For the purpose of “covering” this year’s M.C.C. Exeter Trial and V.S.C.C. Measham Rally Motor Sport used a Ford New Prefect saloon. In it the Editor drove 680 miles, to which must be added 165 miles driven by a colleague, a total of 845—not a bad start to the 1955 road-test season.
In this mileage the Ford gave no trouble of any sort, required about a quart of Castrol, and took the rough with the smooth, consumming National Benzole and Shell premium petrol at the rate of 31 m.p.g.
There are aspects of this small Ford which the enthusiast cannot help disliking, such as the three-speed gearbox, but the car generally is vice-free, has an excellent driving position, and due to its very reasonable roadholding qualities, 55-m.p.h. cruising speed, and notably smooth, light yet positive (if dead) steering, it covers a surprising amount of ground in a given time. We found we were averaging better than 40 m.p.h. on main-and-secondary road journeys without forcing the car, and this in ease and comfort. The suspension earns high marks from the aspect of comfort over had surfaces. It is rather supple and the back wheels patter on bad surfaces. The back end breaks away fairly easily but the steering, geared a shade under two turn’s lock to lock, copes with this. The sturdy 1,172cc. side-valve engine seems to tolerate full-throttle incessantly, and the apparent flimsiness of bonnet, flooring and side-panels remarked upon when testing the New Anglia seems to have been cured.
The weight of the New Prefect, ready for the road, with approximately two gallons of petrol but without occupants, is 16 cwt.
We like the very commodious boot, opened by lifting one side of the handle-motif, the excellent forward visibility, the easy starting, and “real” gear-lever.
We don’t like the noisy (but effective) heater, the shallow lip to the enormous parcels-shelf under the dashboard, the rather juddery clutch, nor the screen-wipers, which, although self-parking, are suction-operated and stop at full-throttle. Although there is the usual instrumentation, with a headlamps full-beam indicator light shining right in the driver’s eyes, the dial-type temperature gauge, although uncalibrated, is appreciated.
The Prefect is the four-door de luxe version of the Anglia saloon and is priced at £395 (£560 14.2d. with p.t.). There is no doubt at all that the small Fords represent a high achievement from the viewpoint of value-for-money and those who do not like the Continental pattern of small economy car will be well advised to sample an Anglia or Prefect at the very earliest opportunity.—W. B.