Hello John – got an old Ford motor?

image John Nevill thinks he’s got the best job in motoring PR – which is a bit surprising given that he works in a freezing cold mega-shed in the middle of the sprawling Ford Dagenham site on the rather bleak Thames Estuary.

Rather than champagne parties and exotic car launches, John’s job involves looking after a fleet of “old bangers – well, several million pounds worth of heritage vehicles that cover over a century of Ford’s presence in the UK.

John and his team, Ivan and Colin (the mechanical super heroes, affectionately nicknamed Batman and Robin), aren’t simply caretakers of museum pieces though as they run a heritage workshop, ensuring the cars are available for media and others to drive and use to communicate’s Ford’s impressive history.

The collection features high performance Essex-boy favourites and a couple of early Model T cars (the model was built in Ford’s Trafford Park plant in the UK 100 years ago). 

Members of MIPAA had a private tour during a writing workshop kindly hosted by Ford’s PR team today – and for me, the most interesting models are the everyday cars that epitomise the latter decades of the 20th century.

Most of these have been donated as their owners prefer to know they will be lovingly used rather than thrashed by boy racers who are less appreciative of Ford’s heritage motors.  Indeed, there are some lovely human interest stories behind many of the cherished cars.

It is also good to see the guys are looking to the future and adding in a few modern Fords they anticipate will be classics in a decade or two.  Personally, I not so sure about the bright pink Lady Penelope Ford StreetKa produced in 2004 to coincide with Ford’s involvement in the Thunderbird movie.  But, it undoubtedly says something about the early 21st century!

Image of John, Ivan and Colin from Dep-O magazine website – which has a great report on Ford’s “king among sheds”

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

2 thoughts on “Hello John – got an old Ford motor?”

  1. hello:

    i have an old motor that i think is a ford. looks like a model a, with some exceptions. it has a distributor on the right front and a carter carborator on the top manifold. i intend to restore it to running conditions. with out measuring everything it would be good to know exactally what i have.
    serial number starts with and ends wih a Star and a number of GP 9869.
    the starter looks like an old ford and has a ford distributor, at least that is written on it.
    sure hope it is something that you can help me with.
    thanks bob stevens

  2. Robert – sounds a fascinating project, but not something that I would be able to help with. I don’t work at Ford, I just wrote about its UK heritage operation. You should perhaps get in touch with Ford direct – or locate an owners’ club as I’m sure they would be able to give you some good pointers on how to verify your vehicle.

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