Ford’s challenger to the high-tech new Mini was the mechanically conventional Anglia with its glamorous transatlantic style. They’re now a sought-after classic Ford. Here’s what you need to know before buying one.

Launched in September 1959, the Anglia 105E had its work cut out from the start. Not only did Ford have great expectations for its new compact saloon, but with its arrival coinciding with that of the groundbreaking Mini and stylish Triumph Herald the 105E had to battle hard for the limelight.

It also had to fight its corner over its controversial reverse raked rear window, but it had plenty up its sleeve to win over its haters. While its Anglia tag was old news, the 105E had plenty of headline features, including being the first Ford to have electric windscreen wipers and a four-speed manual gearbox. If customers looked beyond the admittedly odd rear window, they would also see that the Anglia 105E debuted a brand new engine in the shape of the Kent Pre-Crossflow 997cc motor. Of an oversquare design, the new power unit won praise for its smoothness at high revs, which would fast become a major benefit with the launch of Britain’s first motorways. The addition of MacPherson strut front suspension ensured the Anglia rode and handled pretty well, too.

For those customers who desired a little more comfort than the Standard level of trim, there was the Deluxe, which added such goodies as a glovebox lid and sunvisor, while there was even more choice available to 105E buyers with the arrival of the versatile estate in October 1961 and the Super in September 1962. The estate added even more practicality, but it was the Super that took the Anglia to another level, notably through the fitment of a larger 1198cc engine and synchromesh on all four gears. There were also wider brake drums, duo-tone paintwork, pleated PVC upholstery, woven-cord carpet, padded dashboard, screenwashers and a cigarette lighter. A radio and seatbelt attachments followed in 1964, while 1966 saw Ford literally top off the Kent motor with its own design of carburettor.

The competition was hotting up, particularly with better-equipped and more reliable oriental imports starting to appear‚ but the Anglia proved an absolute smash until it was replaced in early 1968 with the all-conquering Escort.

It’s no less sought-after today and, better still, its association with a dodgy young wizard isn’t as prominent as it once was. And besides, when it comes to being a classic Ford icon, it doesn’t need any magic to hold its own.

Engine

The 997cc engine is stronger than the 1198cc engine, the latter being prone to premature bearing wear. With either unit, signs of advanced wear are a rumbling bottom end, high oil consumption, heavy breathing and blue smoke. Both engines are also prone to rattling camshaft chains, rotting out their core plugs and leaking oil. Starter ring gears can be hard to find, but it’s relatively simple to sort the often dodgy carburettor ‚ specialists being able to rebuild the early Solex to overcome its tendency for flat spots and also the post-1966 Motorcraft item.

Interior

The Vinyl of earlier cars is less durable than that of later models, but both can suffer from splitting and cracking. Unsurprisingly, it’s the driver’s seat that usually has the most wear and it’s also the first to suffer from collapsed springs in the base. Reproduction trim is available, although reviving a tired interior can be costly, and it’s even possible to replace the steering wheel with a refurbished item on an exchange basis via the owners’ club. Windscreen seal often lets water in and also look for signs of water ingress where the heater bolts are. The wiper arms should have a rubber washer at their base, which if missing will allow water to seep down to the bolts.

Transmission

The first signs of gearbox wear are a bit of whine and failing synchromesh on second gear. Jumping out of second is a sign of wear in the selector rods. Oil can leak from the back of the input shaft, while it’s not unusual for it to seep out of the diff’s nose bearing, which has an often perished integral oil seal in its casing. Back axle has a reputation for being strong.

Suspension

Sagging rear springs can be retempered, although heavy duty saloon versions can be sourced from the owners’ club. Likewise, new GAZ inserts for tired struts are available, as are rear dampers. Steering should feel light and responsive, but if it’s vague and there’s a wobble at speed, then it’s a sign that the linkage’s often worn idler joint on the drag link is past its best. Again, the club can help, offering owners a re-manufactured replacement with a modified idler joint. Look to see that the grease nipples have been regularly oiled.

Body

Serious rust is likely in the floorpan, sills, crossmembers, spring hangers, door pillars and inner flitch panels. Water ingress through the rear lights can also completely rot out the boot floor, while more visible rust is most likely in the rear arches, valances and the front wings. It’s not unusual for doors to have rust in the middle due to the felt backing pad becoming waterlogged. Repro panels and repair sections are on sale but they don’t cheap, for example a quality new wing typically costing circa £800 and a front panel £1100. Some repro trim is available, but the often-damaged stainless steel side trims can only be sourced secondhand.

Values

£4000-£5000 is enough to secure MoT’d cars, with £5000-£6000 enough for tidy examples and £6000-£800 enough for Anglias in very good to excellent condition.