Ford Zephyr MkII
Ford Zephyr MkII

Ford cars of the 1950s

Ford started the 1950s with two ranges of vintage-looking cars. There was the bargain basement Ford Anglia 8hp and its better-equipped stablemate, the Prefect 10hp. Then there was the large and expensive Ford V8 Pilot. King George VI owned a woody shooting-brake Pilot.

All three models were updates on pre-war cars. They all had one common thread, whether large and glamorous or small and cheap. They were value for money.

The Anglia/Prefect range was a formula Ford would repeat over and over. There was a cheap basic car and a much better equipped alternative. The Anglia had two doors and the Prefect had four. The Prefect also had some of the glamour of the V8 Pilot in the shape of a similar looking radiator grill and comprehensive instrumentation.

In 1950 Ford launched a new range of medium-sized cars, the Consul and Zephyr. They phased out the V8 Pilot.

The new cars were based on a scaled-down version of the 1949 Ford Sedan launched in America the previous year.

They had modern full width body styling and the classic three-box layout. The Consul had a 1508cc 4-cylinder engine, whilst the Zephyr was more up-market with a 6-cylinder engine.

In 1954 this new range of cars was topped with a new model, the Zephyr Zodiac. It had a high compression ratio engine, white-wall tyres, two-tone paint, two-tone leather interior and gold-plated lettering. It must have looked unbearably flash in austerity Britain.

Ford Popular 100E 1959-1962
Ford Popular 100E 1959-1962

In the meantime, Ford refreshed their small car line up. In 1953, the Anglia and Prefect got a new style body resembling a scaled-down version the Consul/Zephyr. The vintage-style body lived on until 1959 in the Ford Popular 103E, which was the old Anglia with reduced trim.

The 100E range was customised even in the 1950s. In an episode of 'Dial 999', 'Fashions in Crime' (1959), you see a Ford Anglia 100E with two-tone paint, wing mirrors, a sun visor and Buick style portholes. Does anyone remember SYK860?

Ford replaced Consul/Zephyr/Zodiac range in 1957 with a new style body. It was also based on a scaled-down version of Ford's American offering. These new cars were larger with more power and more modern styling.

Ford's final model of the 1950s was the Anglia 105E. A new 997cc engine and radical jukebox styling set it apart from previous models. The new Anglia was two-door only. So, Ford put the new Anglia's 997cc in the old four-door Prefect. The new Prefect was the 107E. Ford replaced it with the Classic in 1961. In this form the Prefect lived on another couple of years until 1961.

In 1959, if you wanted a new small Ford, you could choose the up-to-the minute new Anglia, the mid-fifties Prefect or the pre-war based Popular.

A complete list of Ford cars from the 1950s is:

Read more:

By Steven Braggs, December 2021

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Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★