If you’re a speed demon who likes a spot of luxury, you might as well turn the page now; the Ford Popular and Anglia aren’t for you. However, if you’re after some classic transport with charm, practicality and simplicity, then look no further.
Few cars have the charisma of these sit-up-and-beg Fords, which provided basic, but affordable transport for thousands of British and overseas families immediately before the Second World War, and for an incredible 14 years thereafter. That’s right – until 1959, people could buy a brand new car, albeit one with pre-war styling and mechanical brakes, for less than £420.
Sadly, you can’t pick up a decent example for just a few hundred quid any more, but with good ones readily available from just £3000, there’s still no need to break the bank to secure a good one.
The sit-up-and-beg timeline isn’t easy to understand. It kicked off in 1937 with the 933cc 7Y Eight and the 1172cc 7W Ten, both of which had two doors only. A year later a stretched four-door version of the Ten arrived, called the Prefect E93A. The Anglia E04A debuted in 1939; it was effectively an Eight with a squared-off bonnet and no running boards on the standard model.
The Prefect E93A was reintroduced in 1945 then in 1948 the Anglia E494A (an E04A with a fresh grille) was launched. The four-door Prefect E493A went on sale in 1949 with integral (rather than bolt-on) headlamps and an 1172cc engine.
The final iteration superseded all previous models in 1953 and lasted until 1959. This was the E494A Anglia-based Popular 103E with just one fitted windscreen wiper, virtually no brightwork to speak of and minimal trim.
Running one of these cars is made much easier thanks to the efforts of the Ford Sidevalve Owners’ Club (FSOC). Club chairman, John Porter, says: ‘ We provide a comprehensive mechanical spares scheme for all models and hold a good stock of used parts. A lot of cars are changing hands with no paperwork and as we’re DVLA-approved we can help to get an original registration number back or have an age-related number assigned to a car.
‘ With around 25 local groups, an active Facebook page and a bi-monthly magazine we’re doing everything we can to make ownership as easy as possible.’