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Motoring: Ford Anglia - 1959

The Ford Anglia is one of the most unconventional looking cars to come out of Britain in the 1960s, its most radical feature being its inward sloping rear window which was created thus to give more headroom for rear seat pasengers. And if that wasn't enough to shock, the car had disproportionate flared wings front and rear and "frog-eyed" headlamps which look nowhere near as odd these days as they did when the car was released in 1959. Buyers, however, were not phased by its unusual styling and the Anglia became one of Ford's most loved British cars ever.

Serious thinking at Ford UK's Dagenham factory about the replacement for the 100E range first took place in 1956, at which time a good hard look was taken at rival products in the small-car sector. Executive engineer Fred Hart was the man with overall responsibility for the new Ford Anglia 105E. He was told to pay close attention to the rear seat accommodation, because Ford considered that all too often the rear seat passengers in small cars were rather less well catered for than those in the front. To this end, a wider door opening than on the two-door 100E was provided, giving easier access to the rear and the reverse-slope rear window was introduced, this particular feature allowing a longer roof and much improved headroom in the back.

Paradoxically, the arrangement actually allowed a slightly lower roof line than previously, so helping the car's aerodynamics. In fact, the drag factor was carefully looked at during the design stage. The new Anglia's sloping bonnet style was the result of wind-tunnel testing, although, as engineer Hart was well aware, the family car is inevitably something of a compromise and aerodynamic considerations were not allowed to overrule the more important matters of passenger accommodation and convenience.

The Ford Anglia 105E, introduced in 1959, marked a complete break with Dagenham tradition in the light car field and quickly established itself as a best seller on the world markets. In many ways the Anglia's design was ahead of its time. The distinctive rear-sloping back window and frog-like eyes made it very different from any other small vehicle on the roads at the time. Ford also went in for colours that no one had even dared consider. Ford Anglias were built in primrose yellow, light green and even with two tones.

Under the Anglia's bonnet was what many small Ford enthusiasts had been hoping for more than anything else, a completely new overhead-valve engine. In 1956, after a two year experimental programme, design work had begun on a production 1-litre engine intended to be the smallest capacity unit of a whole range of engines designed around certain common measurements, these being the bore diameter and the bore centres. This lightweight, high-revving 4-cylinder 997cc ohv engine, which developped 39 bhp at 5000 rpm and had a 4-speed gearbox, was particularly well-designed for a small low-cost low-power unit. It was coded 105E and for many that code has become the name of the car.

Ford Consul Classic

In the mid sixties, Ford took the worst of the Anglia's design and incorporated into a four door version of their ugly duckling - the Consul Classic. In so doing, they created a car so ugly no one dared question the Anglia's styling! Alongside this ugly duckling, the Anglia looked like a swan. The Ford Consul Classic was never sold in Australia, and as a consequence we were spared the indignity of having this car on our roads.

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