by Steve Favill
My first car was bought for me as a gift from my parents at the age of sixteen. It was a 1961 Ford Anglia 105E, in Ford's Ambassador Blue, a rather nice colour that suited the little car perfectly. The registration number, 433CDA, would be worth a small fortune today.....
Mine was the base model, not the fancy one that became famous in the Harry Potter movie. The base model, as it turns out, was much rarer than the DeLuxe and Super versions which came with the full-width chromed grille and chromed strips, headlamp "eyebrows" and upgraded trim. The Super even featured a two-tone paint job, AND a glove-box lid, which mine never had.
I loved that little car. I named it after a girl that I had a crush on in high school which was as close as I ever got to the real thing, and being too young to drive it right away I learned how to find and fix the rust holes with fiberglass and body filler, and I generally messed about with it and developed an understanding of how everything worked. Upon reaching the age of seventeen I was able to get my provisional licence, display 'L' Plates front and rear, and wait impatiently for someone who had a "full" license to agree to come out with me.
It was light, fairly nippy for such a small engine, a 997cc overhead-valve inline four cylinder and with responsive steering. It was also fairly roomy, the goofy reverse-slope rear windscreen allowing a higher roofline and therefore more headroom in the back seat. Not that I ever got the chance to try it for myself, sadly.
I remember a trip to Solva near to the city of St. David’s in Wales, a canoe strapped to the roof, 'L' plates and a full-licence holder in the form of my best mate, Dave Cook, riding shotgun. Nothing too exciting but it was freedom!
I suppose that the biggest test of how good, how reliable, a car is remains in answering the question whether or not I would have another. The answer has to be a resounding "Yes". These are great little cars, full of character and easy to maintain, and in retrospect I have to say that these represent the perfect starter classic (although they were just old cars back then!) for getting a youngster off on the right foot. Parts are reasonably available even today, and club support means that finding body panels and trim parts will not be as difficult as it was a few years ago.