SP Rides: A ‘Boy’ And His First Love
By Michael Kitchens
Owner: Robert Solon
Occupation: Retired sheet metal worker
Hobbies: Mostly cars
Year/Make/Model: 1948 Ford Anglia
Color: Dragon Red
Engine: 383 Stroker, Tunnel Ram, Roller Cam, Two Quickfuel 650 carburetors. Custom side-pipes
Exterior: Custom grills, chrome accents, bumpers and pin-striping
Interior: Custom upholstery and hand-made fiberglass dash, B&M shifter, Autometer Speedometer and Quad System gauges, bucket seats, Grant Steering Wheel
Wheels and Tires: 15-inch Cragars with 26×7.50-15LT Mickey Thompsons on the front and 29×15.50-15LTs on the rear.
Robert “Boy” Solon’s 1948 Ford Anglia has been with him for more than 50 years — a considerable amount of time for both man and vehicle to be in a relationship. You could say that drag racing was Robert’s first love, and his introduction to this beauty came courtesy of several friends and automobile enthusiasts in the early 1960s.
Originally used as a plantation car, the Ford Anglia was discovered in engineless in 1963 as it was heading for the scrap yard. Robert had seen it before and although the car was without power, it was in decent shape. He snatched the vehicle up in a heartbeat and thus began this love affair.
He set to work building the car specifically for drag racing, participating in events in the mid-’70s. Ron’s Racing was his primary sponsor at the time and Robert would run the car hard until another popular motorsport at the time, stock car racing, caught his eye. And so he put the Ford Anglia in storage and began a career in stock car racing that spanned more than 25 years.
Despite the decision to keep his love in storage, Robert also made a promise to his mother to eventually complete the Ford Anglia for the street. In 2006, he retired as a sheet metal worker and was finally able to reunite with his first love, devoting the next three years to making the Ford Anglia street-ready.
He started by stripping the entire car down to its components. The worked-over, race-only frame was removed and a new Fatman Fabrication frame was ordered. In addition, Robert sourced a plethora of parts from the Mainland in order to rebuild the entire car from the ground up. Everything from the motor to the mirrors was replaced.
Even with all of the parts on hand, Robert still spent time fabricating everything from the hood scoop to the interior dash out of molded fiberglass. The interior was re-upholstered and new bucket seats were installed with Simpson racing harnesses. Various gauges dot the interior and the ride features a Grant steering wheel and B&M shifter. The entire car was slathered in a stunning Dragon Red color while Robert also built the custom exterior grills that add an extra bit of detail to the exterior. A custom plexiglass sunroof was added for some extra cool.
At the center of the car these days is a 383 stroker engine built with a tunnel ram and roller cam. Two Quickfuel 650 carburetors have been installed and custom side-pipes are matched to a stock header manifold for some added menace. The car is fitted with 15-inch Cragars with 26×7.50-15LT Mickey Thompsons on the front and 29×15.50-15LTs on the rear. The entire set-up is Pro Street and if you don’t believe me, just check out the wheelie bars on the rear. This ride means business.
In fact, it amazes me just how beautiful this car is. Its paint is absolutely sumptuous and the car is covered in gorgeous chrome accents. With such a history behind Robert and the car, the idea of him ever parting with this ride again is incomprehensible.
“People ask me if I want to sell it … I’m not selling it,” he said. “This is my dream and I built it my way.”