke about in the car, the more obvious it becomes that the Misfit has been built to last. Quality and integrity are the watchwords – this hot rod is a moment in time, but also one for the ages. And don’t try to pigeonhole it. It won’t like that. The Misfit label is one worn with pride – a car deliberately unlike any other.
Then of course, we have the best bit about this incredible, truly unique machine – it could be yours. Yes, the Misfit is currently available on Car & Classic Auctions, and is but a bid away from being in your garage, or on your drive, or snapping necks on your local high street. And while the car world loves to use the line of ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ the reality is that in this case, it’s 100% true. There is only one Misfit, and this is your unrepeatable chance to own it. Click here to see the Misfit auction listing, or click any of the images above. Good luck with your bid!