Black Ford Prefect Turismo from 1954, four cylinders, 1172 cc, 36 HP

The Ford Prefect is a line of British cars which was produced by Ford UK between 1938 and 1961 as an upmarket version of the Ford Popular and Ford Anglia small family cars. It was introduced in October 1938 and remained in production until 1941. Returning to the market in 1945, it was offered until 1961. The car progressed in 1953 from its original perpendicular or “sit-up-and-beg” style to a more modern three-box structure. Some versions were also built and sold by Ford Australia.

Like its siblings, the car became a popular basis for a hot rod, especially in Britain, where its lightweight structure and four-cylinder engines appealed to builders.

100E (1953–59)

n 1953 a much redesigned Ford Prefect was introduced alongside the similar Ford Anglia and remained in production until 1959. Externally, the Prefect can be distinguished from the Anglia by having vertical bars on the radiator grille and four doors. The old separate chassis had gone, replaced by integral construction, and coil independent front suspension supplanted the transverse leaf spring. Girling hydraulic brakes were fitted, initially 7 in (180 mm) drums but quickly increased to 8 in (200 mm) A new side-valve engine of 1172 cc engine was fitted having the same bore, stroke and layout of the previous engine, but in all other respects completely different – changes included adjustable tappets, raising the compression ratio from 6.3:1 to 7:1 and larger inlet valves, resulting in the power output increasing by 20% to 36 bhp.

Inside there were separate front seats trimmed in PVC with leather as an option and two circular instruments in front of the driver one containing the speedometer and the other, fuel and water temperature gauges. De Luxe models from the second dashboard update in 1959 included glove box locks.

The gear change was floor-mounted. The heater was an optional extra. The windscreen wipers were powered by the inlet manifold vacuum; when the engine was working hard, the vacuum fell away and the wipers slowed or stopped. The dashboard was revised twice; the binnacle surrounding the steering column was replaced by a central panel with twin dials towards the driver’s side in 1956; the last from 1959 had twin dials in a binnacle in front of the driver and AC ‘Vivid Arc’ speedo similar to the 1957 E-series Vauxhall Velox/Cresta and ’58/’59 PA models plus FB and EK Holdens.

In 1955 an estate car version was introduced, marketed as the Ford Squire and mechanically identical to the contemporary Escort, an estate car version of the Ford Anglia 100E, but with wooden strakes and a higher trim level.

The Motor magazine tested a de-luxe 100E in 1957 and recorded a top speed of 71 mph (114 km/h) and acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 32.2 seconds. A “touring” fuel consumption of 33.1 miles per gallon (imperial) was recorded. On the home market it cost £658 including taxes of £220.

100,554 were made.

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