The Perfect Prefect

Words: Gavin Gounden / Photography: Javon Francis Photography

The Ford Prefect is a line of British cars produced by the UK division of the Ford Motor Company, and a more upmarket version of its direct siblings the Ford Popular and Ford Anglia. lt was introduced in October 1938 and remained in production until1941; returning to the market in 1945, it was offered till 1961. The car progressed in 1953 from its original perpendicular or sit-up-and-beg style to a more modem three-box structure.

The Ford Prefect was introduced in October 1938 and built by the Ford plant in Dagenham, Essex. The original Ford Prefect was a slight reworking of the previous year’s 7Y, the first Ford car designed outside of Detroit, Michigan. It was designed specifically for the British market. It had a 1172 cc side valve engine with thermo circulation radiator (no pump) and the ability to be started by a crank handle should the battery not have sufficient power to turn the starter motor running from the 6 Volt charging system. The vacuum ported from the engine intake manifold powered the windscreen wipers. As the car laboured uphill the wipers would slow to a standstill due to the intake manifold vacuum dropping to near nil, only to start working again as the top was reached and the intake vacuum increased. The windscreen opened forward pivoting on hinges on the top edge; two flaps either side of the scuttle also let air into the car.

In 1953 a much-redesigned Ford Prefect was introduced alongside the similar Ford Anglia and remained in production unti11959. Externally, the Prefect can be distinguished from the Anglia by having vertical bars on the radiator grille and four doors. The old separate chassis had gone, replaced by integral construction, and coil independent front suspension supplanted the transverse leaf spring. Girting hydraulic brakes were fitted, initially 7 in drums but quickly increased to 8 in (200 mm) A new side-valve engine of 1172 cc engine was fitted having the same bore, stroke and layout of the previous engine, but in all other respects completely different – changes included adjustable tappets, raising the compression ratio from 6.3:1 to 7:1 and larger input valves, resulting in the power input increasing by 20% to 36 bhp.

Inside there were separate front seats trimmed in PVC with leather as an option and two circular instruments in front of the driver one containing the speedometer and the other a fuel and water temperature gauges. De Luxe models from the second dashboard update in 1959 included glove box locks. The gear change was floor-mounted. The heater was an optional extra. The dashboard was revised twice; the binnacle surrounding the steering column was replaced by a central panel with twin dials towards the driver’s side in 1956; the last from 1959 had twin dials in a binnacle in front of the driver and ‘magic ribbon’ AC speedo similar to the 1957 E-series Vauxhall Velox/Cresta and ’58/’59 PA models.

Ford in the “Prefect” offer a high standard of COMFORT–one of the features that have placed it among today’s most successful cars. Quality is outstanding in this modem and beautiful Ford. Exceptional space is provided for passengers and luggage. Seats are soft and deep, scientifically designed for restful motoring. “Centre-Poise” riding smoothness, full noise and draught-insulation, a host of appointments all contribute to enjoyment.

When you consider, also that this luxurious car is very economical, has excellent performance, and an unrivalled reputation for dependability, can you wonder at the interest which it has aroused. THE ”PREFECT” Touring CAR has typical roominess and comfort combined with attractive new lines and fine performance. Luggage is carried in a rear locker with a lid outside. The hood is smartly cut and easily handled: All Weather equipped of the modem type.

“He knew then it would be the perfect gift to his dad”

Shaun Moodley first saw the beautiful specimen you see above you at Killarney Raceway Cape Town. He knew then, it would be the perfect gift to his dad Reggie Moodley. It sports a fully customized suspension system by AE Performance. As you may know, Shaun is no stranger to the motoring industry. His company AE Performance is notorious for holding the BMW brand up high.

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