Danny Hassel's 1958 Anglia
(from Volume 26, Issue 310)

story by Danny Hassel, photos by Michael B. Kelly


I was born in Lakewood, Ohio to a father who was a very competitive drag racer. His name was Ron Hassel, and he raced Anglias and Willys in the NHRA Gas Coupe class. He won that class many times, and is an inductee into the East Coast Drag Racing Hall of Fame. My dad now has a collection of show cars that have won awards at major events all across the east coast of the USA, and his cars have been in prestigious car magazines and used in advertisements. He started All-Midwest Sales, a high performance parts representative agency, which was one of the first to join SEMA. I always had a great time at the races as a kid, watching and waiting until someday I could also get into racing. So you can say it was passed along to me by my father.

I started out my journey into life at a machine shop working on lathes and mills. Then I got a job at Boyds Racing Engines learning how to rebuild engines. As the business grew I was assembling engines for the NASCAR Busch series, Goody’s Dash, NHRA, power boats, and did my own go-cart engines as a hobby. Racing became a way of life in my own family, as my son Carl was racing go-carts, and younger son Randy got into racing modified ATVs.

I had an industrial accident that put a spin in my life, and had a hard time accepting I was going to be disabled. I decided to do something to keep me going, so I bought an Anglia, which has always been my dream car from back when my dad was racing them. I bought the car from Jerry Gwynn, who is a very well known drag racer and father of Darrell Gwynn. I had a couple of great friends, Barry Parks Sr. and Barry Parks Jr., that went with me to Miami to pick up the car at a race shop. We hooked up the donor to the wrecker, and the 20 year journey began.

When we got the Anglia home we separated the body from the chassis and built a wood frame to transport the body and running gear to Fat Man Fabrications. They did the frame and metal work on the body and had it into a roller a few months later. Once home I started fitting all the parts that make it a complete car. Wow, that was really hard, never having built a whole car and now trying to fit what seemed like two tons of parts in a car that was at times just too small. It took lots of time to get it all fitted. I took it for a test run and I was hooked.

I then started with the paint and was halfway done, but was struggling with my disability when I met my new neighbor who owned a body shop. He knew I was struggling and offered to help get my dream back on track. Therefore I owe a big “Thank You” to Paul Hawks from Bernie’s Body Shop in Lakeland. They finished all my front end parts, then in was on to the interior. I wanted a different look, but still wanted it to look old and cool. Plus I didn’t want a roll cage, since that wouldn’t help me with the mobility of getting in and out. With little funds and help from my dad I was able to have some things done, such as recover the seats, headliner and a few other things.

At this point we were close, and it was time for the first ride....upon which the oil pan cracked. Well, another hurdle. With a new oil pan installed it was time for our first car show. My wife Shelley and I enjoyed that first event, but upon driving home we had a blowout that ripped the fender half off the car. So she was sitting again. Bernie’s stepped up and fixed the fender for me, and got me back on track. Thanks again Paul for coming to the rescue. We got a couple more shows in and then the world came to a halt with the pandemic. It was hard going into the garage to look at the Anglia, but not being able to show and enjoy my dream with others. Then I got a call from Mike Kelly’s Cruise News magazine wanting to do a photo shoot. Wow! From hard knocks to photo shoot!

The car itself features a 509 cubic inch big block Chevy that puts out 550hp and 540 foot pounds of torque, thanks to a .600 lift Comp cam with solid lifters, 1.7 ratio roller rockers, 850 Holley carb, and a PerTronix Flame Thrower HP distributor, coil and spark box. It is fitted with custom headers with Flowmaster mufflers, Zoops pulleys and brackets, and is cooled with a Griffin custom radiator and fan. The power is passed on to a 6-speed Richmond manual transmission with overdrive, Lakewood bell housing, plus a Centerforce clutch and flywheel. Then finally a Currie 9-inch Ford rear end with big bearing and big axles, Strange polished aluminum center section, 4.11 Richmond gears and a Detroit locker. The power is put down thanks to 15x16 inch rear Intro rims wrapped in Mickey Thompson 29x18.5x15 inch radial tires.

Everything is built upon a Fatman 2x3 inch square tube frame with a 4-link, custom X-member, custom sway bar, modified manual Mustang rack, Carrera shocks and chrome springs, tubular A-arms, and competition wheelie bars out back. The front brakes are SSBC 4-piston calipers with vented and slotted rotors, while the rear utilizes a Mustang big brake kit with slotted rotors, with a dual master cylinder and vacuum pump rounding everything out.
Moving inside you will find a polished Ididit column topped with a polished steering wheel, hand made gas, brake and clutch pedals, an Intellitronix digital 6 gauge dash unit, and a JVC stereo head unit with a 7-inch display (which is also used for the backup camera). A 2-channel Kenwood amp supplies 1,000 watts, and behind the bucket seats resides a pair of 6-inch 3-way speakers along with two 12-inch sub woofers.

It has all been very humbling, as I was using the car not only as my therapy but also as a great motivator. Every time I said “I can’t”, a couple days, weeks or months later I was able to jump the next hurdle and carry on with my dream. Thanks to all that helped me in my journey, and now “WE CRUZN” - that’s the personalized license plate on my car, and where my journey has taken me as of now. CN