This is Arthur, a Ford Anglia 100E named after a character from Peaky Blinders. Like his namesake, this Anglia is keeping something under his hat.

Arthur looks innocent enough at first glance, with a fresh coat of grey paint and still sporting his original plates. Look a little closer and you notice the grille is painted (Volvo) grey, the bumpers are absent, and there seems to be a lot of rubber filling the arches Little signs that suggest there might be more to come.


Owner John, was looking for a 105 Anglia when Arthur caught his eye on a Midlands Facebook advert. It was clear someone who knew their way around old Fords had spent a lot of time and money on mods.

A low mileage Ford blacktop 1800 Zetec unit sits snugly in the engine bay mated to a five speed type 9 Sierra gear box. The motor is fed through bike carbs and a Piper cross air filter Theres an extra fan to keep everything chilled. A custom wiring loom supports a Nodiz ECU particularly suited for Zetec engines running carbs. You can  play with tuning via a laptop plug in.

The vendor had an inspection pit so John was able to view underneath. He was impressed by what he saw. The rear axle is from a 105 Anglia and the diff is from an RS2000. Rose jointed suspension features front coilovers, adjustable Gaz shocks, and standard springs at the rear, lowered an inch and a half. Uprated brakes are from a Capri. John inspected them after purchase finding all the components were new or refurbished, so fresh they still bore labels.The bodywork was in sound condition let down only by a rusty nappy rash around the boot lid where a previous owner had made the less than stellar decision to use foam instead of a rubber boot seal.


Mismatched paint and a worn out interior represented the only real issues. With all the hard work done, John figured he would give Arthur a cosmetic makeover, spending a summer in a barn with a spray gun and his first attempt at 2 Pack paint. It was a working farm, flies and dust were a bother. Three coats later, and he’s rightly happy with the result. Upholstery was largely beyond repair. John was able to clean up the door trims and make up some door pulls from material he bought for pennies on Ebay. He also sourced a pair of leather seats from an MGB for the front, while his wife’s mate made up a suitably British inspired custom seat cover for the rear.

That left just the headlining. John sourced a ready made one from a trimmer. Local quotes to fit it proved pricey and included a three month waiting list, so John took a deep breath and had a go. *I was told it would take a full days work, I did it in a morning using a credit card to tuck the liner in. The secret is bulldog clips. I used about fifty to keep it in place as I worked round.” He did a cracking job.

His biggest expenditure was on wheels he bought from Retro Ford. John Brown steels, enabling 185 rubber on the front and 205 at the rear. The chromed dog dish hubcaps set them off perfectly. John also added a disguised USB port in the dash and an electric klaxon horn under the bonnet, another Ebay find.

The finished interior looks great This may have been humble fifties transport but the simple interior has a charm to it you don’t get with capacitive buttons and LED ‘mood lighting’. There are chunky, no nonsense switches and a dashboard ashtray for your woodbines.

Discreet enamel badging, and a strip of etched metal trim lifts the otherwise uniform, grey metal dashboard. There’s also a factory fitted option original heater, pure fifties luxury! A favourite feature is the original speedo delineating mph in a ribbon of orange. Outside, the original emblems and trim are still in place. Under the bonnet there’s a period dealer plate giving Arthur the Anglia an East Anglia flavour.

As you would hope performance is perky. There’s no brake servo, the pedal is firm and reassuring with no mush. For further mods John has an ST exhaust that needs adapting to fit. For help, he refers to the Ford website, where there’s always someone who can offer tips or technical advice whether you’re building an original car or something a bit cheeky. John says the car never fails to put a smile on his face. It’s cheap to maintain, fun to drive, and with its modifications can dice with modern traffic, making for a characterful, classic alternative to mainstream wheels. 

Images Steve Swanson

additional images courtesy of John

About The Author

Steve Swanson

Steve turns any opportunity to write about cars into a roadtrip. It's seen him ride shotgun in a Bentley Blower with Clive Cussler, and cross paths with automotive YouTubers in Canada and the US. His work has been published in Magneto, Classic Cars, Classic American and some magazines that no MotorPunk reader has ever heard of. When he's not writing or driving you can find him kicking tyres at seedy auctions and hawking junk optimistically described as Automobilia

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