Rex Rexroat's 1948 Ford Prefect
(from Volume 24, Issue 277)

story by owner Rex Rexroat, photos by Michael B. Kelly


After a 30+ year hiatus from hot rods, I ended up with an unusual car to get back in the hobby. A friend of mine had owned the car previously and I always thought it was different. I got this 1948 Ford Prefect (4-Door) version of an Anglia through a trade. A lot of these models were used in London as taxis. I picked the car up in Sebring and drove it home, complete with a leaking radiator and a few other minor problems. At that time it had a 402 cubic inch big block Chevy, which gave the car a sufficient amount of power, and it was an excellent driver for such a short wheelbase. The car was originally built by John O’Brian.

Like most hot rodders, over the years, small changes were made. That included the front and rear suspension, drivetrain, body work, paint, engines, etc. It is on its fourth engine. The 402 was replaced with a 468 cubic inch big block Chevy, then a 496, then to the present power plant, a 572 cubic inch big block Chevy.

My friend Cipi Garcia decided we needed to upgrade the suspension, so out came the Monza front. We fabricated tubular upper and lower control arms with adjustable coil overs, the front ride height is adjustable from 1 to 7 inches in a minimal amount of time, as is the 4-link rear. We fabricated new headers as none are available for these little cars, and they flow through 4-inch exhaust into Outlaw Flowmasters.

The frame is a 2x4-inch tube chassis. The rear housing (4130 fabricated plate housing) holds a 4:10:1 geared 9-inch Ford with a full Moser spool and 35 spline Moser axles. The fabricated C/M wheelie bars make for straight launches, while the Aerospace 4-piston disc brakes help slow the Prefect down.

The 572 has all the good “go fast stuff”. That includes a GM Bowtie block, Lunati nitrided crank, Lunati Pro Mod rods, Wiseco pistons, Lunati .730” lift solid roller cam which work the billet aluminum sever duty liters, which in turn control the Jesel shaft mounted rockers on the Dart 360 aluminum heads. A Holley Hardcore Gen 3 1050 Dominator feeds the engine, which has a healthy appetite for 110 octane leaded fuel. A modified 350 Turbo tranny is fitted with a manual valve body and line lock.

The body is steel with a tilt and removable glass nose. Paint is Viper Silver and metallic black, with purple and Hemi green accent stripes. The car rides on American Racing TrackStar rims, 15x3.5 inches in the front wrapped in M/T front runners, and 15x14 inches on the rear with a beefy pair of 31x16.50x15 Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro tires.

Needless to say every trip in this car is an event in itself. Like they say, “Real Men drive short wheelbase cars”. After 23 years, 4 engines and several paint schemes, it has become a member of the family. I would also like to thank my wife of 43 years, Susan, because without her none of this would have been possible. CN