Ford Anglia 105E Road Test (1959)

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Ford Anglia 105E Road Test - 1959
FORD traditions have been thrown to the winds in the design of the new Anglia, and the car marks such a major revolution for the company that it might well have justified a new model name. Here is their first small o.h.v. engine, and their first-ever four-speed gear box.

The rear window treatment is also a striking breakaway, and attracts such attention that the car cannot (at present) be parked for long without drawing a crowd. Practically every aspect of the new Anglia is an improvement on any previous small Ford, and a lively, quiet, roomy and comfortable small car, thoroughly enjoyable to drive, has been evolved.

In many other ways the car breaks new ground for its manufacturer, but perhaps the most significant advance is in the 1-liter engine. Its external appearance bears a resemblance in scaled-down form to a Consul engine, and although it does not feature the wedge-shaped combustion chambers of the Consul it does have an over-square stroke/ bore ratio, taken to the unusual extent of 0.6 to 1.

The very short piston travel per revolution which results leads one to expect that the engine will rev freely, and so it does; in fact it thrives on high revs.

Maximum power is developed at 5,000 rpm., but it goes happily far beyond this. The exceptionally high third gear maximum of 71 mph is equivalent to some 6,300 rpm., and at this speed there is still no vibration nor sounds of valve thrash and buzzing; nothing, in fact, to prevent an owner from using on occasion the high revs available.

At slightly lower speed-about 5,750 rpm there was a short. spell of resonance from the valve gear, serving as a warning as well as indicating that the point at which this new engine over-revs is fixed more by the restrictions of the valve mechanism than by the piston speed. The smoothness at high revs is almost uncanny.

In normal driving 30 mph in second gear and 60 mph in third are readily available, and the speed range in third gear makes this an ideal ratio for overtaking as well as for fairly sustained use in traffic. At all speeds the level of engine noise is commendably low, and a long run is made appreciably less tiring by the quietness of the power unit and the other working components. Any speed up to the near 80 m.p.h. maximum may be sustained indefinitely, without any impression that it is too fast for the car.

There is a crisp but not disturbing exhaust note. There was never hesitation in starting, but even during the warm weather which continued throughout the test, partial choke was needed for the first start of the day; and for the first few moments of running. The engine temperature reached normal level within two or three miles after a cold start.

Stalling normally did not occur even when the engine was allowed to idle straight away after a cold start, but an odd fault on this car was that on one or two occasions,­ whether hot or cold, the engine died suddenly at a traffic halt and was reluctant to restart for some 20 seconds. The starter is operated by the ignition key.

The high speed smoothness of the engine is not repeated, unfortunately, at the bottom end of the rev range. When accelerating below 20 m.p.h. in top gear the engine is decidedly lumpy, to such an extent that a driver who has forgotten to change down is promptly reminded to do so. Little torque is developed at' low revs; and it is essential that free use be made of the gear box.
Happily, the driver is encouraged to do this by a gear change which is very pleasant to use.

The new four-speed gear box has well-spaced ratios, each intended to be used to the full; thus, bottom gear is rightly needed to start from rest. The synchromesh (on the three upper ratios) is powerful, and enables the lever to be whipped across from one gear position to another almost as quickly as· the hand can move.

The control is also extremely light to operate. The only move which provoked any noise from the gear box was the hurried thrust from second to third gears, employed when the acceleration figures were being timed. Occasion­ally the lever gives rise to an irritating chatter, but the gears themselves are notably quiet.

This combines with the engine silence to enable the driver to hang on to third gear in traffic or while waiting for an opportunity to overtake, without feeling all the time that a change to top gear should be made.

For reverse gear the lever must be lifted against a spring and 'moved to the left. This system' is familiar to many, but newcomers to it may find difficulty in selecting reverse. Again, in the steering, there is a "family" likeness between the new Anglia arid the current Consul.

The system is of the re circulating ball type, and it has the same marked lightness which is noticed on the Consul; but it is rather too low geared for full precision of control in the straight ahead position. There is no tendency to wander on the straight. . A good side product of the steering light­ness is the almost total absence of any wheel shock over rough surfaces.

The MacPherson front suspension, using coil springs and tall swivel pins, is retained on the new Anglia, and is now the basic system used on all cars of the Ford range. In comparison with the earlier models, however, the semi-elliptic leaf springs of the rear suspension are considerably elongated. The ride which the car gives is very comfortable indeed, and there is little of the firm vertical movements often associated with small cars.

Bad surfaces can be taken at speed, the movements of the wheels being sensed rather than felt; and there is no pitching or obtrusive body movement. Foam rubber is used in the seats, which adds to the general standard of driver and passenger comfort. There is good' support for a limited area of the back but little for the thighs.

On corners some roll occurs, but the speed at which they' ran be taken is remarkably high. The driver always has .the car fully under control, and there are no vicious, sudden or unexpected ·characteristics. The car understeers notice­ably, but in extreme conditions of very hard cornering the back can be made to slip outwards. Adhesion is little reduced when cornering on a' wet road, and the Anglia still feels very safe.

Hard cornering produces a fair amount of tire squeal, which is eliminated if the pressures are increased three or four pounds above the recommended normal setting of 22 lb. front and rear. Ample stopping power is provided by the brakes. Although the weight of the car is exactly three-quarters of a ton less than that of the previous Anglia, the lining area is the same. The response to light pedal pressures is reassur­ing, and the brakes may be used hard with confidence.

The New Ford  Anglia
During one spell of hard driving with four people on board, repeated applications made the brakes very hot, but even with the linings beginning to smell there was no detectable fade.

Towards the end of the test mileage a screech accom­panied the first few applications on any run, disappearing as the drums warmed up, but there was no noticeable increase in pedal travel.

A sturdy lever between the front seats, with button release at its end, controls the hand brake. It is con­veniently placed, and will hold the car firmly on a 1 in 3 gradient. Reactions to the forward sloping rear window are mixed. Usually people preferred it on second sight, and seen "in the flesh". It blends quite happily with the line of the car.

More important than its appearance is the fact that it enables rear seat passengers to sit comfortably with the roof well clear of their heads; at the same time space is allowed for a full-size luggage locker lid.

From outside, the window gives the odd effect of appearing to have no glass in it, because of the absence of reflections. The overhang will also help to keep the window clean, un-obscured by overnight dew or frost, and will tend to keep the sun away from passengers' necks.

Rear seat passengers appreciate the slimness of .the rear quarter panels, which provide good visibility to each side. The all-round view for the driver is particularly good.

From the driving seat the bonnet is seen to slope away to the front, and both the head lamp surrounds and the wing tops are in full view of the driver, making it easy to place the car accurately. The windscreen is curved and commendably deep.

The screen pillar nearest the driver- appears narrow, and does not obstruct on account of the angle at which it is seen; the left windscreen pillar appears broader, but it is still not obtrusive. To the rear, the wing line is again visible from the driving seat when reversing.

Generous legroom is provided in the rear compartment, even tall passengers being able to sit in comfort, with their knees in front of them and not in contact with the backs of the individual front seats. For the driver, less space is avail­able. The pendant pedals locate' his feet a few inches from the toe board, and he does not need' to be particularly tall to find hisknees arguing with the steering wheel, and inter­fering with his use of the indicator switch.

A shallow well in front of the pedals would effect an improvement by lowering the driver'sfeet. All who drove the car duringthe test began by trying to move the seat back, and it stayed on the rear notch of the adjustment the whole time. Many owners will benefit by having new holes drilled for the seat mounting so that when the rear seat isunoccupied the drivingseat may be pushed farther back. The passenger seat is not adjustable. There is space for the driver's left foot between the clutch pedal and the gear box hump.

Although the Anglia is available only in two-door form, access to the rear compartment iseasy. The doors open wideand are held in the fully open position by a catch. Each front seat hinges on itsforward mounting, and can be pushed up as a single unit to give access to the back seat. A good feature is that the front seats stay forward when they are pushed there, so that passengers entering or leaving the back compartment do not have to hold the front seat up.

There is an ashtray on each sidein the panel' below the rear side window. Another hinged ashtray is concealed (when closed) between the heater and bonnet controls in the centre of the facia. Rear side windows are hinged at the forward edge, and ample ventilation in the rear is provided when they are opened. The latches are thief-proof.

The two-spoked steering wheel is pleasantly small in diameter. It has bright metal flashes over the spokes which cause reflections in the windscreen. Some drivers are not worried by this, but those who are will probably lose no time in removing the strips with a screwdriver.
The indicators switch on the right of the steering column is self-cancelling, and also sounds the high-pitched horn when it is pressed in. Matching iton the left is a similar lever which operates the head lamp dip switch. To alter the setting of the head lamps from dipped to main beam, or the other way round, the lever is pressed downwards and then released, when it returns by spring movement.

A rather frail but full-width parcel shelf is provided below the scuttle, and ithas a lip about an inch deep to prevent articles from sliding out. On the left of the facia the shelf is supplemented by a quite roomy compartment, the lid of which islockable. The instrument fairing in front a,f the driver matches" this.

The speedometer has a straight scale on which the figures are plainly marked, with a spot below each speed: The dial includes a mileometer recording tenths (but no trip recorder), and a thermometer and fuel gauge. There are also warning lights for dynamo charge, low oil pressure, and the indicators.

All of the instruments give remarkably steady readings. In particular, the fuel gauge needle rises slowly when the ignition is switched on and settles down to a steady reading which does not alter as the fuel in the tank splashes about. The gauge is divided into five segments, which is a pity because it is so accurate that it could well have been marked out in gallons showing one for each of the tank's 7 gallons capacity.

Some amplification of the petrol consumption figures is needed. The bottom end of the range (which isrecorded at 31 m.p.g.) resulted from very hard driving on winding roads, using the fullest performance in each ratio of the excellent gear box, and giving the engine full throttle whenever possible.

Quite a small reduction in driving fierceness made an impressive improvement in the consumption to nearer 40 m.p.g., and on one fairly brisk run with four people on board and using 60 m.p.h. as a natural cruising speed, 41 m.p,g. resulted. The overall consumption figure of 36.1 m.p.g. includes much running in London traffic, and a great deal of hard driving. It is a good guide to the sort of consumption which owners may hope for even if they work the car hard.

At 8.9 to 1 the compression ratio is relatively high, but for experimental purposes the car was tried on a' 50 per cent mixture of commercial and premium grade petrol. No favourable effect on the car's behaviour was detectable until it was reduced to slogging speeds, when slight pinking could be provoked.

A small (38-ampere hour) 12-volt battery sits ina tray on the right of the engine compartment, near the radiator. An unusual point is that the cut-out box is mounted inside the car, below the facia on the right, and itis possible to hear the clickas the contacts open and close.The biggest unit under the bonnet - after the engine - is the heater, an optional extra at £14 3s 4d, inclusive of British purchase tax. Air is taken in through louvers in the top rear of the bonnet, and when the car is on the move-or with the reasonably quiet fan in use-there is a vigorous delivery of hot or cold air with the inlet control open.

The controls are on the facia, and move easily. The bonnet release catch matches the heater controls on the right. Heat adjustment is by variation of the volume of air passing through the element, which is kept hot all the time the engine is running; consequently the response to changes in settings is immediate, and line adjustment is also possible.

A radical change for Ford is the use of electric self­-parking windscreen wipers on the Anglia, after so many years of vacuum operation. In the parked position, at the bottom of the screen, the two blades overlap slightly, resting one above the other. They sweep a large area of the wind­screen, and function quietly.

The interior mirror is mounted at the top of the wind- screen, and above it is the interior lamp, which lights up automatically when either of the doors is opened. It may also be switched on when the doors are shut by pressing the top of its transparent glass. The glass is pulled outwards to switch off.

There are eleven grease points requiring attention every 1,000 miles. No measurable drop in the oil level occurred during the whole of the test mileage. In terms of maximum speed and acceleration, the new Anglia is one of the fastest four-seater British cars of Under 1,000 c.c. engine capacity, and with this and its other attributes there seems little doubt that it will not be long before we shall see it appearing in competitive 'events, no doubt with some measure of success.

More important is its appeal as a compact family car which is both pleasant to travel in and to drive. With its willing engine, its light and well-planned controls, and the high standard of comfort and finish provided, it will un­doubtedly answer these requirements excellently.

Also see:
Ford Anglia Review
Ford Prefect Review
Ford Anglia 105E Technical Specifications (1959)

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