It started with speed. The rev of an engine, the thrill of watching the world as a blur. Speed was what first captured the attention of Bud Davis decades ago. Davis is originally from …
It started with speed. The rev of an engine, the thrill of watching the world as a blur. Speed was what first captured the attention of Bud Davis decades ago.
Davis is originally from Springfield, Ohio. His home in Cleveland for the last 37 years sits at the end of a cul de sac with a gravel driveway and a yard with space to run. He sat in a patio chair on his shaded front porch before hopping up and walking to the barn. His prized car roared to life as he revved the engine a few times and slowly drove it to its perch on his front lawn.
Davis owns a 1946 Thames, a rare van-style sister to the Ford Anglia commissioned in England and mainly used for deliveries in its heyday. He found it roughly 15 miles from his Cleveland home and couldn’t resist the urge to buy it.
The car and the story of its total transformation were recently featured in Gasser Magazine, a publication for car enthusiasts like Davis.
A family man, Davis has always put his hobby second. His wife, Linda Davis, “is the real mastermind behind all of this,” he said.
He explained his love for custom cars and hot rods was contained while their children were growing up. Once they became empty nesters, he brought the idea of picking up where he left off and she agreed.
“If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be able to go off and do shows like this,” he said.
Davis has owned several classic cars. He has two others at home in addition to the Thames. It took him four years from the time he found the rusted, hollow frame to get it to the vibrant, souped up car it is today.
Painted a Dupont Synergy Green and Camaro Silver with a Camaro Fire Red trim, the car has customizations left and right. With almost all new metal inside and out, it runs on a 1987 Chevrolet 468 engine, a 1985 Chevrolet Turbo 400 transmission and sits low to the ground on custom wheels.
He told Gasser Magazine that he wanted something different for this Thames, and an old friend was his motivation.
He said he has always been inspired by his friend Eddie “Locomotion” Flora. As the owner of the fast and eclectic-looking “Locomotion” Anglia, Flora is a legend in the collectors and racing community and holds the record in CC/GS Class racing.
“He was all about speed. He was a family man and a good mechanic, too,” he said. “Whatever Eddie told you, you could take it to the bank. And he’d tell it to you like it is.”
Complete with its customizations, including some 1995 Trans Am bucket seats for comfort, the Thames is Davis’ personal Hot Wheel, a trinket he also collects.
In his workshop full of tin signs and elbow grease, Davis hangs a collection of Hot Wheels that he takes with him to car shows to hand to children.
“Something like that could spark their interest,” he said, pointing to miniatures of the car he had parked on his lawn.
Davis said he’ll be handing out cars to more local youngsters, now. He recently attended a national show in Louisville with his Thames, and said it will be the last show he does for a while.
With a knee surgery on the horizon, Davis plans on dedicating himself to more shows here in Bradley County.
“People will be able to come see me at the local cruise-ins, and I think I’ll stick with that for a while,” he said. “This will always be a hobby for me, though, until I can’t do it anymore.”
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