When production of the older Ford Anglia and Ford Prefect 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, , 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 due to the six-year halt in production caused by World War II. This problem was compounded by stringent export 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 GBP100 or so for an Anglia 100E, Austin A30 or Morris Minor, the choice was the Popular or a prewar car.
A car tested by The Motor magazine in 1954 had a top speed of and could accelerate from 0- in 24.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of was recorded. The test car cost £390 including taxes.
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 Like the previous version it used a superseded Anglia's body shell, this time that of the 100E, and it was powered by a strengthened 1172 cc sidevalve engine producing 36 bhp.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 drums all roundThe 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 rods since the late 1950s when people started drag racing them due to their light weight construction. Ironically this started in the United States but became the definitive British hot rod, which it still...