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Ford Thames 307E

Buying A Ford Anglia (Thames 307E) Published: 29th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Launched nearly half a century ago, the Anglia van’s DNA can still be found in the today’s Ford model line ups. As a cheap to own fun-loving starter classic that’s as simple as a pushbike to maintain, few cars can match the muchloved 105E ‘Anglebox’. And thanks to Harry Potter there’s a whole new generation of Anglia fans around – and such interest is sure to push up prices of both cars and vans. So buy one now.


The Ford Anglia was shown at 1959 British Motor Show to but the van derivative didn‘t surface until two years later in June. Known as the 307E it replaced the trusty 100E commercial with a more capacious 61 cuft of load space and a punchier engine, now overhead value. Two versions were available: a basic 5cwt and the heavier duty 7cwt; the cheaper former was identified by painted bumpers, mirrors and grille, but the 7cwt had them all chromed. Both vans were quite basic (as they were back then) and came painted in primer – a top coat was extra. It cost a tenner if the buyer was finished in one of the eight standard colours! A passenger seat, heater and a sun visor were all optional extras as well. From late 1962 the 307E could be specified with the 1198cc engine as fitted to the Super saloon and became the 309E in Fordspeak. In March 1965, the well known “Thames” and “Trader” names were dropped and the van became known as an Anglia. When production ended in 1967 to make way for the Escort, 205,001 were built.


All Anglias are a hoot to drive – especially go faster versions – and the van is no different. In standard form the free revving engine gives lively performance while that snick-shift gearchange is good to use if a little long throw. Okay, so the handling and roadholding are somewhat dated but there’s plenty you can do to improve things. Although basic the Anglia is extremely practical and commodious. For those after a novel working-classic that doubles up as a short-haul runabout, this Ford is still worth a good look at.


Unless we are talking of barn finds – Anglias still sell for peanuts if you look hard enough. They start from beer money right up to £5000 for really good examples, usually modified for modern use with better engines and brakes, and it‘s worth going for the best you can as certain van parts (such as rear cargo doors) are very hard to come by.


Then as now, Anglias are highly tunable cars. According to the owners club, a high percentage of cars are modified in some shape or form and Anglias are attracting a growing number of new, younger followers because you can do so much to them. Small wonder as the Ford’s light build ensures that even gentle mods are quickly felt. Without doubt the 1200cc unit is the starting point for acceptable performance and can be hotted up easily. However the best upgrade is a larger engine. Enthusiasts have been known to squeeze in anything from a Lotus Cortina Twin Cam unit right up to wild and wicked V8s but the most practical mod is a larger 1500 Cortina/Capri engine, which fits drops straight in. Even the latest Mondeo-sourced Zetec engines fit with fair ease thanks to Ford keeping the bellhousing bolt spacings unchanged for the past 50 odd years! Five-speed gearboxes (Sierra) can be made to fit (the famous 2000E ‘box is still worthy too), while suspension mods can range from simple damper and spring upgrades right up to a dedicated A-frame to accept rear coil springs (similar to the original Lotus Cortina). With an Anglia it’s really a case of how extreme you wish to go. If you want to know more on Anglia tuning visit

What To Look For...

  • Firstly join the Ford Anglia 105E Owners Club. This well-supported outfit produces the excellent ‘Anglebox’ magazine that’s packed full of information, plus stocks everything you could ever need to service or repair an Anglia – right down to official Ford handbooks and workshop manuals. Unless where stated all our prices come from the club.
  • Rust is the biggest worry and old Anglias decay everywhere. Pay special note to the chassis, floorpan, front bulkhead, jacking points, inner and outer sills and suspension mounting points; at the rear where the leaf springs attach to the car and at the front where those sturdy MacPherson struts can easy punch their way to freedom as their mounts rot away.
  • Less critical areas are the wings, doors, arches, front and rear aprons and the doors. The good news is that replacement panels are available via the club. For example: sills around £60 each, ‘A’ pillar £40, rear cross-member £60, rear spring hangers £36-40, flitch panels £65 each, floor pan £125each, front wing repair sections £30 tops. However the rear doors are both rare and very expensive (we spied a new set of rear doors at a show for £400 for example!).
  • Incidentally the front doors and front windscreen all differ from the saloon and estate models and as a result are much harder to find as a result.
  • Mechanically, Anglias couldn’t be simpler. The Kent engine (that in much modified form gave service in the recently replaced Ka) is robust but watch for rumbling crankshafts, worn bores, excessive tappet noise, smoking and fuming via the oil filler as well as general wear. These old units are very cheap to repair; you can decoke one and fit new valve springs for under £20 (valves are £4 each) or fit new pistons for £90 (rings £18), with bearing shells at £15 a set.
  • Transmissions can become noisy and the rear axles are prone to leaks. Clutches sell for £50 or less, slave cylinder £40, gearbox mounting £25 or so.
  • Likewise the suspensions are simple to fix. Rear lever arm dampers cost Around £40 while a pair of front strut inserts sell for £95 a pair (springs £45 a pair).
  • Anglia steering shimmy is well known. The myriad of steering bushes and links cost from a fiver upwards (track road repair kits at £13.50) but a new steering box is not cheap. You can convert the Anglia to a more modern rack and pinion set up from Milton Race Preparation of Kent, but at £680 it’s really aimed at the gofaster bod who wants top handling. But it’s a complete kit that really works.
  • Drum brake adjusters frequently size (watch for a long pedal travel) and converting to front discs has been highly popular among owners for almost 50 years (using Ford Classic parts). Now you can purchase ready-made conversion kits. However a good well serviced drum set up with harder linings can suffice.
  • The cabin is easily refurbished although it is more cost effective to buy a scrapper with a good interior. Ditto chrome parts. Incidentally new screen rubbers are sold via the club for over £40 but again the van version is rarer.
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