Why you’d want a Ford Anglia 105E/123E
Britain was a world leader in car production by the late ’50s, but some of its products were distinctly antiquated – not least Ford’s 100E Anglia, with its pre-war-derived sidevalve engine, three-speed gearbox and vacuum-operated wipers.
The Anglia 105E burst on to the scene in 1959, all set to take the ’60s by storm with bold, futuristic styling including a low, wind-tunnel-honed nose and a reverse-rake rear ’screen that cleverly allowed great headroom, a large boot opening and cost-saving flat rear glass.
There have been few bigger contrasts in engine history than Ford’s switch from long-stroke, low-revving sidevalve to short-stroke, oversquare, overhead-valve screamer in 1959.
The 105E unit was swiftly adopted for Formula Junior racing, and within two years a huge range of tuning options was available from evocative names such as Cosworth, Alexander, HRG, Holbay, PECO, Allard and Willment.
It came with a new four-speed, three-synchro ’box with a super-slick change.
In a few years it would be further improved for the Cortina, whereupon this all-synchromesh unit plus the Cortina’s 1198cc version of the engine found its way into the Anglia, in 123E Super form.
Despite being a volume producer, Ford was already opening up to the personalisation that would later characterise its cars with a huge number of options.
For the Anglia, the range began with the Standard with no chrome, a steel-slat grille and basic interior.
The Deluxe got a full-width chrome grille, single chrome side strip, glovebox lid, sunvisors and chrome rear lights.
The 123E Super came with twin chrome side strips, a contrasting-coloured roof and side flash, plus a more luxurious interior.
But it was also possible to specify a 123E with Deluxe trim (and a Deluxe or Standard Estate) – and (rarely) a 997 with Super trim.
Also rare and desirable are the c1000 pick-ups, though even rarer (at c600) was the Standard Estate.
The model bounced back into the limelight when Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was published in 1998.
It had a dramatic effect on awareness and values that holds to this day, and must have saved many cars from scrap.
Images: James Mann
Ford Anglia 105E/123E: what to look for
Please see above for what to look for before you check out any classic Ford Anglia 105E/123E for sale.
The very oversquare 997cc engine was a legend, and seemingly unburstable: the stiff tubular crankshaft was a very impressive feature back in the day, and piston speeds were little above half those of the old sidevalve engine.
Carburettor wear is the most common cause of poor starting and running; all parts are available.
Check for worn steering, leaking front struts, seized brake cylinders and worn bushes.
All running gear is available and brake upgrades are often found.
The chassis number
The chassis number is etched into the right-hand strut top – few are legible because this is a rot spot and repairs are common. Check it’s been done well.
Check for worn gear synchros on first (1200s) and second (all), for whining, a bearing noise that goes when you dip the clutch, and jumping out of second.
Vinyl wears well and Aldridge Trimming does replacement sets including door trims and carpets.
Seats sag with age, but can be refurbished.
Ford Anglia 105E/123E: before you buy
The Ford Anglia’s suspension was carried over mildly uprated from the 100E: the handling was widely liked when it was new, though the narrow track could make it skittish on bumpy roads and roll was significant when cornering hard.
Originally greasing was required to 11 points every 1000 miles, reduced to every 5000 upon the introduction of the Super.
A flat-spot at low revs was noted in the first year and, after almost 50,000 had been built, Ford offered a new carburettor to eliminate the trouble – free to anyone who asked.
A timing-chain tensioner was added in 1961 because, without it, the chains soon became noisy.
The 997 lasted better than the 1198 unit, but today most have been rebuilt at least once: listen out for rumbles indicating bearing wear, rattles suggesting little-end (or timing chain) wear, and look for excessive oil breathing and leaks: a full engine rebuild costs c£2500.
Many examples have been uprated to 1500 Ford units or even bigger – V8 Anglias are not uncommon – and modifying was all the rage until the Harry Potter franchise boosted the values of standard cars, so check the history and look for signs of past abuse that could have affected the shell.
Structural integrity is crucial and panels are available, but not cheap: a new front wing is more than £1000, and an inner wing is still more, though repair sections are also available if itʼs not too far gone.
Check any past repairs very carefully, especially to ensure suspension mounts arenʼt compromised.
Ford Anglia 105E/123E price guide
- Estate: £1000/5000/11,000
- Saloon: £1500/6500/16,000
- Van: £2000/10,000/20,000
Prices correct at date of original publication
Ford Anglia 105E/123E history
1959 105E Anglia launched: 997cc Standard or Deluxe, 76mph
1960 1in extra rearward travel on driver’s seat; carburettor changed to avoid flat-spot
1961 Thames 307E van arrives as 5cwt (painted bumpers, grille etc) and 7cwt (chromed); Kennex pick-up follows
1961 105E Estate: larger rear brake cylinders, lower axle ratio, bigger tyres
1962 Anglia Super 123E saloon replaces 107E Prefect: 1198cc, all-synchro ’box, two-tone paint, improved trim, padded dash top; Thames 309E 1198cc 5cwt/7cwt vans
1964 Kennex pick-up conversion productionised by Martin Walter
1965 Vans rebadged from Thames to Anglia; Torino saloon by Michelotti enters production in Italy (10,007 built 1965-’67); final-drive ratio lowered on 997cc saloons
1967 Run-out special editions in Venetian Gold and Blue Mink (250 each)
The owner’s view
A car enthusiast since childhood, Auboné Braddon hasn’t let being partially sighted stop him enjoying his favourite cars.
“My parents had Anglia estates,” he recalls, “and other neighbours had Anglias, too.
“I knew I would never be able to get a driving licence, but I asked my parents if I could own a car anyway. They saw no reason to stop me, so I bought my first Anglia in 1986: I now have 12!
“I move the cars around the barn, my friends drive them on the road and we have a great community within the Ford Anglia 105E Owners’ Club – I’m the club historian and DVLA liaison, and the group is very active supplying spares for the cars.
“This example was a one-lady-owner car, with only 46,000 miles from new: it’s completely unrestored.
“She added some interesting extras, including rear parking sensors that still work. The Deluxe saloon was the most popular model sold.”
Shadowing the Ford in performance, with a boost to 1098cc in 1962. Pinin Farina styling gave a sharp modern suit and a hatchback rear in the Countryman. Rot has reduced survivors.
Sold 1958-’67 • No. built 342,180 • Price now £600-7500*
Michelotti styling, a great turning circle, all-independent suspension and plenty of options made the Herald popular; separate-chassis build makes it easier to restore. Still good value.
Sold 1959-’68 • No. built 443,147 • Price now £850-12,500*
*Prices correct at date of original publication
Ford Anglia 105E/123E: the Classic & Sports Car verdict
Almost all Ford Anglias have been restored at least once already, so the key points are condition (buy the best you can to avoid costly renovation later) and spec – it’s very much personal choice if you go for original or modified, Standard, Deluxe or Super.
Prices are much more geared to condition, so there’s no great premium paid for a Super over a Deluxe; top prices go to expensively rally-prepared cars.
- Universally popular and loved small saloon that is still very practical to own and use
- Holds its value well
- Good spares supply
- Great club support
- Rot can be terminal
- Modifications can be horrendous
- You can’t drive one without Harry Potter being mentioned…
Ford Anglia 105E/123E specifications
- Sold/no built 1959-’67/1,004,737 (105E), 79,223 (123E)
- Construction steel unitary
- Engine all-iron, ohv 997/1198cc ‘four’, with single Solex 30 carburettor
- Max power 39bhp @ 5000rpm to 48.5bhp @ 4800rpm
- Max torque 53lb ft @ 2700rpm to 63lb ft @ 2700rpm
- Transmission four-speed manual (all-synchro on 1200), RWD
- Suspension: front independent, by MacPherson struts, anti-roll bar rear live axle, semi-elliptic springs, lever-arm dampers
- Steering recirculating ball
- Brakes drums, twin-leading shoe at front
- Length 12ft 9½-10¼in (3900-3920mm)
- Width 4ft 9½in (1460mm)
- Height 4ft 8-10in (1422-1473mm)
- Wheelbase 7ft 6½in (2300mm)
- Weight 1624-1876lb (738-853kg)
- 0-60mph 31.7-21.6 secs
- Top speed 74-82mph
- Mpg 30-45
- Price new £514-598 (1963)