Barra-powered 1948 Ford Anglia panel van in Milwaukee Young SMOTY

Rarely seen body, oodles of fab, and modern grunt from Grant Azzopardi


You’re looking at a pretty uncommon bodystyle in Grant Azzopardi’s ’48 Anglia, especially for an 18-year-old to be hooking around in with a Barra bolted in! Check out some of the huge build, and if it’s your pick of our 16 YSMOTY finalists, cast your vote by following the link below.

“My father and I (Grant and Keith Azzopardi) built this car from the ground up. I work full time as an apprentice electrician and in my free time I build cars with my dad. He has taught me everything I know and it’s all thanks to him for what I have.

The car is a 1948 Anglia panel van; a two-door, all-steel body. The history of the car that I’m aware of is that it came from Melbourne and was brought up to Sydney as an original shell. We purchased the car in November 2019, but the build didn’t start ‘til after summer 2020.

This project was for me as I wanted a hot rod that I could drive on P-plates. While dad’s cars were fun to drive on my L-plates, I needed something for me so we could cruise together. We did the Barra so I could drive it, they make plenty of power, and we didn’t want a boring hot rod with the same engine as everyone else. We wanted to be the first and an inspiration for the next.

Every car we build is all done at home from start to finish; the only time cars leave is for paint, trim or to get rego. It all happens in the garage. Dad’s built plenty of cars and I was lucky to be on the journey with him. He has taught me how to weld, to panel beat, to paint, to fabricate, use the mill, build engines etc, and to always find a way.

The car was chopped right away, with all the original floor and running gear taken out, except the outside rails on which the body is mounted. We installed a new 3x2in boxed tube chassis with big kick-up and a triangulated nine-inch diff. The car got a full rollcage to strengthen it and offer protection while driving.

We fitted an RX-7 front end with coil-over struts; our custom strut brackets mounted off the roll cage. It’s got custom brake brackets, and a shortened LJ Torana steering rack. We then made sheetmetal floor pans, firewall, and gearbox tunnel and tubs. We mounted the Barra in the car, backed up with a TH400 via a CRS adapter plate, which we used for the option of putting in a 350 Chev in the future.

We got the car pushed along quite fast though COVID lockdowns and spent long hours and late nights working on the car. Everything on a car is custom, and when I say custom, I mean it!

From door locks to a custom shortened plenum, from fitting electric windows when it originally had sliding windows to fitting adjustable strikers in the pillars and rear crawl door latches, to extending the door cells and back guards. A VL wagon roof was welded in, and there’s a shaped-in pushbutton motorbike fuel cap in the side of the body.

It has custom back sheet metal rear lower sections with Mazda 1300 ute taillights turned sideways and shaped into the body. We made and pressed new aluminium door skins, fabbed up a petrol tank behind the sets and added a tailshaft loop and new crossmember.

The dash was extended and a custom centre console built, and it runs shortened Gemini seats with the headrests cut off. A new loom was built by Jimmy Sideshow Wiring

There’s a big set of 10-inch Prostar rims under the back, with Mickey Thompson tyres to give it the tough look. The whole body remains looking standard and clean. The list goes on and on; there’s so much work and detail in the car that most won’t ever see.

This car wouldn’t have been done without the help of my dad, my family, and all that were involved. The car is finished for now, until after my P-plates, where bigger plans await!”

Now, check out the rest of the contenders below and cast your vote for the chance to win $2500!