Mistaken Identity: 1955 Ford Anglia Ute

“Ute.” Now there’s a great Aussie term for you. It is a word that comes from our love of shortening technical terms, with this one being derived from the “Coupe Utility” original model designation for vehicles such as this one. The owner refers to this vehicle as being an Anglia, but I think that he might actually be mistaken on that. It is an easy mistake to make, but the lack of running boards indicates that this is actually a Popular rather than an Anglia. Barn Finder Ikey H located the little Ford for us, so thank you so much for that Ikey. The owner refers to the vehicle as being extremely rare, and given the fact that they most definitely are Down Under, I can’t even begin to imagine how rare they are in the US. This one is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The asking price for the little Ford has been set at $4,300.

Before we delve further into this classic Ford, it’s time for a bit of patriotic Australian flag-waving. The concept of the Coupe Utility actually emerged Down Under in 1934 and came from Ford Australia. I’m not for one moment claiming that we invented the pickup, but what a gentleman by the name of Lew Brandt did was develop a vehicle where the pickup bed was fully integrated into the Coupe body, a design which eventually spawned vehicles like the Ranchero, the El Camino, and the Ford Popular Ute. The fact that this is a Popular rather than an Anglia is to the next owner’s advantage. Both the Anglia and the Popular were available with the 1,172cc side-valve engine. However, the engine in the Popular produced a staggering 200% more power than the one in the Anglia. Of course, that all sounds impressive right up until the point where you realize that the engine in the Popular produces a staggering 30hp. This is sent to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission. We don’t get any indication regarding the mechanical state of the car, but the shifter poking out of the floor does indicate that there is at least a transmission hiding under there. The interior of a Popular Ute is a pretty spartan place, and it looks like the door trims and some of the handles are missing. This shouldn’t be a problem, because I know that these items are available in the UK, and I’d be willing to bet that you might even find at least some of them in the US. The seat will also need a new cover, but one of those can be made by a decent upholsterer.

As I said, the most obvious point of visual difference between the Anglia and the Popular is the fact that the Anglia was fitted with small running boards, while the Popular wasn’t. It’s also worth noting that the Australian Model A494A Anglia ceased production in 1953, but the Popular Model 103E Utility remained in production until 1955. The body on this one doesn’t look to be too bad. There is some rust to be addressed, along with a few scrapes and dings. It looks like the front floor might have been patched at some point, so that should probably be checked carefully. The front bumper is also missing, but the biggest sticking point could be the lack of a windshield and door glass. While I know that these are also still available in the UK, I haven’t been able to locate a supplier in the US. Getting replacement glass shipped isn’t really a big problem, just an inconvenient one. With that in mind, I would probably be inclined to bite the bullet and order a spare windshield, because at a mere £75 for a new one, having a spare probably isn’t a bad idea.

The relative rarity of the Ford Popular Utility makes it a very interesting vehicle. I can tell you that even in the car’s home country, these are an extraordinarily rare sight. In the US they are almost the automotive equivalent of the unicorn. I have gone searching back for previous examples that have sold in the US, and the numbers are minuscule. The owner of this one is not alone with the Popular/Anglia mistaken identity, because the last one that I found that sold, back in 2017, suffered the same problem. It was a tidy example that ran and drove, and it sold for $20,000. If this one is mechanically complete, then it should be an easy task to get it running again. Most parts are relatively easily available in the UK, and as we have seen from the price of the windshield, they can tend to be quite cheap. This isn’t a Ute that is going to haul a big load, but once up and running, it would be a great conversation starter at a Cars & Coffee.

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Comments

  1. TimM

    What a unique little truck!! It would certainly get a double take at a local show!!

    7
  2. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    That was a great history lesson, Adam! This is my kind of truck, or Ute.

    11
    • Tony, Australia.

      Scotty
      There’s no way you could ever call this a ‘truck’, trucks have the ability to carry a load, these had trouble getting going empty, but in their day were a useful vehicle and the roads were full of them in the 40’s and 50’s in Oz and the UK. Australia was predominently a six cylinder vehicle country, the US was renowned for it’s V8’s, the Brits and Europe mostly had 4’s etc.

  3. Coventrycat

    Love it.

    2
  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’ve always had a fetish for a Ute, and I’ve always loved the Anglia. I wouldn’t mind having one of each at my place. I seriously doubt that you would see two of them at the show and shine.

    2
    • Scott

      This incarnation of the Ford Anglia became the ford Popular between (1953 & 1958) … the anglia was replaced by a new model the 100E (1953-1959) the later Anglia was the 105E (1960-67)

      3
      • Tony, Australia.

        Scott
        They also had the Prefect sedan in there somewhere too, not a car to get about too quickly in though, as a teenager my buddy had one and with 4 in it we went around a corner a bit quick and the car ‘fell over’, a very narrow track and a transverse rear spring but good fun all the same.
        Ken you’re right about the gearbox, definitely needed another gear in there, my wife’s 100E Prefect was a pain to drive in the hills.

        1
  5. ken tilly

    The biggest problem with these early Ford Anglia/Populars, is the 3 speed gearbox. The difference between second and third was so great that unless you made the valves bounce in second then the speed would die off in top as the side valve engine didn’t have the horsepower to keep it going at the same speed. We used to fit a Morris Minor 4 speed gearbox which overcame the problem to a great extent, although it still couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding until the 105E OHV engine came along. They were known as “Puddle Jumpers” in my neck of the woods.

    6
    • MikeH

      I had a ‘53 Opel with a three speed like that. It was like having a four speed missing third.

      2
  6. John Gibson

    yeah, the Popular. They looked cool I had the Prefect version which was very close in looks. It was a promo workshop ute but I discovered it was really only good for the beer run. I don’t think anyone ever got booked for speeding in it either.

    2
  7. moosie moosie

    My Cousin Vinnie used to own one but it got confiscated somewhere down south by some wayward youths.

    3
    • Gaspumpchas

      Moosie you mean Yoots, don’t ya??

      Cheers
      GPC

      1
      • moosie moosie

        yoots, utes, youths, mox nix

  8. Johnmloghry johnmloghry Member

    I can’t think of any other word to describe this but Cute.Ute with a C. I’m waiting for the crowd that everything has to have a Chevy engine. I think that would be terrible, considering the rarity of this vehicle.Thank you Australia for these little vehicles.
    God bless America

    3
  9. chrlsful Member

    U can C Y its not a good idea to have cannabis legalized (it is in Col. Springs) by observing the price applied here.

    I saw Adam mention 2X the glass: I’ve used lami scraps from the local commercial glass co for auto restoration. Same stuff, quicker/cheeper…

  10. ken tilly

    I sold my Popular sedan to a white fellow and a few months later I was arrested and charged for a hit and run where a man was fatally injured. In court a witness was asked if he could see the runaway driver in the courtroom? His reply was “No”. The magistrate then asked him if I was the man he saw running away and his reply again was “No” as the person he saw running away was short and black whereas I am 6ft 2in and white. You would have thought that they would have asked him the race of the perp long before they got to me, let alone getting it to the court stage.

    2
  11. Gray Wolf

    GASSER, for the street! If you are going to get attention, nothing like a blower sticking out of the hood!!

    2
  12. sluggo

    Very cool, Amazing body style. Kind of like a useful PT Cruiser. Why oh why cant we get a modern version of this?

    1
  13. JagManBill

    2 liter and 4 speed out of a Pinto is a bolt in….

  14. MikeH

    Looks to me as if all the missing glass is flat glass. If that is true, you can get replacements at the local glass shop.

  15. IkeyHeyman Member

    Adam, I submitted this because I figured you would learn me something about utes, and you did – thanks for a good write-up!

    1
  16. Alan Herbst

    Cool little vehicle. Does anyone know, are those VW wheels?

    • DynoDon

      No, those are the standard Early English Ford wheels. Similar to VW, but different.

    • JagManBill

      Alan – nope…late 30’s Ford…

  17. Karl

    Interesting to say the least as was mentioned earlier I don’t think I have ever seen on that wasn’t an Anglia and every one of those made at least 700 hp and ran in the nine’s! I think they look a bit MORE interesting with a blower sticking out of the hood.

  18. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Like’e much……..glad it’s a little to far !

  19. Claudio

    Resto rod, hot rod , whatever is needed to get this thing running and driving to today’s standards! Hook up a vintage rv and enjoy …

    1
    • TC Oztralia

      Claudio
      These things had enough trouble pulling their own weight let alone a vintage RV, maybe with a decent transplant six or eight, but not with the original engine.

  20. Cobalt

    As a U.K. senior citizen I had a 1951 Anglia saloon in the 60’s. The most annoying thing was the pneumatic throttle which also worked the wiper motor. The faster you went (more than 30mph) the slower the wipers went, quite interesting when making progress on a faster road in the rain. Also not helped when a “friend” thought it would be fun to put a pin hole in the feeder pipe. ! Great fun car until I put the Con rods through the side of the engine… I should have realised that a side valve engine drank more oil than petrol (Gas) . Those were the days!!! [I notice the wiper motor is missing on this one] I’ve never seen this model in the UK …

  21. rustynutz

    We never had such a thing as a POPULAR Downunder, they were all Anglia’s and PREFECTS were the 4dr versions, rarely did we even see any of the very few 2rs, was all 4drs, utes and a very very few 2dr ones, however row across the ditch to NZ they along with the POMS called them POPULARS!

  22. bog

    Nuts…post already deleted !

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