Shop-on-the-Side Provides ‘Harry Potter’ Car Parts

Aug 8, 2016

Terry Olson believes in diversification in today’s economy. He and his wife prove it by operating a construction company, as well as a second business that sells parts for “Harry Potter-style” cars. The shop, Anglia Brokers, also restores the cars called Anglias that were once made by Ford of Dagenham in England.

Actually, the flying car in the Harry Potter books and films is a newer model than most Anglias that Olson deals with. His business is also focused on street rodding and drag racing more than on stock restorations. He said demand for restoration parts is mainly limited to racers who want to show before-and-after cars or to those who want a stock Anglia to pull their racing car to the pits.

Beginning around the early 1960s, Anglias gained favor with drag racers for their small size and light weight. The Gasser Wars of the mid-1960s were dominated by hot rodders from Ohio and many of them drove Anglias and had their cars pictured in hot rodding and drag racing magazines. So, the Ohio gassers created great nationwide interest in the British Ford model.

In the late-1990s, Olson thought that interest in his parts would last “maybe four years.” Instead, the business has grown as the number of people involved in vintage drag racing continues to grow. There may be no end in sight.

Olson relies mostly on word of mouth recommendations and the Internet to draw customers. He also writes for Gasser Wars magazine (formerly called Anglia News).

“We’ve got an ad in there,” Olson said. “But really, most our business comes from word-of-mouth advertising.”

At one point in time, Olson had seven English Ford products in his own collection, including an early Anglia Model Y, a 1961 Anglia Escort station wagon, an Anglia touring car and a one-off Anglia woodie wagon that was a prototype for a stillborn production model. Olson is currently restoring this car, which he purchased from Ford Motor Co. in 2005. His shop truck is an Anglia panel truck, called a Thames, named after the famous river in Great Britain.