Ford’s new Anglia, introduced in 1959, was as dramatic in its engineering improvements as it was in its look-at-me, Ford America, Lincoln – inspired styling features. Words: Quinton Taylor. Photos: Quinton Taylor.
FEATURE 1964 Ford Anglia Deluxe
ANGLIA WITH STYLE – ANGLE BOX
’60S CLASSIC KIWI ANGLIA DELUXE
For style-starved Britain of the 1950s, the Ford Anglia was a breath of fresh air and the basis of Ford’s competition heritage. The new Anglia introduced a free-revving 997cc engine, delightfully easy-to-use gearbox, and nimble handling. It seated four adults and their luggage with ease. The Anglia’s sales success meant Ford broke production records with it at levels not achieved again until the arrival of the Cortina.
The Anglia’s sales success meant Ford broke production records with it at levels not achieved again until the arrival of the Cortina
The standard Anglia was available in 12 new colours, and customers opting for the higher spec Super could choose a different-coloured side stripe. Ford’s ‘Z’ back window gave the car a distinctive look, and it’s interesting to compare it with the Michelotti-styled Ford Anglia Torino built in Turin by Officine Stampaggi Industriali (OSI) for Ford Italy using mostly Ford 105E running gear.
It was no surprise that tuning shops sprang up almost overnight as owners modified their cars and the little Fords battled with the new Mini on the racetrack.
Ford advertised the Anglia as a sporty car and further modifications were easily achieved. These included full synchromesh on the four-speed gearbox, brake upgrades, and uprated suspension. The 1962 Anglia Super was fitted with the Cortina’s 1198cc engine, adding to the flavour.
During its lifetime, the Anglia underwent a number of improvements, but it was on the racetrack that the little car underwent some amazing changes. From V8 and either 1600cc four-cylinder pushrod or Lotus twin-cam engine conversions to wild Ferrari-like bread-van fastback body styling, there was no mistaking the iconic ‘Anglebox’. Many still compete on racetracks in New Zealand, especially in Pre-’1965s series and increasingly in Central Muscle Cars (CMC) categories.
A work in progress
In recent weeks, we have had the pleasure of meeting two Southland classic car enthusiasts who are enjoying Ford Anglia ownership. Both own New Zealand–assembled cars: one an early example and the second one of the very last. The latter’s owner, John Tait, thinks that it may possibly have been assembled alongside the new Ford Escort introduced in 1968. Both cars are well looked after and, unusually, in near unmodified condition.
Winston Saxton’s ’1964 Ford Anglia Deluxe is a car he and his wife Linda enjoy driving. He happily describes it as “a work in progress” following a steady list of improvements not only to preserve the car but also to improve its safety.
“We think we are the fourth owners of the car. The guy I bought it off was Stewart Littlejohn of Bluff. His sister-in-law had owned it for something like 30 years. It’s one of those ‘a lady goes to church on Sundays and gives it a wash down before putting it away for the next week’ sort of cars,” Winston explains.
Well looked after, it was during that lady’s ownership that the little car was transformed with a change of colour.
“It was originally white and she didn’t like white. She thought sea air and white cars don’t go that well together so she had it painted green,” states its current owner.
Despite using Ford tractors on the family farm at Thornbury, west of Invercargill, Winston and Linda were unable to buy a new Ford Anglia. The search for a suitable car in good condition continued for some time until the pair eventually gave up. Then, many years later, an engineering friend in Invercargill put Winston on to a possible car for sale.
“Gordon Hoffman told me Stewart Littleton in Bluff had one and it was for sale,” he says. A phone call and subsequent offer over the phone proved to be unsuccessful. Winston explained he was genuinely interested in the car and an arrangement was made to inspect it. “He suggested a price; it looked all right to me, and the deal was done. We also became very good friends,” Winston tells us.
That was in September 1998. The Anglia had a bump or two but was otherwise in great shape. It needed a little TLC, but they kept the Ford green it had been repainted in with a slightly lighter Ford green on the roof.
“It was registered and warranted. We had it repainted just before the international rally in Invercargill. The grille wasn’t right, so we got a proper grille for it and tidied it up,” Winston says. The Anglia’s actual mileage is something of a mystery, as the original speedometer has been replaced at some time, but the car is still running its completely stock 997cc engine.
“It goes well and doesn’t burn any oil. The only modification I’ve done is because, like a lot of Fords, it has poor brakes. I’ve fitted a PBR brake booster and that’s certainly given it brakes. It ticks along very well at 55-60mph [89-97kph]. It’s got all the power you really need for a car of that type, and for miles per gallon it’s excellent,” says Winston.
Like the rest of the car, the interior is in great condition; it has been carefully tidied, with any wear and tear repaired.
“A guy told me what paint to use to do the headlining. It was a New Zealand-assembled car and they got a bit carried away with the glue brush — there was a bit of surplus going where it wasn’t meant to. After I masked it all up, it came up like new,” says Winston.
Back on the road
This is not a car that has been cosseted in a warm, dry garage and done only short trips. Since the Saxtons have owned it, they have completed some impressive trips around the South Island, often using roads that some of us might be apprehensive about taking a four-wheel- drive vehicle on.
“We’ve done one or two trips to Nelson on Easter [Vintage Car Club] rallies, and a trip to Greymouth via a few back roads,” Winston explains.
After one trip to Nelson, a bad vibration in the car started after they left Hanmer Springs. They pressed on, travelling through Wanaka and eventually arriving home to a surprise: “We jacked her up and found a universal joint had gone on the driveshaft. That could have been a bit tricky. We replaced the driveshaft and no trouble since. You never know what’s going on underneath, do you?”
Winston recalls with amusement tackling the Nevis Valley in the Anglia, a route that is normally the realm of 4×4 vehicles.
“Yep, it’s been through the Nevis. We did an autumn trip through there. We went through the next day to Cromwell, back out through Bannockburn, through the Transmission Line Road, and on to Lookout Point at Clyde, so we have done a few runs in it,” he says.
For those who don’t know the old goldfield’s route, taking a road car through it requires one set of wheels to ride the highest point of the deep ruts, straddling them to avoid bottoming the car. Deep snow often makes the area impassable in winter — and then there is the mud.
Winston also remembers a memorable event on one trip to Greymouth, which had some interesting moments for Linda.
“I had been doing a building job at home and whilst climbing off the tractor my son was driving, I fell and half wrecked my shoulder. I told Linda I wouldn’t be driving much. We went out to the racecourse for the photo shoot and gymkhana. I said I couldn’t drive, so Linda took off on the gymkhana. There was another woman driving her car, and they ended up racing each other. I thought we might get in trouble,” he laughs.
A keen tractor enthusiast and member of the Thornbury Vintage Tractor Club, Winston more often travels on tractor treks nowadays, while the Anglia gets used for occasional weekend runs and events such as the Southland Vintage Car Club’s Easter Rally.
Back in the day, Winston raced Minis at Teretonga Park Raceway, and for 10 years was chief flag marshal for the Southland Sports Car Club. He also completed a stint of 40 years in the local volunteer fire brigade.
“You enjoy doing these things, but there comes a time to take it a bit slower. It’s all about the people you meet,” Winston muses.
FORD ANGLIA HISTORY
The fourth in a line of Ford Anglia designs dating back to 1939, the 105E model ushered in a number of innovative features for Ford small cars with its US-influenced styling features, most noticeably the rearwards-sloping back windscreen. The latter was a feature copied in Ford’s Consul 315 and by a number of other car makes such as Citroën with its Ami, Mazda with its Carol 600, Suzuki with an early Ignis, Bond, and Reliant.
The ‘105E’ designation also meant a new long-overdue motor in the form of the Kent in-line four-cylinder overhead-valve engine. With its very over-square dimensions, strong cylinder block, and five-bearing crankshaft, it wasn’t long before the little rev-happy car hit the racetrack with all sorts of modifications, especially later as the engine underwent capacity increases.
There was also a new four-speed gearbox with synchromesh on the three upper ratios and full synchromesh from 1962. Gone were the awful vacuum-operated wipers; the new electric units were a big improvement. Instrumentation was still very basic, with just a fuel gauge and speedometer with warning lights for oil pressure, high beam, and generator.
The Anglia was launched at a time when new British models, such as the Austin/Morris Mini and the Triumph Herald, were also entering the market. Sales were good, and the Anglia was well received. It set a new yearly production record for Ford at its Dagenham plant in 1960, with 191,752 cars leaving the plant in the first full production year. Production moved to Ford’s new Halewood plant in 1963.
So popular was the Anglia in South Africa that it was assembled alongside the new Ford Escort well into 1968, similar to what happened in New Zealand assembly.
In 1962, the Anglia took on the version of the engine fitted to the Ford Cortina and the 1198cc version became the Anglia Super, usually distinguished by the different-coloured body side stripe. The 100E shape remained in production as the new Ford Prefect 107E, along with Escort and Squire Estate models available until 1962 when the Anglia Estate was introduced. There were also ‘Thames’-badged 5cwt (254kg) and 7cwt (356kg) (with the weights referring to maximum load weights) vans until 1965, when the ‘Thames’ name was dropped and all were marketed as Anglia vans. The total number of vans produced up to 1967 was 205,001. Who would have thought that, out of all the popular Fords, the Anglia would become a star? It became a very stylish prop in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, with Ron Weasley and Harry flying back to school in one, having missed the Hogwarts Express!
Above: An Anglia on its way to Monte Carlo in 1961 Below: The estate version was also very popular.
Light and airy, tail fins and cutback rear window, very 60s, very successful
SAFE IN THE MUSEUM
Invercargill pensioner John Tait and his late wife Ann enjoyed many trips in their Ford Anglia Deluxe over the years. It was also their daily transport. Coincidently, John’s car was purchased from Riverton, not far from where Winston’s Ford Anglia now resides in Thornbury.
“I bought the car off a chap in Riverton on 1 March 1997, and I think I am the seventh owner of it. It was first registered in Blenheim on 1 March 1967 to a Geoffrey Marfell,” John explains.
A truck driver for many years, John spent 13 years driving for Southern Transport, which was started by Southland truck collector Bill Richardson, whose collection now forms the basis of Bill Richardson Transport World.
The recorded mileage of John’s Anglia is thought to be somewhere over 160,000km, but the speedometer seems to have developed a life of its own at some stage — which seems fitting for a car the personalized plate ‘THLMA’.
“It must be one of the last New Zealand-assembled Anglias and was probably coming down the assembly line alongside the new Ford Escort when they were building up stocks to sell,” John muses.
In the past few years since he retired, John has driven trucks part time. He has also been a volunteer at Transport World for some years.
“I was having a bit of trouble with the car, and they told me to bring it in and they would see what was wrong with it. It was mainly the driver’s door, and there was a bit of rust here and there,” he says.
THLMA returned with not only the door fixed but also a new paint job and the rust removed! Split seat material sections had been repaired and the car had been generally tidied, much to John’s surprise.
The little car was regularly used on outings such as the British Car Club’s run every second Sunday of the month. In 2005, John and Ann took it on the Anglia New Zealand Owners Club run from Picton, travelling down the West Coast and through to Milford.
“We’ve been three times around the South Island in it. I still haven’t had to touch the engine. It’s only 997cc, and it did get one of those New Zealand–made heaters fitted to it,” says John.
At the time of the official opening of Bill Richardson Transport World’s new museum building a couple of years ago, collections manager Graeme Williams suggested to John that he loan THLMA to be displayed at the opening. “Unfortunately, I had to tell Graeme that THLMA’s clutch had failed, so they arrived with a salvage trailer and picked it up and later brought it back with the clutch and the brakes done!”
Ann has since passed away, and with John’s failing sight THLMA now remains full-time on display at Transport World.
John celebrated his 80th birthday on 20 January 2019, and his four sons arranged a special treat to celebrate the occasion with friends and other members of the family. “One of the boys picked up THLMA and then drove me to the birthday celebration at the Marist Rugby Football Club rooms. It was great riding in her again,” John says.
1964 Ford Anglia Deluxe
BODY STYLES Two-door saloon, three-door estate, two-door panel van
ENGINE Ford in-line four-cylinder
VALVES Overhead — two per cylinder
COMP. RATIO 8.9:1
MAX POWER 39bhp (29.1kW) at 5000rpm
MAX TORQUE 75Nm at 2700rpm
TRANSMISSION Four-speed manual with synchromesh
SUSPENSION, F/R McPherson-strut with coils, linked by an anti-roll bar / Solid differential mounted on semi-elliptic dual leaf springs, lever-action shock absorbers
BRAKES, F/R Drum/Drum
CURB WEIGHT 737kg
TOP SPEED 73.8mph (118.8kph)
0–60MPH (97KPH) 26.9 seconds