(an article by Jim Norman)
This Article was originally produced for the Anglebox Magazine
In the late 1950’s Ford found themselves facing a future without a small four door saloon, as they were gearing up to introduce the Ford Anglia 105E. To make up for this potential loss of sales, Ford modified the 100E Prefect’s bodywork to accept the engine and drive train of the soon to be released Anglia. The new 107E Prefect and born and was a hybrid of the previous 100E model and its 105E successor, which is no big surprise. What might surprise some are the parts that were retained from the 100E or those donated by the new Anglia, but a bigger surprise will come when you hear about those parts that were especially designed for the 107E only.
As already mentioned, the shell was the old 100E Prefect’s with suitable modifications to the floor and bulkhead areas to accept the new mechanicals. The engine, gearbox and rear axle came from the Anglia, but as some people may not know, the gearboxes were not originally interchangeable with the Anglia, and the rear axles never were. The 107E axle casing is some two inches wider than the 105E’s, which necessitated different half shafts. Since the half shafts could not be interchanged with the Anglia 105E, the stud spacing for the wheel nuts were made the same as the 100E’s, which means that the brake drums are different from the Anglia 105E as well. One advantage was that the 100E front suspension could be used in its entirety, but this meant that the road wheels were common only to the 100E and, strangely enough, caravans, so 107E Prefect owners could not avail themselves of the various wide and alloy wheels which became available in later years.
The Prefect’s axle ratio was also odd at 4.429:1, the same as the 100E. When the 307E Van (why 307E and not 305E?) was introduced in 1961, it was given a ratio of 4.44:1, which was given to the 107E Prefect during its last month of production. But why tool up for such a significant change in ratio? The logic escapes me!
As mentioned previously, the original 107E Prefect gearbox was different. On introduction, the 107E used the same gearbox mounting as its 100E ancestor, a half round affair bolted to the rear of the extension housing. The Anglia 105E on the other hand, employed a saddle type mounting at the front of the extension housing. This necessitated different gearboxes to be manufactured and stocked, together with the mountings, cross members etc. About halfway through production, a redesign was made, and from then on, the Prefect used the standard Anglia 105E mounting arrangement. This redesign necessitated the need for two new cross members, a new front exhaust pipe and silencer and modifications to the front chassis rails. I cannot help but wonder why this obvious course of action was not taken initially. The original, and no doubt expensive tooling was wasted, and again, two sets of spares parts had to be stocked from then on.
The front suspension (as mentioned earlier) was that used on the 100E, but was this wise? There was no problem with the 100E system par se, but again two very similar (but different) systems were in production side by side. The Anglia 105E’s system, using the 100E’s top mounts, would bolt straight on with one exception – the track control arms were too short. A new forging would have been needed, an additional expense, I would grant, but Ford could have saved a bit by using the normal Anglia type brake drums and wheels. What is more, this entire suspension arrangement and rear axle could have been fitted to the 100E Popular, which was still in production, thus spreading and development costs that would have arisen and easing the logistics problems at Dagenham.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and it is easy to see in retrospective how the problems of the day could be solved. That these solutions were not then seen and that expensive modifications were made during the cars production, is further evidence that the Prefect was quickly schemed out to fill a gap that had not been anticipated. It is a shame that this design was so rushed, for if more thought had been employed, spares interchangeability would have been greatly improved, and would have been of great help to the Club today.
Article © Copyright 2010 – Jim Norman