A seldom-used Ford Anglia 105E, a friend’s wedding, and the hottest day of the year — what could possibly go wrong?
We have all seen old cars at the side of the road on a hot day with the bonnet up and steam coming from the engine bay. You gamble your afternoon and even your head gasket if you take a classic out to sit in traffic on scorching summer’s day due to their often-inferior and inefficient cooling.
It takes a strong-spirited classic Ford to take on the hottest day on record, add to that addition of a newly-wedded couple in the back seat eager to get to the venue to celebrate their super-special day with all their friends and family. Imagine how bad it would be if said car couldn’t take the heat and everyone ended up stranded at the side of the A331 potentially ruining the big day…
This wasn’t the thought running though my head over a year ago when a close friend, Joel asked me if I would drive Rebecca and himself on their wedding day. Oh no, I was truly honoured and naturally said yes to the both of them straight away.
The car they wanted me to drive them in was the 1962 Ford Anglia 105E Deluxe as this car has way more class and appeal compared to the other cars I had on offer… plus it has the bonus of actually having a rear seat in it, which is a must for any designated wedding car.
The year soon passed and it was the week before the wedding I finally found the time for Zak and myself to prepare the car and give it all a good once over to make sure it was as good as we could get it and that it looked the part ready for the wedding photos.
We started out adjusting the tappets to quieten up the engine and then moved onto installing an electronic ignition distributor from Accuspark to replace the temperamental points and condenser.
I also treated it to a set of new leads and plugs to help ensure it had the biggest most reliable spark it could get. I did have an electric fan and thermostat controller in the box of parts to install but Zak and I became side tracked with cleaning and polishing the paintwork and chrome, which took the rest of the afternoon.
Unfortunately, I was unaware of the heat wave forecast for the following week and in hindsight I should have left the waxing and fitted the electric fan as a matter of urgency.
The big day was upon us with its record-breaking high temperatures, I think I was more nervous at this point than Joel. Really regretting not installing the electric fan! I packed some basic tools, a warning triangle and 5 litres of water in the boot. Destined for the church my wife, Helen and I fast realised that insufferable heat, vinyl seats and formal wear do not make for an enjoyable drive on the M25 for over an hour!
Add to that the fact we were both transfixed with the temperature gauge that shot up into the red and hovered around the danger zone for the whole journey. I even popped the bonnet to help a little heat out the bay but with the ambient hot air going in the front this did little to help out the situation.
Credit where credit is due, even with stop-start traffic and all the red traffic lights in the way, the Anglia arrived at the church on time. And it was only when I turned the engine off did it gurgle and spit a little coolant water out of the overflow in front of the church, showing to me that it was well on the limit of overheating.
Let the ceremony begin
The ceremony was amazing, with Rebecca and Joel now officially married, the Anglia was now in the limelight to perform in the hottest part of the day. I knew I needed to keep the airflow through the front grille and the open windows for the engine and the bride’s comfort.
We hit the road, but now with three people on board and the inevitable traffic in the way those temps all started to rise again fast. I will be honest, I did have to resort to turning the heaters on when I could smell a little steam which Joel and Beccy didn’t realise at the time.
However, all the thumbs up and cheers from other road users as we trundled down the dual carriage way must have encouraged the car to keep on going as we made it to the venue without overheating or breaking down. I could finally start to relax and enjoy the day properly, Joel on the other hand couldn’t just yet, as he still had to perform his speech after the meal.
All in all it was a great day and the Anglia didn’t let me or the bride and groom down, even in the 35-degree, tarmac-melting heat!
This article on Mike’s classic Ford Anglia 105E first appeared in the October 2019 issue of Classic Ford.
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