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After a hobby turned to a full-time profession, Mike of Yesterford is now recognised as a foremost authority on all things small Ford Down Under.

How did you get into cars?

Back in the day, my Father ran a service station, and as a young impressionable lad there were always cars around us. In one shape or another there was a Ford or three around the workshop in different states of disrepair. My Father owner a huge bench saw, which was powered by an old Ford Prefect motor, which was very impressive when he fired it up. Cars were everywhere when I was young, because you needed one in Australia to cover the miles between towns. My old bus driver had an old Ford ute, and as a youngster, we would jump off when we got to a hill to help it get up as it had not much power. These adventures happened on a daily basis.

What was your frst Ford?

A Mk1 Cortina four-door with a column shift. My family all drove Fords, my Uncle had Zephyrs, Dad had Fords, so I had to get one. Funny story was when my Father crashed into the rear of my Cortina at an intersection and we weren’t even travelling together! The insurance wouldn’t pay out on my car, so he had to buy me another one — this one had a floor four-speed and it was a rocket ship.  

How did Yesterford come about?

Back in the mid ’80s, I was offered the business by the original owner. At the time I was mad-keen on early Anglia parts, and was a regular customer. I used to sell the owner parts, and one day he said I would make a good owner, and next thing you know I was running the place. I have never looked back, because this place is a great place to work and the customers are fantastic.

Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I love selling spare parts to people keeping their cars on the road. There is a lot of satisfaction in talking to customers on the phone, helping them with advice and guidance and getting the Ford problems solved. These days I have mostly given up working on the cars in the workshop, and now have Tim from Angry Anglia here doing that stuff. He’s probably the next heir-apparent to the business.  

Which Fords are demanding the most parts?

Escorts are still hugely popular, and I have noticed that we are getting a lot of younger customers with them. There is a lot of demand for parts for Anglias and Prefects, which still have huge following with the Baby Boomers whose parents had them when they were young. Many are nearing retirement and want to do their car repairs right. They are willing to spend the right amount of money, because in most cases their cars are sentimental to them and are now part of their families.

You’ve got $25,000AUD (about £13,000) to buy and build a classic Ford. What would you do?

That’s easy, a Mk1 Cortina two-door GT; only that might not be enough money.  They are bringing very healthy money around here right now, and to have one in the garage would be very nice indeed.

What if money was no object?

That’s a difficult one. There is a lot to choose from right now, old and new. I guess the dream car has and always will be a genuine Mk1 Lotus Cortina. I have never owned one, and because they were special order in Australia, to find a real one down here is very hard.  If money was no object, I would buy two!

What’s your most-embarrassing car-related moment?

Many years ago, I did a repair on a customer’s Zephyr.  He went up the road, and I must of forgotten to tighten the wheel nuts and a wheel flew off! Luckily, there was no damage to the car or the owner, and after an embarrassing tow truck ride back we fixed it up right away. Touch wood, I have never made that mistake again. 

What are the future classic Fords?

I think if you look at the current cars, things like Focus RS or the special editions, these are the ones to get. You should always favour a sports version. They hold their money better and are more desirable for resale later on down the track.

Photo Chris Avery

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