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Ford Anglia

Ford Anglia Published: 15th Dec 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ford Anglia
Ford Anglia
Ford Anglia
Ford Anglia
Ford Anglia
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Ford’s no-frills Anglia may have lacked the chic appeal of a Mini, but it always did what it said on the tin. And, for many, that’s all they asked for…

Ford, famous for its big Red Book – written commandments where every component was checked to see where it could be used elsewhere along with each nut, bolt and washer carefully costed – easily got its money’s worth out of the 105E Anglia. Running virtually unchanged for eight years, in a competitive market where new or updated replacements were expected every three years, Ford took the age old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” to extremes.

Launched in October 1959, and discontinued in November 1967, this entry model Ford saw two changes of Cortina, and three generations of the Zephyr/Zodiac – so no wonder it looked utterly withered on the vine at the fag end of the year of Flower Power before making way for the swanky new Escort, which was itself little more than a modernised Anglia lasting, in concept, at least, until 1980 (’87 counting Capri-ed).

Like the Mini, Ford’s Anglia is one of those cars that you either owned, once drove, or at least travelled in during your formative motoring life. A modern day Model T, it promised little more than no-frills basic transportation but, unlike BMC’s front-engined wonder, with ease of maintenance and yeoman-like dependability. Is it surprising that, unlike that 60’s fashion icon, the Anglia actually made money for its manufacturer?

The 105E was conceived just after the cleanly-styled 100E reached the showrooms; now Ford wanted something a lot bolder, flashier and – according to an excellent new book Ford Design In The UK – looked to the rear-engined Fiat 600 Coupé – complete with its sloping roof and reverse raked rear window styling – for inspiration. By 1955, the first styling exercises were up and running in tandem with an up-scaled off-shoot which was to become the 109E Classic, although the advent of the Suez crisis a year later saw the economy 105E take centre stage.

The British Motor Show of 1959 must go down as an all time classic because three major manufacturers launched important fuel frugal, family ferriers there; the Mini, of course, Anglia plus also Triumph’s more upmarket Herald and it’s no coincidence that all three enjoyed long production runs. It’s a common belief that the Anglia competed with the Mini, but again, referring to the aforementioned book, Ford actually saw the Austin A40, introduced a year earlier, as the chief rival.

Pre-war hydro-mechanical brakes, totally out of place for its era notwithstanding, Ford saw real potential in the Italian-styled A40, not least its hatchback facility that Ford took two decades to emulate, first with Capri and then Fiesta; who knows how successful the A40 would have been if it was made and marketed by Ford!

Under the skin, the 105E was virtual 100E apart from the high revving new short stroke ohv ‘Kent’ engine that provided the mainstay of many future Fords coupled to a new four-speed transmission. This pushed the price up to £610, so to cater for both ends of the market, Ford introduced a singleton, poverty spec, 100E Popular that was some £100 cheaper. And, as the 105E wasn’t designed to be a four-door, Ford re-engineered its Prefect to accept the new 997cc engine and transmission, creating the 107E, launched a week after the Anglia. Demand for Anglias was such that the 109E Classic schedule was pushed back to 1961 but the design was already dead in water as, by then, Ford had decided to create the cost conscious Cortina which ultimately saw Anglia production moved up North to Halewood in 1963.

Apart from the saloons, a stylish estate surfaced along with light commercial vans and a pick-up in 1961 yet aside from added colours and a better specified Super trim, Ford did the minimum to maintain sales. Not so, Europe which saw some specials early in the car’s life, such as the Sportsman from Belgium and Italy’s Torino. The former was little more than a novel externally-mounted spare wheel along the lines of US Station Wagons, but Torino was a total redesign of the car, by Triumph stylist Michelotti, which squared off the shape and reversed the reversed window creating something not unlike Vauxhall’s boxy new HA Viva!

However, it was the sensational HB of 1966 that made the Anglia archaic – so much so that Ford speedily sought changes to the impending Escort before the January ’68 introduction. Although production of Ford of Britain’s first millionth seller stopped in the previous November, after 1,288,956 sales, it still continued into the next year – some with August G plate registrations.

Fast ford?

Given Ford’s growing, glowing reputation in motorsport, the success of the Cortina GT and of course, the Lotus legend, it was strange that Anglia was left untouched, save for a 1200cc version – although Ford engineers must have tinkered with several ideas… Instead, it was left to aftermarket specialists to make audacious Anglias either via the fast growing go-faster tuning market or fitting Cortina 1500GT engines, such as Essex-based Superspeed with its ‘Red Rooster’ (so dubbed by a mechanic after the Rolling Stones’ hit song-ed). And Anglias could be made awesomely fast, no more so than on the track where leader of the go-faster pack, the legendary Keith Duckworth’s Cosworth concern, saw runaway victories of Cosworth 105E powered racers setting in motion a dynasty that culminated in the most successful Grand Prix engine of all time, the Ford DFV.

Ford also saw the considerable potential of its Anglia in motorsport. The Blue Oval entered four cars on the 1959 RAC Rally of Great Britain; three didn’t finish but Anne Hall was 20th overall and top lady. Anglias won their class on the Safari in 1960 and ’61, and then, in ’63, Peter Hughes and Bill Young achieved 2nd overall with the 123E model 1200. Another famous name, Henry Taylor, one-time Ford Competitions manager, took a high eighth place on the 1962 RAC Rally as well.

Despite tough competition from Mini (what else?), Anglias were track winners; John Young’s Superspeed car was a regular class grabber in the British Saloon Car Championship, and in 1966 – near the model’s end of the life – John Fitzpatrick became national BTCC champion in his Broadspeed car (Ralph Broad went on to develop the Dolomite Sprint and the ill-starred Jaguar XJC racer of a decade later).

Anglias further campaigned successfully in private hands well after the Escort replaced it. Almost everything in the latter day parts box, with a bit of ingenuity, fitted such as disc brakes, Twin Cam engines from the Lotus Cortina, and the closeratio, Bullet, gearbox that started life in the Corsair V4. As the Anglia faded away on the ‘conventional’ motorsport scene, the Hot Rod racers demonstrated its effectiveness on short circuits and now it’s one of the stars at the Goodwood Revival.

Then as now

The Anglia quickly became a popular used car and cheap and cheerful bangers during the 1970s where many starter drivers cut their teeth in one, both on the move and at the kerb. The former saw it as far superior to the almost identical 100E, and, secondly, a much easier and cheaper mount than a Mini to work on at home with no special tools or know-how required.

‘Angleboxes’, as they became known, were simply uprated using Cortina and Classic parts and could be made into real road burners. For many, it left an indelible impression because not only does this Ford now appeal to younger classic enthusiasts but the 105E is also a favourite with Déja vu Dads doing it all over again – only better this time thanks to new tuning ideas such as rack and pinion steering conversions and five-speed gearboxes; did you know Ford gearbox bolt spacings remained unchanged across the ranges for 50 years, meaning you can technically fit a modern Mondeo power unit easily as all inclusive nut and bolt fitting kits are available off the shelf.

The demise of the Anglia, as well as the Thames-badged van, also signalled the end of Ford using British locations for vehicle names because, like that 50’s Ford, they were seen as old hat and, besides, Fords were now co-developed in Europe to appeal to wider global markets. But, during its hugely successful eight year run, Anglia represented working class motoring in Britain, one that’s looked back upon with great fondness. And deservedly so.

Remember when… 1963

Anglia production moved this year as the decade really started to get into top gear. Here’s the highs and lows of what the Sunday Times labelled a bitter year. And with good reason to…

Most sensational news of the year (decade, century?) was the assassination of John F Kennedy in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald – although conspiracy theories abound what really happened on November 22nd! Will we ever know?

Our Tory Government was rocked by the Profumo affair. Secretary of State of War, John Profumo, was in a three way love split with showgirl Christine ‘he would say that, wouldn’t he’ Keeler who was also involved with a Russian spy at the time.

The Great Train Robbers got away with £2.6m from a Royal Mail loco and led to one of the most famous of stretches on the run by the infamous Ronnie Biggs.

Anglias sounded cheap at £538 although average weekly wages were only £18.50. Ditto, a typical nice semi sold for £3200 but at least were fairly attainable – unlike today’s inflated bricks and mortar?

In sport, Manchester United won the FA Cup with an up and coming star called George Best. The average Division 1 season ticket cost just £8.50 and the players earned under £30!

It was the year that the Beatles sprung to fame, fronting the Mersey beat along with Cilla Black and Gerry and the Pacemakers. Other hits of note that year were Rhythm of the Falling Rain by the Cascades, can’t Get Used To Losing you by crooner Andy Williams and Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys.

On the telly there were only two channels (BBC2 didn’t start broadcasting until a year later!) so the choice was rather limited to say the least; Coronation Street, Sunday Night at the London Palladium, the Dick Van Dyke Show and Burke’s Law – roll on SKY!


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