Formerly owned by Sir Patrick Moore 1953 Ford Prefect Saloon Registration no. 772 XUR (see text) Chassis no. C699122
Introduced for 1939 and offered in a variety of body styles, the Prefect continued post-war as a four-door saloon only. Powered by a 1,172cc sidevalve four coupled to a three-speed gearbox, the Anglia's big brother was roomier and better suited to family motoring. Its performance was comparable with the best in its class, 60mph being bettered flat-out with a fuel consumption of around 35 miles per gallon achievable on longer runs. Re-styled for 1949 with wing-integrated headlamps and a revised bonnet and radiator grille, the Prefect continued in production until 1953, by which time the staggering total of over 350,000 had been built.
This particular Prefect was owned from September 1956 by Patrick Moore, the much loved if somewhat eccentric presenter of BBC Television's long-running astronomy programme, 'The Sky at Night'. First broadcast on 24th April 1957, The Sky at Night was presented by Patrick (later Sir Patrick) until 7th January 2013 (Moore had died on 9th December 2012) making it the longest-running programme with the same presenter in television history.
First registered as 'GPN 924' in January 1953, the car comes with its original logbook showing Patrick Moore as the third owner. Sir Patrick drove the Prefect - known as 'The Ark' - regularly until the 1990s, covering some 750,000 miles or three times the Earth-Moon distance, since when it has been in garage storage. He was a very trusting person and circa 2008 sent the car away to be MoT'd and serviced; it was not seen again for some two years. Eventually a friend was sent to recover the car, which returned in much better condition than when it left but with a different number plate, obtained by the temporary custodian in 2009. Supporting evidence may be found in the history file and also in 'Return to the Far Side of Planet Moore' by Martin Mobberley (copy available). At present the car is not registered but we are advised that the DVLA has confirmed that the original registration number 'GPN 924' is still available. The history file also contains many documents and photographs supporting its provenance. The current (lady) vendor, one of Sir Patrick's good friends, inherited the car following his death in 2012.