The Ford Anglia Is Quirky, Cool & Classic! If Only It Could Fly…
Images: Deepanjan Sarkar
A couple of years back, Amritendu Roy saw a Ford Anglia 105E at a local car show and was immediately smitten by the quirky yet cute shape. He really wanted to acquire the car, but it was not on the market back then. Amritendu persisted and sent out feelers to the owner from time to time, hoping that a sale would be considered. As time went by, Roy pretty much forgot about the Anglia until one day, he mentioned to a friend that he really wanted a classic car. The rest happened in a matter of days.
The friend made a few quick calls and it turned out that the Anglia was finally up for sale! After very brief negotiations the car was now Roy’s, much to his elation; after all, this car had charmed Roy in an instant when he first saw it.
As much as he liked the Anglia, Amritendu knew that this would not be his, but his young son’s car. His son, Armaan, all of ten at the time, was overjoyed with the new member of the family and checked out the various design features of the car.
He soon realised that this was a ‘Harry Potter’ car and though not a fan of the popular series, Armaan started to watch the Harry Potter editions and was thrilled when he saw an Anglia prominently featured in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. The flying Anglia was used by Ron Weasley to rescue Harry and was enchanted by Ron’s father to fit eight adults, six trunks, two owls and a rat comfortably. It also had an invisibility booster to cloak the car! Apparently, the Anglia 105E was a favourite of creator JK Rowling.
Armaan’s imagination was suitably fuelled by this fantastical car and now his father’s Anglia was well and truly his car, much to his father’s delight. Amritendu had quietly hoped that his son would take a liking to the Anglia, and he did, in spades.
The Ford Anglia was a small, compact car manufactured by Ford UK. Although the Anglia name goes back pre-WWII to 1939, the genesis of the model we feature in this article was the much later Anglia which was introduced in the 1950s. For the first time, the Anglia, more specifically the 100E, was now a modern three-box design with self-supporting unitary construction. A weakness, however, was an old school side valve engine which was sluggish with a moderate top speed and a three-speed gearbox.
For austere post-war Britain and the prevailing economic climate (the UK was bankrupt after WWII and relied heavily on US aid), the Anglia 100E was a cheap family car at the right time which ensured successful sales. Production of the 100E lasted till 1959 when it was replaced by the 105E.
The 105E was the fourth model by Ford UK to use the Anglia name. Introduced in 1959, the 105E looked like an altogether different car, heavily influenced in styling by contemporary American cars. The design was characterized by a full width grille, a sweeping roof line that culminated in a backward slanting rear windscreen and fairly prominent fins!
This new Anglia actually looked like a mini early Ford Thunderbird, or even a Studebaker or Lincoln of the late 1950s, with their backward slanted rear windscreens. The 105E engine was an all-new 997cc overhead valve engine with a four-speed gearbox and independent front suspension. Acceleration was improved over the 100E as was its top speed. Although a two-door car, there was adequate space at the rear for two adults.)
Today, the Roys’ charming Anglia is a regular attendee at local classic car drives and shows and whenever Amritendu is asked about the car, he immediately lets Armaan do the talking. “The backward slanting windscreen was developed to keep rainwater off the glass,” explains Armaan.
Indeed, Ford did advertise this feature as such. “However, I don’t think it worked very well,” says Armaan with a grin. He happily opens the bonnet, which is hinged at the front, which is unusual for him. He then goes around the car and demonstrates the larger opening rear vent windows which are useful to ventilate the cabin. While Armaan is the spokesperson for the family Anglia, Amritendu is more than happy to drive the car.
The Anglia has a well thought out interior. Separate binnacles for the driver and passenger. The driver has everything within his or her reach, with the instrumentation right in front. Essential switchgear falls easily to hand—even the hood release lever is placed high up at the centre of the dashboard, a convenient feature. The floor shift adds a bit of sportiness, and the rear has enough space to seat two adults in comfort. It’s a well packaged small car.
Roy has had to do some work on the car since he purchased it, primarily mechanical items including a rebuild of the tired suspension, fixing a leaky rear axle and installing a new radiator core. Armaan’s Anglia is now a reliable classic for his father to drive in (Armaan is still too young to obtain a driving license) and they are spotted regularly in their car.
Whichever way you look at it, the Anglia 105E is cute and quirky. Roy thinks its full width grill and headlamps with eyebrows makes it look like the face of a cartoon character. But it’s the backward slanting windscreen that attracts the most attention amongst enthusiasts—it actually is very cool!
Add to that the little fins at the rear and the dual tone colour shade, the Anglia has a personality. With the Roys in the car, the Anglia is quite the sight. Amritendu is a large man by all standards and the contrast between the size of the car and its driver is delightful. With son Armaan seated next to him grinning from ear to ear and the Anglia’s inherent quirkiness, the visual is complete.
If only it could fly!
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