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Ford Popular

Ford Popular

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The Ford Popular is best known as a car
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 from Ford
Ford of Britain
Ford of Britain is a British wholly owned subsidiary of Ford of Europe, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. Its business started in 1909 and has its registered office in Brentwood, Essex...

 built in England between 1953 and 1962. When launched, it was Britain's lowest priced car.

The name Popular was also used by Ford to describe its 1930s Y Type model
Ford Model Y
The Model Y is the first Ford specifically designed for markets outside the United States of America, replacing the Model A in Europe. The car was powered by a 933 cc, 8 hp Ford Sidevalve engine, and was in production in England from 1932 until September 1937, in France from 1932 to 1934...

. The Popular name was also later used on basic models of the Escort and Fiesta cars.

Ford Popular 103E

When production of the older Ford Anglia
Ford Anglia
The 1949 model, code E494A, was a makeover of the previous model with a rather more 1940s style front-end, including the sloped, twin-lobed radiator grille. Again it was a very spartan vehicle and in 1948 was Britain's lowest priced four wheel car....

 and Ford Prefect
Ford Prefect (car)
The Ford Prefect is a line of British cars produced by the UK section of the Ford Motor Company, and a more upmarket version of its direct siblings the Ford Popular and Ford Anglia. It was introduced in October 1938 and remained in production until 1941; returning to the market in 1945, it was...

 was stopped in 1953 the Popular was developed as a budget alternative. The Popular was based on the old, prewar-style E494A Anglia. It was powered by a Ford Sidevalve 1172 cc, 30 bhp, four cylinder engine. The car was very basic. It had a single vacuum powered wiper, no heater, vinyl trim and very little chrome, even the bumpers were painted. Over 150,000 Populars were made.

This car proved successful because, while on paper it was a sensible alternative to a clean, late-model used car, in practice there were no clean late-model used cars available in postwar Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 due to the six-year halt in production caused by World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. This problem was compounded by stringent export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

 quotas that made obtaining a new car in the late 1940s and into the early 1950s difficult, and covenants forbidding new-car buyers from selling for up to three years after delivery. Unless the purchaser could pay the extra £100 or so for an Anglia 100E, Austin A30
Austin A30
The A30 was a compact car produced by Austin Motor Company in the 1950s. Introduced in 1951 as the "New Austin Seven", it was Austin's answer to the Morris Minor...

 or Morris Minor
Morris Minor
The Morris Minor was a British economy car that debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948. Designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis, more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1971...

, the choice was the Popular or a prewar car.

A car tested by The Motor
The Motor (magazine)
The Motor was a British weekly car magazine founded on 28 January 1903....

 magazine in 1954 had a top speed of 60.3 mph (97 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-50 mph (80.5 km/h) in 24.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 36.4 mpgimp was recorded. The test car cost £390 including taxes.

The 103E in Australia

The Popular 103E was introduced into the Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n market in 1953 but not with the British two door saloon body style. Instead, it was offered as a two door Tourer, a two door Roadster Utility
Roadster utility
A Roadster utility is an automobile with an open-topped roadster body and a rear cargo bed. The concept is similar to that of the coupe utility which combines a closed coupe body with a rear cargo bed...

 and as a two door Coupe Utility
Coupé utility
The coupé utility automobile body style, also known colloquially as the ute in Australia and New Zealand, combines a two-door "coupé" cabin with an integral cargo bed behind the cabin—using a light-duty passenger vehicle-derived platform....

. The Tourer was a re-badged Anglia 103E Tourer and the Roadster Utility, which featured a step-side body, was called a Plumber's Utility.

Ford Popular 100E

In 1959 the old Popular was replaced by a new version that was in production until 1962. Like the previous version it used a superseded Anglia's body shell, this time that of the 100E, and it was powered by a strengthened 1172 cc sidevalve engine producing 36 bhp. The brakes were now hydraulic with 7.1 in (180 mm) drums all round. The new Poplar offered 1,000 (1,500) service intervals, like its predecessor, but it only had 13 grease points as against its predecessor's 23 (or 28 for the pre-war cars). The basic model stripped out many fittings from the Anglia but there was a large list of extras available and also a De Luxe version which supplied many as standard.

In later years, these cars became popular as hot rod
Hot rod
Hot rods are typically American cars with large engines modified for linear speed. The origin of the term "hot rod" is unclear. One explanation is that the term is a contraction of "hot roadster," meaning a roadster that was modified for speed. Another possible origin includes modifications to or...

s since the late 1950s when people started drag racing them due to their light weight construction. Ironically this started in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 but became the definitive British hot rod, which it still is today.

The Motor magazine tested a 100E in 1960 and found it to have a top speed of 69.9 mph (112.5 km/h), acceleration from 0-50 mph (80.5 km/h) in 19.6 seconds and a fuel consumption of 33.2 mpgimp. The test car cost £494 including taxes with a comment that it was the lowest priced orthodox saloon on the British Market.

In 1960, the manufacturer's recommended retail price of £494 was equivalent to 26 week's worth of the average UK wage. The £100 charged in 1935 and the £1,299 charged for the Ford Escort Popular in 1975 both also amounted to 26 week's worth of average wage for the years in question. In the 1950s, however, the country had been undergoing a period of above average austerity: in 1953 the car's £390 sticker price represented 40 week's worth of the average UK wage.

Popular trim level

In 1975 the Popular name was revived as a base trim level of the newly released Ford Escort Mk2. This model featured a standard 1.1 litre OHV Kent motor, 12 inch wheels with cross ply tyres and drum brakes all round. The 1975 Ford Escort Popular was the first Ford to carry the Popular name that also featured a heater as standard equipment. The "Popular" trim level proved long-standing across the Ford range, featuring on later Escorts and the Fiesta, from 1980 to 1991.

Ford Popular in television shows

In 1970, a Ford Popular was extensively modified by the British Broadcasting Corporation to become "Bessie", the Doctor
Doctor (Doctor Who)
The Doctor is the central character in the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who, and has also featured in two cinema feature films, a vast range of spin-off novels, audio dramas and comic strips connected to the series....

's sprightly Edwardian roadster on the long-running science-fiction television show, Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

. A black Ford Popular 103E (EBW 343) was also used in the Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a BBC TV sketch comedy series. The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines...

sketch Mr. and Mrs. Brian Norris' Ford Popular. In a spoof
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of epic journeys, the Norrises (Michael Palin
Michael Palin
Michael Edward Palin, CBE FRGS is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries....

 as Brian Norris and Graham Chapman
Graham Chapman
Graham Arthur Chapman was a British comedian, physician, writer, actor, and one of the six members of the Monty Python comedy troupe.-Early life and education:...

 in drag
Drag (clothing)
Drag is used for any clothing carrying symbolic significance but usually referring to the clothing associated with one gender role when worn by a person of another gender. The origin of the term "drag" is unknown, but it may have originated in Polari, a gay street argot in England in the early...

 as Betty Norris) set out to see if the journey from Surbiton
Surbiton, a suburban area of London in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, is situated next to the River Thames, with a mixture of Art-Deco courts, more recent residential blocks and grand, spacious 19th century townhouses blending into a sea of semi-detached 20th century housing estates...

 to Hounslow
Hounslow is the principal town in the London Borough of Hounslow. It is a suburban development situated 10.6 miles west south-west of Charing Cross. It forms a post town in the TW postcode area.-Etymology:...

 was possible; they were thwarted by the Thames and had to finish the trek by rail
Metropolitan Line
The Metropolitan line is part of the London Underground. It is coloured in Transport for London's Corporate Magenta on the Tube map and in other branding. It was the first underground railway in the world, opening as the Metropolitan Railway on 10 January 1863...

. Between 1992 and 1997, two black Ford Populars (8253 PU and VXL 794) were used in Heartbeat as Oscar Blaketon's car, the trim corrodes a bit but still in good repair for its age.

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