Tiny Road Test: Ford Anglia

An opportunity presented itself last night to drive a Ford Anglia 105E for the first time. Well, actually, this one was in 1198cc 123E form, but I wasn’t going to be choosy. I’ve driven a LOT of cars over the years, but somehow the angular Anglia has eluded me.

I only got to drive a few miles as the car was soon to depart on a drive across the UK. Hence, the photos are minimal. This one in fact.

Delicious dinky-Detroit Anglebox

Clambering aboard, the driving position immediately felt quite odd. The seat seemed rather low compared to the high scuttle. Still, plenty of room for me and my legs. The gearlever is an odd thing. It’s very thin and spindly, and needs lifting up to enable reverse selection. It’s quite accurate, but does feel rather long and notchy. Not unpleasant, just unusual.

The pedals were surprisingly heavy, and I found the clutch and throttle both did very little at first and needed releasing/pressing a long way to get any action. Easy enough to adjust to. Performance is sprightly rather than quick but the engine is willing and there’s plenty of power – which exposes the rather short gearing. Motorway journeys must be a touch frantic.

The biggest surprise came from the steering though. The Anglia retains a steering box, but it’s light and delightful! It was far closer to a Morris Minor in feel, despite being an older technology (and in a car launched 11-years after the Moggy). I’ve always wondered why Anglias were so popular for saloon racing. I was beginning to see why. You can corner quite briskly without fear – not that I was pushing too much – and it left me eager for a longer stint at the wheel.

I’m glad I’ve finally removed this omission from my motoring CV. I had a feeling I’d like it, because that was certainly true of the Ford Prefect 107E – the older sidevalve Anglia body but with the later overhead-valve engine. To be honest, I actually prefer the more-subtle styling of the Prefect, though the Anglia provides plenty of ego-massaging opportunities. It generates a LOT of attention!

So, if you want to drive a car that makes people go ‘wow’ as you drive past, don’t bother with a sports car. Buy a Ford Anglia.

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