The significance of the Ford Anglia 105E has long been underestimated. When it was launched in 1959 it was immediately overshadowed by the revolutionary Mini and the Triumph Herald, both released the same year. Forty years later and the Anglia won a new generation of fans when it starred in the Harry Potter series. While the real Anglia never flew to Hogwarts, it did more than almost any other model to transform the Ford brand, selling in huge numbers.
The Anglia 105E changed the public’s perception of Ford forever. Gone was the ‘sit-up-and-beg’ driving position and stodgy styling of yore, replaced by futuristic looks and technological firsts. The 105E was the first Ford to be fitted with a four-speed gearbox and electric windscreen wipers, while the controversial rear window kept tongues wagging. This, coupled with impressive handling and tuning capabilities, made the 105E a million unit seller, and the blueprint for future Fords.
The 105E is a Fifties classic, so the threat of rust is a given and is responsible for scrapping many of the million original units. The worst spots can be found in the floorpan, crossmembers, sills, MacPherson strut tops, spring hangers, inner flitch panels and door pillars. Rust is also common in the rear wheel arches, front wings and valances. The doors can suffer rust if the felt backing pad gets wet. While replacement panels are available, they aren’t cheap, with a new wing starting at around £800 and a new front panel often fetching over £1000. The boot floor can also rot if water seeps in through the rear lights, so check for any evidence of this both in the boot and around the lights.
The 997cc Kent engine is a high-revving, hardwearing unit which has proved a favourite of tuners over the years and formed the basis of many racing engines. Nevertheless, look out for signs of wear and damage. These clues include a rumbling bottom end, high oil consumption, blue smoke and heavy breathing. The engine is also known to rattle its camshaft chains, rot the core plugs and leak oil. The carburettor can also be unreliable but it's relatively easy to solve, although starter rings are difficult to find. Ensure the car has been serviced regularly, and listen for any knocking sounds during the test drive. Knocking suggests worn main bearings. If there is a whiff of oil then it could be coming from the oil breather.
A tell-tale sign of a worn gearbox is a dodgy synchromesh on second gear. If the car is jumping out of second or whining then it could mean a worn selector rod. It has been known for oil to leak from the back of the input shaft, as well as seep from the diff’s nose bearing, which often has a disintegrated integral oil seal in the casing.
Rear springs are prone to sagging but can be re-tempered. Alternatively, saloon versions can be obtained from the owner’s club, or off-the-shelf GAZ strut inserts can be used. Collapsed suspension is often a sign of severe rust, so check the underside of the car thoroughly. If there is shimmying in the steering it could mean a worn idler joint on the drag link or replacing the suspension struts.
There are no major electrical issues to look out for, but ensure the ignition system and the battery is working well and the engine is turning over quickly and smoothly.
The Anglia’s interior can suffer from splitting and cracking, particularly on the earlier vinyl cars. The driver’s seat is often in the worst condition and is usually the first to suffer from broken springs in the seat’s base. Although reproduction trim is available, it will cost you. Restoring a 105E’s cabin is expensive, so you will probably have to put up with any damage or missing parts the interior has. Inspect the windscreen seals and heater bolts for signs of water ingress, as these are the major trouble spots. Evidence of damp can often be found under the carpets, where rust can quickly take hold. Also ensure the wiper arms have a rubber washer at the base. If they are missing it could allow water to trickle down to the bolts beneath.
The 105E was never in danger of setting race tracks alight but it was one of the first everyday Fords that could handle and ride far better than you’d expect of a family runaround. The steering was responsive and light, while the Kent engine revved freely and smoothly, proving a hit on the newly opened British motorway network. The ride was also composed, while the driving position was a revelation after Ford’s previous ‘sit-up-and-beg’ offerings. Put simply, the 105E should be a pleasing car to drive. If the steering feels wobbly then it could be a tracking or suspension issue. If the car crashes over bumps, you’ll also need to take a look at the suspension and dampers. If the engine is lumpy and lethargic, there is an issue and it might be time to walk away.
Despite selling well over a million units, an Anglia 105E in good condition is now difficult to come by. Nevertheless you can pick up an MOT’d example for around £5,000, with cars in good condition hovering around the £6,000 mark and up to £9,000 for an Anglia in great condition. Showroom examples with low mileage can demand far higher prices, with some going for up to £15,000. The Deluxe and Supers are the 105E’s in highest demand due to their more luxurious specs and higher quantity. The Standard is a bit barren in comparison, so often gets neglected by Anglia enthusiasts. Don’t let it put you off because if you can live with a spartan interior, a Standard can be had for less.
A lot of the bodywork and interior trim is rare these days. The front bumper, for instance, was shared with the Lotus Europa and Elan+2, so values have rocketed. Bear this in mind when inspecting damaged bumpers and scratched dashboards. Unless you fancy an expensive project you may just have to live with it.
The Anglia 105E was one of the Blue Oval’s most significant cars, and perhaps the first modern Ford. This, coupled with a sprinkling of Hollywood immortality, makes the 105E a superb everyday classic. If you choose wisely and find a rust-free example then you can have a piece of Ford history for half the price of a modern Ford hatchback.
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