Has Mike Johnson jacked in ’80s Fords in favour of ’60s? Not quite, but he now has his hands on the Anglia 105E that kick-started his love of classic Fords.
The story begins a few weekends ago when Adam Barton and I were working on our Sierra. I’d popped over to my parents’ garage to pick up some parts I had in storage, when I noticed a few of the other garages had been broken into. I notified the police straight away, and then recalled that when I was younger one of the neighbours called David had a few classic cars stored away in a couple of the lock-ups.
So I rushed over to David’s house to explain what had happened, and if he would come to check if the broken-in garages were in fact his and check to see if anything had been taken. Unfortunately, one of the garages was David’s, and it was home to his 1962 Anglia that’s sat undisturbed for the last six years. Whoever had broken in had helped themselves to some old hi-fi equipment and some tools from the boot, and in the process they had marked the wing and a bent aerial back, but luckily the car was still there and in one piece.
Lock and load
After the police had dusted for finger prints and left, I offered to go to the DIY store and get David some new locks, and I set about fitting them to the door just to give him some piece of mind that the car was secure. While fitting the locks we chatted about the car and he explained how it was originally bought brand new from the local Ford dealer by his mum. I explained how I remember as a child seeing him driving it around and that it was one of the first classic Fords that really got me hooked on them.
With the garage now broken into, David started to think maybe he should take it as a sign to let the car go. Because it wasn’t getting used, it had all seized up, and he asked me if I knew of anyone who might be interested. “Of course — me,” I responded. But knowing the sentimental value of the car I told him to not make any irrational decisions based on what had just happened. I mentioned that I part-owned the Sierra with Adam, and this made David think that maybe we could have a similar agreement with the Anglia.
A few days later he called me to say that if I wanted to get the car up and running again with an MoT I could drive it over the summer, and that way it’s on the road, getting used regularly and maintained, which David would rather see happen instead of it being in storage seized up and looking sorry for itself.
I jumped at the chance and the following weekend set about draining the old fuel out the tank. I cleaned the plugs and replaced the battery. With some fresh fuel in it, she turned over but then I noticed fuel was leaking out of the carb’s overflow. So I popped down to Power Engineering and used their parts cleaner to rebuild the carb, adding new gaskets and tweaking the float lever to push on the needle valve properly.
With the carb bolted back on, the car fired into life, but there was a terrible exhaust blow where the system joined the manifold. So I got my Mig welder set up in my parents’ front garden and tacked all the holes up with the exhaust off the car.
Then the brakes and clutch needed some attention as they had all seized solid. I managed to break the clutch free and with the help from a mate, Zak, I stripped down drums, cleaned them and reassembled and adjusted them to suit. Although they are never going to be the best-performing brakes, they are now a vast improvement compared to before.
I hastily booked it in for an MoT but when the day came the Anglia didn’t want to go. Firstly the battery was flat so I had to rush to Halfords and buy jump leads, then en route, with the engine getting up to temperature, the radiator hose split.
I got to Power Engineering in the nick of time and let it cool down. They went over the whole car and it only failed on lack of brake lights. After ordering and fitting new hoses and a brake light switch it passed. I set off only to run out of fuel about 50 metres down the road. Luckily, Zak was on hand to help push the car back to the garage and give me a lift to the petrol station.
Now the car is safely tucked up again with the new MoT and tax ready for its first major outing. David and I have already set a few dates in the diary that we would like to drive to, including Anglias At The Ace on the July 19. I’d also like to venture up to the Classic Ford Show in it, as all my other cars are currently not in any fit state to be driven anywhere. You don’t always get opportunities like this, and I’m very grateful to David for allowing me to play around with the car and enjoy driving it.
Although the break-in was a bad situation, it’s now turned out favourable for everyone, as David gets the car up and running, I get to enjoy fixing it up, and the Anglia gets to be driven again.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Classic Ford
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