It was not only the looks that grabbed attention. The 105E was the platform for a new cast-iron four-cylinder 997cc engine that was to be dubbed the ‘Kent’ motor. Its oversquare dimensions – bore/stroke 80.97 x 48.41mm – was something of a departure for British-designed engines of the time. With pushrod overhead valves and independent inlet and exhaust ports, it produced 29kW at 5000rpm and 75Nm of torque at 2700. In 1967, it was reworked to have a crossflow cylinder head and in 1976, a modified version known as Valencia was developed for transverse mounting applications beginning with the Mk1 Fiesta and entry-level Mk3 Escorts. All in all, the engine was produced in seven capacities, ranging from 997 to 1599cc, and the basic design lasted 44 years before it was discontinued. Lotus, Cosworth, Holbay, Vegantune, Hart and Novamotor were among the many respected engine builders who used the Kent block as a basis.
Not only was the engine a step up in sophistication, the 105E was the first British Ford to have a four-speed gearbox, which had synchromesh on the top three ratios. There were two saloon models initially, the Standard – which was recognised by its lack of chrome work, small, painted grille and very basic interior equipment – and the Deluxe, which boasted chrome side strips, rear light surrounds and wheel trims, a full-width chrome grille, a glove box lid and twin sun visors. Windscreen wipers were now operated by an electric motor, unlike the notoriously inadequate vacuum-operated items of the earlier cars. The car as an instant hit. In 1960, the first full year of production, 191 752 Anglias left Ford’s Dagenham plant, setting a new production-volume record for the company. In 1961, 5- and 7-cwt (roughly quarter and one-third metric ton, respectively) van versions were added, and although they shared some front body panels, they were structurally quite different from the saloons.
British Motor magazine tested a car in 1959 and recorded a top speed of 118.8km/h, a 0-96km/h time of 26.9 seconds and a fuel consumption figure of 6.86 litres/100km. In April 1960, South Africa’s CAR magazine achieved 117.5km/h, 26.6 seconds and 6.39 litres/100km in a Deluxe road test – remarkably similar figures.