When it comes to UK cult cars, it is very easy to pretty much straight away to think of the Mini from ‘The Italian Job’ fame, the Aston Martin DB5 from ‘Goldfinger’ or even a certain red Jaguar MKII from the TV series ‘Inspector Morse’. What if I was to tell you that there is actually another classic UK cult car that has been forgotten about over these last few years. I am of course talking about the humble yet instantly recognizable Ford Anglia 105E.
I say humble because unlike most cars mentioned above that were pretty much loved straight away when launched, the Anglia 105E was launched in 1959 to replace the 100E and was simply released as a small family car for Ford Europe. Ford at the time, especially in the UK & Europe was going for a more American approach to their designs. With the likes of the Consul Capri Classic coming out at a similar time to the Anglia looking like something straight out of 50’s Americana, Ford Europe was on a roll with their designs and this showed with the humble Anglia. Made to look like an amalgamation of American cars including the Ford Thunderbird and even a ’50s Studebaker, it certainly looked fantastic. The rear window was a big design point on these cars as it sported a backward slanted rear-window affair where it had been taken from the accidental design specification for an electrically opening breezeway rear window. add in the muted rear fins and the chrome grille on the front spanning pretty much the front end of the car and it looked fantastic for a run of the mill car.
Powering this humble cult classic was a 997cc OHV I4 ‘Kent’ unit giving it ample power with equally ample top speed. British Anglia’s were given a then-new 4-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top three gears. By 1962, this was replaced with an all-synchromesh gearbox and was subsequently fitted to the larger-engined 1198cc Anglia’s known as the Anglia Super, these were distinctive due to their easily identifiable painted contrasting coloured stripe.
Bodystyles for the Anglia came in 3’s. First of all, you had the 2-door saloon that everyone is synonymous with, secondly, you had a larger 3-door estate and last but not least you had the 2-door panel van. Over 1 million Anglia’s were made from it’s introduction in 1959 to its death in 1968. With this many cars made, it slowly but surely started to become somewhat of a TV and Movie Car cult classic.
Now, of course, everyone knows the Anglia as the ‘Harry Potter Car’ due to the infamous scene where Rupert Grint’s character ‘Ron Weasely’ flies the car to Hogwarts in front of both members of public and then in front of the train they ultimately missed but did you also know that apart from that small scene, the Anglia has been in the public spotlight since the ’80s. Originally being shown in the BBC Comedy ‘The Young Ones’, it has gone on to star in many a period drama including both ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘The Royal’. For those two shows, especially ‘Heartbeat’ Anglia’s were painted numerous colors to signify the ranking of the on-screen police officers. This was actually a nod to the Anglia’s role as an actual police car. With their distinctive blue & white liveries, they soon became known as ‘Panda’ Cars.
In the show, there were also some black Anglia 105E’s that starred and these were something a bit special. first of all, they were only driven by the Sergeants of the show so where hardly ever spotted and secondly, they were the top-of-the-line ‘Deluxe’ models. These examples were painted fully black with Police plates front and rear. While the constables drove the normal 105E’s, the Sergeants drove the black 105E Deluxes.
Up to 5 Anglia’s were used in the show and even if you go back to Goathland where the show was filmed, you’ll still see some examples sitting outside known landmarks in the show. Going back to Harry Potter for a second, here’s a little fun fact: Goathland train station was also used as the Hogwarts Express stop in most of the films. The actual Anglia used in the Harry Potter film can be seen on display at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum in the New Forest, Hampshire.
In 1968, Ford decided to drop the long-lasting Anglia name for an all-new model, the now loved Escort MK1. Where the Anglia was just a humble commuter car that found fame in numerous TV shows and Movies, the Escort went on to dominate the rallying scene all the way from the late sixties to the early to mid-nineties before it was dropped in the late-nineties for the MK1 Ford Focus.
These days, it isn’t difficult to see a crazy Anglia build being made up using different engines and drivetrains from other Ford cars like the Escort. In fact, it is not the first time you’d see an Escort and an Anglia being worked on by the same tuners, whether that be Cosworth or Harris Performance, they seem to bide well with the tuners thanks to their lightweight and fairly modern for the time MacPherson strut suspension system.
With over 1.5 million Anglia’s made over its nearly 30-year life, it is to no-ones surprise that these cars have become somewhat of a cult classic car. While it may have been outshone by both the Cortina and the Escort in both sales and popularity at the time, the Anglia fought back by being humble and by simply sticking to its roots. by doing this, it has become the star of many UK TV Shows and even a Hollywood blockbuster film franchise.
Hope You Enjoy!
By Alex Jebson