Friday February 1, 2019
It is a scene straight from one of those episodes of Gideon’s Way or Edgar Wallace B-films that are re-run on Talking Pictures Television. A gang of hoods is trying to make their getaway from a bank raid in their battered Jaguar Mk. VIIM, only to encounter an unmarked Ford Anglia 105E patrol car. Cue the dramatic incidental music:
Inside the Jaguar:
Driver (Sam Kydd) – ‘Lawks a lummee!’
Gang Boss (Sydney Tafler) – ‘Step on it, Punchy!’
Panicking Side-Kick (Michael Balfour) – ‘We’ll go to the Moor for this little caper!’
Inside the Anglia
The Inspector (Conrad Phillips) – ‘In your own time, Sergeant’.
Driver (Joe Wadham) Yes sir!
We are not saying that this definitely occurred to the splendid 1965 De Luxe owned by Joseph Frederick-Thomas Gabrielli of John and Joseph Classics (although it really should have done) but his Anglia did indeed serve with the Leicester City force.
The 105E is long-associated with Unit Beat “Panda Cars”, which were usually finished in two-tone liveries - Lancashire Constabulary once placed an order for 175 such cars - but when the Gabrielli Ford left the factory it was ‘painted in “Spruce Green”.
She was then transferred to a local dealership for “Police Preparation”’, before being assigned to duty. ‘She was ‘issued to a station rather than to an individual officer, but would have been driven by one or two specific officers only regardless’.
Leicester City Police merged with the County Constabulary in 1967 and after she was decommissioned, “Penelope”, as the 105E is now known, was eventually ‘found in a barn. She had sat there since 1976 and ‘returned to the road in 2015, for the first time after 39 years’. Concerning her condition, the Anglia was ‘structurally was excellent with very little welding required. Her wings, strut tops etc. have never been touched’. Joseph ‘had to do a little bit of welding to her rear valance, and front jacking points but she was very sound which comes with being dry stored for that period of time’.
The 105E ceased production in November 1967 and Joseph explains how it impacted on motorists on its launch in late 1959 – ‘there is the revolutionary engine and gearbox for one, the “Kent” unit is a fantastic little piece. Only the 997cc was offered originally, before becoming the 1,198cc offered on the Anglia Super 123E’. In addition, ‘the 105E was also the first English Ford to be fitted with a four-speed gearbox, and the Anglia Super also boasted a fully synchromesh transmission’.
But more than the technical improvements over its 100E predecessor, Mr. Gabrielli finds the 105E’s appearance even more important than its running gear. It certainly has to be one of the most dramatic looking small cars of its era, and that reverse-slope rear window makes its silhouette unmistakable. ‘It's the fantastic styling of the Anglia, the grace, character and quirkiness make them a unique piece. They absolutely sum up the age of the 1960s in terms of looks. Offered in such beautiful colour schemes along their production made them very pleasing to set your eyes upon!’.
As the reaction that Penelope receives when she is at shows or merely on the road – ‘she does make people rather intrigued. Everyone thinks owning an Anglia just results in “Harry Potter” comments - however, in all the years of ownership I’ve heard that comment once. I do receive a lot of “Heartbeat”, and “my father had one of those” remarks.
A lot of younger people come up and ask me about the history and restoration’. In short, the Ford Anglia attracts ‘a lot of attention, winning lots of shows along the way’ – and with such an arresting 105E this comes as no surprise. I’ll get my coat…