Launched in 1953, the 100E was a replacement for the upright-looking E494 Anglia, which was essentially derived from a pre-war design and by the late ’Forties was looking desperately old-fashioned – especially next to Ford’s own Consul.
Compared to its predecessor the 100E was startlingly modern in appearance. The three-box monocoque shell was neatly proportioned and elegant in its simplicity, without frilly detailing, tail fins or similar. Up front the suspension employed the MacPherson strut lay-out pioneered by Ford but under the bonnet was the old sidevalve engine, which helped keep the car’s sale price down to just over £500, but also meant any local garage could work on the car, in the best Ford tradition.
Despite its age, the sidevalve produced 36bhp and was a willing little powerplant. One other cost-saving measure was the use of a three-speed ‘box that wasn’t exactly uncommon in the ’Fifties but which can make A-road progress a busy affair as you swap between second and third to keep up momentum. Luckily the sidevalve motor doesn’t mind being revved to cross the big gap between second and top gear.
This example is one of those cars you wouldn’t describe as a concours queen but which has an honest, well-loved feel to it. There’s been some localised paintwork repairs on the driver’s door but as far as we could see it was a solid example and certainly very much on the button too. There’s also a thick history file with it and the collection AF Anglia bits and bobs in the boot suggests an enthusiastic former owner.
ON THE ROAD
Twist the key, pull the starter knob, engage a gear and the three-speed gate puts reverse where you’d usually expect to find first, rather like a ‘dogleg’ sports ‘box from the ’Seventies. The Anglia feels livelier than you’d expect from its 36bhp and on a sunny day with its big glass area and uncluttered cabin, it has a charming back-to-basics feel that’s most enjoyable. By the standards of ’Fifties classics, the Anglia is an easy car to drive, helped by light and precise controls and even down the bumpy lane, it didn’t issue any clonks or rattles from the underpinnings.
As an entry into classic cars the Anglia makes a lot of sense – it’s affordable, spares and club support is plentiful and they’re economical too. It will also slip inside a standard garage with room to spare, while DIY maintenance is simple. What’s more, this one is both tax-free and now MoT-free too.
Top speed: 70mph
0-62 mph: 29.4 secs
Fuel consumption: 30mpg
Gearbox: 3-sp man