(an article by Jim Norman)

This Article was originally produced for the Anglebox Magazine

A question which sometimes arises is:
“How do you tell a 107E Prefect from its earlier 100E namesake, without opening the bonnet?”

Inside there are various clues:
the length and location of the gear lever, carpet instead of rubber mates, padded vinyl sun visors and the 105E’s pedals instead of the 100E’s square variety.

Externally it is a bit more awkward, especially if the car is single tone. The only clue is the “dog-legs” on the front wings. All 107E’s have “dog-legs” … don’t they?

Prefect with no "dog-legs"
Prefect with "dog-legs"

Actually no. Discounting those cars which have lost these pieces of decoration since their manufacture, there remains a group which seem never to have had them fitted. All of these cars were built before December 1959, and in fact all the survivors from this period are unadorned, so Ford obviously introduced the “dog-legs” at that time, didn’t they? … Well maybe!

Like every other manufacturer, Ford had publicity material, brochures and advertisements ready for the car’s launch. Allowing for printing, stock build up, etc, this would be July 1959 at the latest, and all this material shows the cars with “dog-legs”, so they must have been planned from introduction. Two tone paint was another option, but only one such car from this period is known. The paint edge follows the line where the “dog-legs” would have been, had they been fitted. So why aren’t they there?

A look at the Parts books could provide the answer. There are in fact two; one was printed before the car’s introduction and the other after its demise and details all modifications, plus the chassis numbers from which they were effective. This first book is very quiet about “dog-legs” – they are not mentioned at all, which confirms the theory that they were added after production commenced. The second book does of course show them plus the chassis number from which they were fitted – would you believe 0001?

The theory that “dog-legs” were introduced after production commenced is viable, but not necessarily correct.Consider this. Three very similar shells are going down the line at Dagenham. First is the 100E Popular, devoid of all waistline mouldings and therefore without the mounting holes for these. Second is the Popular Deluxe with holes in the wing for the waistline mouldings. Lastly comes our Prefect, not only with the holes for the waistline mouldings, but also three more in each wing for the “dog-legs”.

Popular - no chrome mouldings
Popular Deluxe - with chrome waistline moulding
Prefect - with "dog-legs"

What would happen if someone fitted Popular Deluxe wings?

Popular Deluxe

The car would go through the paint shop, trim shop, mechanical bays, etc. The mouldings probably go on fairly late in the production stage, only the “dog-legs” won’t go on! Does the man on the line send the car to have the necessary holes drilled, paint touched up, etc. or does he just fit the mouldings off the Popular Deluxe? With other cars stacking up behind, I think he might take the easier option. Many new owners would not notice the absence of the extra bit of chrome, so these cars would live a “dog-leg-less” life! Other owners would complain at the lack of “dog-legs”, the complaints eventually reaching Ford’s management, at which time the quality control would be duly tightened.

The process would probably take about three months to work through – about December 1959!

For years, controversy has raged over the “dog-leg” question (well, the odd speculative eyebrow has been raised!), but no conclusive evidence has emerged. Can YOU shed any light on the matter?

Article © Copyright 2010 – Jim Norman