Ford Prefect

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For the character in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, see Ford Prefect (character).
Ford Prefect
1948 Ford Prefect E93A.jpg
1948 Ford Prefect E93A Saloon
Overview
Manufacturer Ford of Britain
Production 1938–61
Chronology
Predecessor Ford 7Y
Successor Ford Anglia

The Ford Prefect is a line of British cars produced by the UK division of the Ford Motor Company, and a more upmarket version of its direct siblings the Ford Popular and Ford Anglia. It was introduced in October 1938 and remained in production until 1941; returning to the market in 1945, it was offered till 1961. The car progressed in 1953 from its original perpendicular or sit-up-and-beg style to a more modern three-box structure.

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.

E93A (1938–49)[edit]

Ford Prefect E93A
Ford Prefect ca 1948.jpg
Overview
Production 1938–49
199,493 produced
Assembly United Kingdom
Australia [1]
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon [1]
4-door saloon [1]
2-door tourer [1]
2-door drophead coupé [1]
2-door van (Australia) [1]
2-door coupé utility (Australia) [1]
2-door roadster utility (Australia) [1]
Related Ford Anglia
Ford Popular
Powertrain
Engine 1172 cc Ford Straight-4 side-valve
Transmission 3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 87 in (2,200 mm)[2]
Length 151 in (3,800 mm)[2]
Width 61 in (1,500 mm)[2]
Height 63.5 in (1,610 mm)[3]

The Ford Prefect was introduced in October 1938 and built by the Ford plant in Dagenham, Essex. The original Ford Prefect was a slight reworking of the previous year's 7Y, the first Ford car designed outside of Detroit, Michigan. It was designed specifically for the British market. It had a 1172 cc side-valve engine with thermocirculation radiator (no pump) and the ability to be started by a crank handle should the battery not have sufficient power to turn the starter motor running from the 6 Volt charging system. The windscreen wipers were powered by the vacuum ported from the engine intake manifold — as the car laboured uphill the wipers would slow to a standstill due to the intake manifold vacuum dropping to near nil, only to start working again as the top was reached and the intake vacuum increased. The windscreen opened forward pivoting on hinges on the top edge; two flaps either side of the scuttle also let air into the car. The car has a durable 4 cylinder motor.

Tourer 1939

The most common body styles were two- and four-door saloons, but pre war a few tourers and drophead coupés were made. Post war, only four-door saloons were available on the home market, but two-door models were made for export.

41,486 were made up to 1941[4] and a further 158,007 between 1945 and 1948.[5]

Australian production[edit]

The E93A was also produced in Australia, in 1939 only,[1] with the Australian-built 4-door saloon having an all-steel roof.[1] 2-door saloon,[6] tourer, 5cwt van, coupé utility and roadster utility models were also produced.[1]

E03A (Australia: 1939–45)[edit]

Ford Prefect E03A
Ford Prefect Sedan E03A of 1939.JPG
Ford Prefect E03A 4 door Saloon
Overview
Production 1939 to 1945 [7]
Assembly Australia [7]
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door saloon [6]
4-door saloon [6]
2-door tourer [6]
2-door coupé utility [6]
2-door roadster utility [6]
2-door van [6]
Powertrain
Engine 1172 cc Ford Straight-4 side-valve

The E03A replaced the E93A in Australian production in 1939.[7] The E03A saloon differed from the English E93A saloon in having an all-steel roof and stainless steel waistline trim.[7]

A53A (Australia: 1946-48)[edit]

Ford Prefect A53A
Ford Prefect A53A of 1948.JPG
Ford Prefect A53A 4 door Saloon
Overview
Production 1946 to 1948 [8]
Assembly Australia [8]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon [8]
2-door coupé utility [8]
2-door van [8]
Powertrain
Engine 1172 cc Ford Straight-4 side-valve

The A53A replaced the E03A in Australian production in 1946 [8] with 4-door saloon, coupé utility and 5cwt delivery van versions produced.[8] The A53A saloon differed from the E03A saloon in having an extended boot.[8] From October 1947 the grille slates were chrome-plated.[8]

E493A (1949–53)[edit]

Ford Prefect E493A
Ford Prefect E493A - Flickr - exfordy.jpg
Overview
Production 1949–53
192,229 produced
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
Powertrain
Engine 1172 cc Ford Straight-4 side-valve
Transmission 3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 94 in (2,400 mm)[2]
Length 151 in (3,800 mm)[2]
Width 61 in (1,500 mm)[2]
Height 63.5 in (1,610 mm)[9]

Post war, the Prefect design changed little until replaced in 1952. The headlamps moved into the wings and trafficators were fitted (internally lit semaphores springing out from the door pillars to signal left and right turns), though due to space restrictions these were left out on the Australian-built Ute. Only four-door saloons were available on the home market, the two-door sector being left to the Anglia but some were made for export.[5]

The brakes remained mechanically operated using the Girling rod system with 10 in (250 mm) drums and the chassis still had transverse leaf springs front and rear.

A Prefect tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1948 had a top speed of 61 mph (98 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 22.8 seconds. A fuel consumption of 33.2 miles per imperial gallon (8.5 L/100 km; 27.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car which had the optional leather upholstery cost £412 including taxes. In standard form, they commented that it was the cheapest 4-door car on the British market.[9]

192,229 were made.[5]

Canadian-market 1950 Prefect

A493A (Australia: 1949-1953)[edit]

Ford Prefect A493A
Ford A493A Prefect.jpg
Ford Prefect A493A 4-door Saloon
Overview
Production 1949 to 1953 [10]
Assembly Australia [10]
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon [10]
2-door coupé utility [10]
Powertrain
Engine 1172 cc Ford Straight-4 side-valve

The A493A was an Australian produced variant of the English E493A which was offered in 4-door saloon and coupe utility variants.[10] The A493A saloon differs from the E493A saloon in having a solid roof, an extended boot and a swage line on the front doors.[10]

Australian Ford Prefect A493A Coupe Utility


100E (1953–59)[edit]

Ford Prefect 100E
Ford.prefect.arp.750pix.jpg
Overview
Production 1953–59
100,554 produced
Assembly United Kingdom
Australia,[11] Seaview, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
Related Ford Anglia
Ford Popular
Ford Squire
Ford Escort
Thames 300E
Powertrain
Engine 1172 cc Ford Straight-4 side-valve
Transmission 3-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase 94 in (2,400 mm)[2]
Length 152 in (3,900 mm)[2]
Width 57 in (1,400 mm)[2]
Height 58.5 in (1,490 mm)[12]

In 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 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 input valves, resulting in the power input increasing by 20% to 36 bhp.[13]

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 a fuel and water temperature gauges. De Luxe models from the second dashboard update in 1959 included glove box locks.[14] The gear change was floor-mounted. The heater was an optional extra. 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 'magic ribbon' AC speedo similar to the 1957 E-series Vauxhall Velox/Cresta and '58/'59 PA models.

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.[12]

100,554 were made.[5]

107E (1959–61)[edit]

Ford Prefect 107E
Ford Prefect 997cc June 1960.JPG
Overview
Production 1959–61
38,154 produced
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door saloon
Powertrain
Engine 997 cc Ford Straight-4 overhead valve
Dimensions
Wheelbase 87 in (2,200 mm)[2]
Length 150 in (3,800 mm)[2]
Width 61 in (1,500 mm)[2]

This was a reworked 100E body with the new 997cc overhead valve engine, four-speed gearbox and 'banjo' style rear end from the Anglia 105E, produced to offer a four door model until replaced by the Ford Consul Classic. 38,154 were made,[5] most of them in a two-tone colour scheme and deluxe trim.

Versions assembled in New Zealand had a rare 'factory fitted' heater (dealer fit was almost universal at the time) and plush carpet.

Drum brakes of 8 in (200 mm) diameter were fitted, hydraulically operated, and the suspension was independent at the front using MacPherson struts. The rear driven axle used semi elliptic leaf springs. The steering mechanism used a worm and peg system.

On test, The Motor magazine recorded a top speed of 73 mph (117 km/h) and acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 27.2 seconds. A "touring" fuel consumption of 36 miles per gallon (imperial) was recorded. On the home market, it cost £621, including taxes of £183.[15]

Optional extras included a heater, windscreen washers, radio and leather upholstery to replace the standard PVC.

Exports & foreign production[edit]

In addition to the United Kingdom and Australia, Ford Prefects were also sold in the USA (Advert from 1958), New Zealand, where they were locally assembled, Argentina and Canada. The Canadian model was left-hand drive. The Prefect was also license built in Latvia by Ford-Vairogs as the Ford-Vairogs Junior. Also in South Africa, where they were presumably assembled locally.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bill Ballard, Small Fords English and Australian : Recognition and Restoration, 2003, page 46
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Culshaw; Horrobin (1974). Complete Catalogue of British Cars. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-16689-2. 
  3. ^ "Design Progress: Small Fords". Autocar 134 (3918)): 10–12. 29 April 1971. 
  4. ^ Sedgwick, M; Gillies (1989). A–Z of cars of the 1930s. UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-38-9. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Sedgwick, M.; Gillies (1986). A–Z of cars 1945–1970. UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Bill Ballard, Small Fords English and Australian : Recognition and Restoration, 2003, pages 133-134
  7. ^ a b c d Bill Ballard, Small Fords English and Australian : Recognition and Restoration, 2003, page 57
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bill Ballard, Small Fords English and Australian : Recognition and Restoration, 2003, page 60
  9. ^ a b "The Ford Prefect Road Test". The Motor. October 27, 1948. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Bill Ballard, Small Fords English and Australian : Recognition and Restoration, 2003, pages 72-73
  11. ^ Norm Darwin, The History of Ford in Australia, 1986, page 101
  12. ^ a b "The Ford Prefect de-luxe". The Motor. June 5, 1957. 
  13. ^ Smith, Melvyn (1985). Ford 100E Anglia/Prefect/Popular. Haynes. p. 6. ISBN 0-85429-470-8. 
  14. ^ "Second Hand car guide supplement". Practical Motorist 6 (68): 768–9. April 1960. 
  15. ^ "The Ford Prefect 107E". The Motor. April 20, 1960. 

External links[edit]