Ford Popular

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Ford Popular
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Body style(s)two door saloon

The Ford Popular is a car from Ford built in England between 1953 and 1962. When launched, it was Britain's lowest priced car.[1]

The Popular name was also later used on basic models of the Escort and Fiesta cars.

Ford Popular 103E

Ford Popular 103E
1956 Ford Popular
155,340 made [2]
Successor'New' Ford Popular
Body style(s)two door saloon
Engine(s)1172 cc straight-4 side-valve
30 bhp
Transmission(s)3 speed manual
Wheelbase90 in (2286 mm)[1]
Length151.5 in (3848 mm) [1]
Width56.5 in (1435 mm) [1]
Height64.5 in (1638 mm)[1]
Curb weight1,624 lb (737 kg) [2]
RelatedFord Anglia

When production of the older Ford Anglia and Ford Prefect was stopped in 1953 the Popular was developed as a budget alternative. The Popular was based on the old, prewar-style E494A Anglia. It was powered by a Ford Sidevalve 1172 cc, 30 bhp (22 kW)[2], four cylinder engine. The car was very basic. It had a single vacuum powered wiper, no heater, vinyl trim and very little chrome, even the bumpers were painted. Over 150,000 Populars were made.

This car proved successful because, while on paper it was a sensible alternative to a clean, late-model used car, in practice there were no clean late-model used cars available in postwar Britain due to the six-year halt in production caused by World War II. This problem was compounded by stringent export quotas that made obtaining a new car in the late 1940s and into the early 1950s difficult, and covenants forbidding new-car buyers from selling for up to three years after delivery. Unless the purchaser could pay the extra GBP100 or so for an Anglia 100E, Austin A30 or Morris Minor, the choice was the Popular or a prewar car.

A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1954 had a top speed of 60.3 mph (97.0 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 24.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of Template:Convert/foutmig (Template:Convert/L/100 km mpgus) was recorded. The test car cost £390 including taxes. [1]

Ford Popular 100E

Ford Popular 100E
The 1959 Popular inherited its body from the now superseded Ford Anglia 100E
126,115 made[2]
SuccessorFord Anglia
Body style(s)two door saloon
Engine(s)1172 cc straight-4 side-valve
Transmission(s)3 speed manual
Wheelbase87 in (2210 mm)[3]
Length149.75 in (3804 mm) [3]
Width60.75 in (1543 mm)[4]
Height58.75 in (1492 mm)[4]
Curb weight1,708 lb (775 kg)
RelatedFord Anglia

In 1959 the old Popular was replaced by a new version that was in production until 1962. Like the previous version it used a superseded Anglia's body shell, this time that of the 100E, and it was powered by a strengthened 1172 cc sidevalve engine producing 36 bhp[4]. The brakes were now hydraulic with 7.1 in (180 mm) drums all round[4]The basic model stripped out many fittings from the Anglia but there was a large list of extras available and also a De Luxe version which supplied many as standard.

In later years, these cars became popular as hot rods since the late 1950s when people started drag racing them due to their light weight construction. Ironically this started in the United States but became the definitive British hot rod, which it still is today.

The Motor magazine tested a 100E in 1960 and found it to have a top speed of 69.9 mph (112.5 km/h), acceleration from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 19.6 seconds and a fuel consumption of Template:Convert/foutmig (Template:Convert/L/100 km mpgus). The test car cost £494 including taxes with a comment that it was the lowest priced orthodox saloon on the British Market [4]

Popular trim level

In 1975 the Popular name was revived as a base trim level of the newly released Ford Escort Mk2. This model featured a standard 1.1 litre OHV Kent motor, 12 inch wheels with cross ply tyres and drum brakes all round. The trim level proved long-standing across the Ford range, featuring on later Escorts and the Fiesta, from 1980 to 1991.

Ford Popular in television shows

In 1970, a Ford Popular was extensively modified by the British Broadcasting Corporation to become "Bessie", the Doctor's sprightly Edwardian roadster on the long-running science-fiction television show, Doctor Who. A black Ford Popular 103E (EBW 343) was also used in the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch Mr. and Mrs. Brian Norris' Ford Popular. In a spoof of epic journeys, the Norrises (Michael Palin as Brian Norris and Graham Chapman in drag as Betty Norris) set out to see if the journey from Surbiton to Hounslow was possible; they were thwarted by the Thames and had to finish the trek by rail.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "The Ford Popular". The Motor. April 28 1954. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Robson, Graham (2006). A-Z British Cars 1945-1980. Devon, UK: Herridge & Sons. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "The Ford Popular". The Motor. August 24 1960.