Myth Buster

Ford Anglia

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Richard Gunn

1 THE REAR WIN­DOW WAS IN­SPIRED BY THE 1958 LIN­COLN CON­TI­NEN­TAL

While the le­viathan and lux­u­ri­ous Lin­coln in the USA had a re­verse rake rear win­dow a year be­fore 1959’s Anglia, and its de­signer El­wood En­gel also helped with out with the Bri­tish car, the 105E’s dis­tinc­tive ap­pear­ance was more down to a Fiat 600. Ford’s UK boss Sir Pa­trick Hen­nessey saw a Pin­in­fa­rina-bod­ied 600 at the 1955 Geneva Mo­tor Show with this in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic fea­ture. De­signer Colin Mac­Gre­gor then penned a Ford fac­sim­ile at the com­pany’s new Birm­ing­ham re­search cen­tre. It was ready the same year, but its ex­per­i­men­tal two-stroke en­gine proved pretty use­less. How­ever, other fea­tures – such as the in­wards-slop­ing back screen – were picked up when Da­gen­ham started de­sign­ing the 105E.

2 THE BACK WIN­DOW WAS JUST A MONEYSAVING FEA­TURE

It’s true enough that, at a time when curved glass was costly to pro­duce, the Anglia’s flat back win­dow saved Ford a bit of dosh. But it also had other ben­e­fits too, which Sir Pa­trick had pressed for. The re­verse rake gave a high roofline, mean­ing more head­room for back­seat pas­sen­gers. It also al­lowed a very gen­er­ous boot for such a com­pact car. And, in the days be­fore rear wipers and heated glass el­e­ments were stan­dard, it was also re­mark­ably good at stay­ing free of both rain and ice. Plus, if you got a strong fol­low­ing wind, it proved quite handy as a sort of sail, im­prov­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion, top speed and econ­omy. Yes, re­ally!

3 THERE WAS NO SPORT­ING VER­SION

The Anglia’s Es­cort suc­ces­sor in­tro­duced prop­erly sporty small Fords. The Anglia just got a slightly warmed-over 123E Su­per vari­ant, with 49bhp in­stead of 39bhp. How­ever, a ‘ Targa’-roof sports ver­sion reached the scale model stage – Lo­tus guru Colin Chap­man re­put­edly wanted to use it as the ba­sis for his per­for­mance col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ford. But the Cortina was the new kid on the block, so had to be used in­stead. Thus we got the Lo­tus Cortina, not the Lo­tus Anglia…

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