The Ford Anglia 105E, a cheap end of the market family saloon built from the second world war to the 1960s
As a boy, amongst my collection of toy cars was a Ford Anglia 105E. A blue Ford Anglia, rather like the one in the picture found on the daily telegraph website. The Anglia was a name in use from the early days of World War two up until the final one rolled off the production line in 1968 when it was replaced by the Escort. Prior to the 105E, the Anglia was a very ordinary looking small family car. The first model evolved into the old-fashioned looking Popular whilst the Anglia continued in a very different design, the 100E. It could be said that the latter looked like most of the other small family cars of the 1950s.
But with the introduction of the 105E in 1959, that changed.
The Ford Anglia 105E design was influenced by American styling, wide grille, tail fins, headlamps with ‘eyebrows’ and the legendary backward slanting rear window, technically called I believe, reverse rake. The marketing claimed it would keep the rain off the rear screen. It was indeed very effective and worked with snow too, unless the snow was driven by a strong wind directly at the rear of the car. The main benefit was possibly the extra headroom in the back. All in all, it looked very different to British Fords that had gone before. The design was tried with the Ford Consul at one point but eventually dropped. These days, it is making a comeback and can be seen now on several cars.
Various coachbuilders got their hands on the Anglia 105E and there were quite a number of variations, estate, van, pick-up, ice cream van and the Belgian produced Andlia 105E sportsman. The latter was basically only different to the standard Ford Anglia 105E in that the spare wheel was externally mounted and the trim was different. Ford Italy really hacked the design round because it wasn’t boring enough for the Italian market. But even after making it look as boring as possible, the Torino as it was called, bombed!
Several police forces used the Anglia 105E as a Panda car, Alan D Johnson (in his book – “British Police Cars of the 1950’s an 60’s) explains the pale blue and white livery … Ford would only do them in that colour scheme as they heavily discounted the vehicles.
The 105E has appeared as a background car in loads of films and TV programmes but hasn’t been the star in many. Recently, it was the means of transport that took Harry Potter and Ron Weasley back to Hogwarts when they missed the train. The Anglia 105E as a panda car was used in the TV series Z-cars and also Heartbeat.
The previous Ford Anglia models had a side valve engine, however, a brand new overhead valve engine with a 1000cc capacity was developed and fitted. It still wasn’t a beast when it came to accelerating but the new engine gave it a tad more performance than before even though it looked like it had a saucepan on the top! Ford increased the stroke length in the engine, increasing it to give a 1200cc power unit which was fitted into the 123E Anglia. The engine was decent enough to attract various small specialist manufacturers to use it as the engine for some of their models. Most of the cars and manufacturers are obscure, however, to me, the two most notable ones were Trevor Wilkinson’s TVR Grantura and the Lotus 7. It was infact the Caterham dealership that pioneered the use of the Anglia 105E’s engine in the 7 and the Lotus 7 eventually became the Caterham 7, as used on telly by Patrich McGoohan as the Prisoner. The engine was converted by Watermota to become the Sea Wolf.
The number of gears was increased from 3 to 4 with synchromesh on all but 1st gear. Happily, Ford moved away from the old vacuum powered wipers which tended to slow down when going uphill and stop completely when the car was overtaking – not sure what they did when overtaking whilst going uphill though – with electric ones.